New Slope Adjacent to WestMont Ridge
By Eva Potter
A rolling stone gathers no moss and that certainly applies to HoliMont when it comes to enhancing their members’ and guests’ experiences on the slopes and in the lodge.
Since April 2015, the largest private ski area in the U.S. has been busy executing $650,000 in improvements.
HoliMont generates its own electricity and will use some of this budget to upgrade to its generators. About $300,000 is being put toward a variety of enhancements at the resort. Water pumping upgrades, replacing and adding new snowmaking water lines, and new snowmaking tower locations are just some of the improvements that have taken place as a result of that investment. The snowmaking upgrades may allow some slopes to open earlier in the season.
With a new paint job, Greer lift will look more like Exhibition Express. The top and bottom lift houses are also being refurbished. With an eye on safety, the lifts are being rebuilt and fine-tuned to make sure they meet code.
Additionally, a new roof was installed on the terrain park building and the ski patrol hut at the top of Exhibition is in the process of being completely refurbished. The resort’s PistenBully 100 was replaced with a Green Tech 300 ParkBully, which serves double duty as a mower for the slopes in the summer.
According to Dash Hegeman, HoliMont’s marketing director, additional sprucing up has been completed on parts of the chalet’s exterior, with some new siding and a few new windows for the main office.
Interior changes include an updated Dina’s at the ’Mont cafeteria area to allow for better traffic flow. A half dozen small changes to bathrooms and to various table setups have been made to increase seating capacity.
Changes on the slopes include preparing a new area for beginners’ slopes Chipmunk and Rabbit’s Run, both of which ideally will be moved to the WestMont Ridge next summer, along with moving the lifts and snowmaking equipment. These slopes are unchanged and accessible this year.
“The reason that we are moving the beginner area is to give people who are learning to ski and snowboard an even better on-hill experience. The new area will offer beginners more terrain at with a more friendly slope gradient,” Hegeman explained. “Our mountain crew will be able to groom and shape this new slope in ways that will make the learning process much more enjoyable, which statistics have shown will help retain first-time skiers/snowboarders. The entire ski industry is looking for ways to attract millennials and we strongly believe that this is an area that will help us achieve that goal.”
HoliMont has also added nine tower locations on Exhibition and other towers on areas like Downspout, which will allow these key slopes to open earlier in the season when Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate. The resort plans to open mid-December.
In addition to the great slopes already there, HoliMont has cut a new slope adjacent to the WestMont Ridge area.
Hegeman said it will probably be “a combination of a blue and a black and you’ll access it by the lift we will put in. No other hills will connect to it. You will, however, be able to ski from the bottom of Sunset to the chair we will be installing, so it’s very easy access.”
The lift and lights for Friday and Saturday night skiing will likely not be in place until the 2017-2018 season, at the earliest.
“Next summer, the focus will be on moving the beginner area,” said Hegeman.
The WestMont Ridge development’s Phase 1, including infrastructure such as gas, water and sewer, is now in place. To date, 20 single-family lots have been sold, with 11 remaining on the market. Construction for the first home is well underway.
Phase 1 also includes 72 condominiums and HoliMont is working hard to get them to market. The condos are anticipated to be offered for sale this winter, with groundbreaking next spring.
In addition, HoliMont built a significant amount of wetlands acreage off to the side of Horizon Pond as part of the Army Corps of Engineers’ requirements for the WestMont project.
“We are now tasked with making sure that those wetlands meet the goals and objectives of their requirements,” said Hegeman.
A new lodge, terrain park, Nordic Center, lift and lights for weekend nighttime skiing, plus replacement of the Sunset chair with a high-speed detachable lift are all part of the master plan. It all hinges on a variety of factors, including lot and condominium sales, so there is no concrete timeline when these things will happen.
“We haven’t started Phase 2 yet. It has been designed and accommodated for, but the final permitting and design work is not complete,” Hegeman said. “We are likely two years away from Phase 2, which is the 63 single-family lots.”
In the meantime, the HoliMont staff is working feverishly to prepare for the upcoming ski season. Members and weekday visitors will surely approve of all the changes. Take a look for yourself this weekend, or just head over for a free chairlift ride on Saturday, Oct. 10 from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.