As home to two world class ski resorts, winter visitors to Ellicottville have come to expect a high standard of quality and service from Holiday Valley and HoliMont, and they won’t be disappointed to hear all about the high-tech, creative improvements that are underway at both resorts.
For the 2015-2016 season, Holiday Valley has reinvested $4 million in improvements. The completion of a multi-year project — the realignment of Holiday Valley Road — will make access to the Holiday Valley Lodge easier and safer. The 2/3-mile-long road is being re-routed along the top side of the three parking lots, allowing visitors to walk to the lodge without crossing a town road. Blacktop installation is scheduled for early September. The project will be completed by the beginning of the ski season.
To maintain their excellent winter conditions, Holiday Valley has purchased another 37 HKD Impulse automated snow guns to service Fiddler’s Elbow and Tannenbaum slopes, allowing them to make snow earlier in the year. A new PistenBully 600 groomer has been added to the fleet and a new guest shuttle bus was purchased.
Metal halide night lighting has been replaced with energy-efficient LED lighting on Peppermint Lane and EZ Way to improve visibility for skiers.
A few slopes will be reconfigured. “We are moving the NASTAR course off Cindy’s Run and we’re putting it on Foxfire,” said HV Marketing Director Jane Eshbaugh, “so as you ski down Foxfire, the NASTAR course will be on the left — they actually widened the slope a little bit — and the terrain parks will be along the right.”
The Inn at Holiday Valley has also been partially renovated. New sleeper sofas are in all of the suites; the conference area has undergone a décor redo with new carpeting; new fireplace, wall coverings and wall décor now grace the presidential suite; and bathroom redecorating is in process. Outside, the pool interior and deck have been resurfaced, a new pool boiler has been installed and new seating areas and furniture have been added.
The Cabana Bar has been open all summer and will be used somewhat in the winter, even though it is partially open to the elements. It will eventually have some glass sides.
Fall Festival weekend news includes some interesting entertainment. A juggler and a stilt walker will entertain the crowds as they line up to take the Mardi Gras chairlift rides. And mountain bikers will be pleased with upgrades to the mountain bike race loop.
As always, you can keep up with the latest happenings at www.holidayvalley.com, but sometime in early October, the resort’s website will look completely different.
Eshbaugh explained that, “since we built the last website, people have changed their habits and are using a lot more tablets and mobile phones.”
The makeover will make it easy for any user and device to navigate and will include more social media links, resort videos, web cams, an interactive trail map and more.
HoliMont has spent $700,000 in enhancements to continue providing its members with exceptional amenities and services.
Dash Hegeman, marketing director at HoliMont, said, “Members and guests will be pleased to see an updated Dina’s at the Mont cafeteria area, which we hope will allow for a better flow of traffic and more efficiency during peak times.”
Parts of the chalet’s exterior have been resided and a few new windows have been installed in the main office.
“A half a dozen small changes to bathrooms and to various table setups have been made to increase seating capacity, as well,” said Hegeman.
A new roof was installed on the terrain park building and the ski patrol hut at the top of Exhibition lift is in the process of being completely refurbished. The resort’s PistenBully 100 was replaced with a Green Tech 300 ParkBully, which can also be used to mow the slopes in the summer.
Speaking of the slopes, Hegeman said, “We’ve added more firepower to certain slopes with our snowmaking system so that we can get those slopes open sooner. We are also starting to get our new beginner area cleared and graded in preparation for constructing a new beginner area next summer.”
Greer lift is being spruced up with a new paint job to look more like the Exhibition Express lift. Also, the top and bottom lift houses are being refurbished. With an eye on safety, the lifts are being rebuilt and fine-tuned to make sure they meet code.
“The staff here has been working all summer to prepare for the upcoming ski season and we’re all looking forward to what we hope will be a strong start to winter,” said Hegeman. “Our goal is to put a product out there that our members, their guests, our Weekday Experience pass holders, groups and regular weekday traffic will enjoy every time they are out on the slopes.”
The WestMont Ridge development’s infrastructure, including gas, water and sewer, is now in place. To date, 20 single-family lots have been sold, with 11 remaining for sale. Construction of the first private home is well underway.
Hegeman said, “At this point, our focus is to get the new beginner area going and our planned condominium community to market. We anticipate having the 72 condos available for sale this winter with groundbreaking next spring.”
A new lodge, terrain park, beginner ski area, Nordic Center, lift and lights for nighttime on the slopes are all part of the master plan but hinge on a variety of factors including lot and condominium sales. Hegeman said that the resort’s plan also calls for replacement of the Sunset chair with a high-speed detachable lift and construction of a new lodge.