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Holiday Valley Announces Exciting Upgrades to Terrain Garden, Snowmaking and Website

by Jeff Cole

A brand-new lodge that will replace the recently demolished Clubhouse Chalet won’t be the only change for Holiday Valley this fall and winter.

As reported in last week’s edition of the Ellicottville Times, Holiday Valley demolished its Clubhouse Chalet in mid-March and is in the process of constructing a new $12 million, 66,000-square-foot lodge that will be more aesthetically pleasing and will allow for more meeting space.

According to Jane Eshbaugh, marketing director for Holiday Valley, the resort is investing $1.9 million in capital improvements in addition to the money it is spending on the new lodge. This summer, the resort widened the Moon Shadow slope by about a third of its width and doubled the snowmaking on that slope to improve the boardercross course.

“With a wider slope it allows us to make a more interesting and longer course,” she said.

Also extended was the number of rails and features made to the Terrain Garden, which is located to the east of School Haus, also known as the “bunny slope.” Pat Morgan, Terrain Garden manager, said this is Holiday Valley’s second year with the Terrain Garden and that about six to eight more features (boxes and rails) are being added, which will bring the total number of features to more than a dozen.

“They’re in various stages of welding and construction right now,” he said. “They’ll be ready to go for the beginning of the (winter) season.”

More rails, Eshbaugh said, mean more fun.

“These are introductory rails and features, so it will give people more opportunity to practice before they move on to other parks and larger features,” she said.

The Terrain Garden, Morgan said, was very popular last year, mainly because it allows anybody of any ability to get exposure to the terrain parks.

“It’s geared towards anybody who wants to get comfortable with learning to use a terrain park. It could be an introductory skier, snowboarder, men, women, children, all ages. We want to make the terrain parks seem more accessible to every person who visits here,” he said.

This summer also brought about the installation of automated snowmaking systems on Yodeler, Morning Star, Candy Cane, Laurel and Punch Bowl slopes. Snowmakers are able to run the systems “with the push of a button” and adjust them via computer, which allows the resort to make snow in short windows of cold weather.

The main computer for these systems is in the compressor building at the bottom of Yodeler. Eshbaugh said the systems can run on any computer, even a smartphone. Also, the systems make better snow and more snow more efficiently, according to Eshbaugh.

“The quality of snow is improved because the system allows for adjusting the air/water ratio and is quicker to react to changes in weather. We predict a 20-25 percent increase in efficiency with a total of 100 auto locations,” she said.

One upcoming change that won’t be taking place on any slope or to any lodge is the introduction of a new Holiday Valley website. The new site, which is set to launch in October, will be totally redesigned, with many new features that will make use of the site easier and more fun, Eshbaugh said.

“The existing website is more than four years old and much new technology has been developed since then, such as mobile sites and better software that works across all platforms. If done well, a new site will attract new viewers and keep our regulars coming back more often,” she said.

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