Three slopes have been outfitted with a new, fully automatic snowmaking system. 30 TechnoAlpin M18 Automatic Pole Mount Fan Guns have been purchased and are being installed along the Bobcat, Continental, and Imperial slopes. The guns are equipped with onboard weather stations that feed data directly to a central control system. The computerized system then performs calculations to deliver grains of snow with low water and high air content. In addition to the new guns, 21 existing SMI portable guns have been refurbished and converted to semi-automatic PoleCats.
To groom the snow, Hidden Valley has purchased two new groomers: a Pisten Bully Edge and Pisten Bully Edge ParkBully. The new snowcats work with onboard computers and an advanced blade and tiller system capable of digging deeper into the snow. A new Zaugg Half Pipe Cutter has also been purchased, and an existing Bombardier BR350 groomer has been refurbished.
New chairs have been installed on the Sunrise and Sunset triple chairlifts, and ten new boxes and rails will be added to the Terrain Park. A new Emmegi Loading Conveyor is also being installed at the North Summit quad. Unique in this region but popular in Europe, the loading conveyors move at half the speed of the fixed-grip chairlift, providing for safer loading.
Visitors to Hidden Valley will find facility improvements across the resort. Wireless internet access will be available in all lodge facilities, and new mountain webcams are being installed, including an interactive video camera controllable by anyone on the Web.
New racking systems for skis, snowboards, and boots (including integrated boot dryers) have been installed. A new 3,000-square foot Ski and Snowboard Shop (managed by the former owners of Center Ski & Board) will be located on the ground level of the Clock Tower building and provide a rich inventory of skis, boards, boots, clothing and accessories.
Three new restaurants will cater to the appetites of hungry skiers and boarders. A full-service John Harvard’s Brew House restaurant will operate year-round at Outback Park, an adjoining terrain park on Rt. 31. The restaurant will provide dishes such as house made grilled meatloaf and chicken pot pie, along with a compliment of award-winning ales, lagers, and seasonal brews. A second restaurant, John Harvard’s Express, will serve food cafeteria-style in the main ski lodge, with a menu including hamburgers, sandwiches, wraps, and gourmet pizza. There will also be a new cafe in the Clock Tower building, featuring artisan breads and baked goods, gourmet coffees and teas, country harvest soups, and panini sandwiches.
Renovations are being made throughout the resort, including the installation of new roofs, new carpet, new doors, new paint, upgraded ceilings, refurbished bathrooms, new deck surfaces, and much more. Stairs are being made deeper to better match ski boots. The Ski Lodge, Clock Tower, Conference Center, Sports Center, and Outback will all feature significant renovations and enhancements.
60% of the rental inventory has been upgraded this year with hundreds of new Elan skis and bindings, Dalbello ski boots, Atomic snowboards, Salomon snowboard boots, and Boeri helmets. The flow in the rental building has also been improved to allow guests to hit the slopes more efficiently.
All units in the Four Season Condominiums have been re-painted, and 38 rooms have been refurnished. Signage and lighting throughout the resort has been improved, ski area parking lots have been regraded, and paving work is being done on major roads.
“We are pleased with how far we have come in a short period of time to ready the resort for families and skiers to enjoy this season, and we are excited for the future of Hidden Valley,” said Bill Doring, executive vice president and treasurer of The Buncher Company, the new owner of Hidden Valley.
The resort does not plan on resting next summer. In the spring of 2008, Hidden Valley will begin renting mountain bikes for use on its biking trail network. Also in 2008, Hidden Valley plans to replace the Blizzard and Lightning doubles with a new quad chairlift, while continuing to enhance snowmaking. New slopes will begin to be cut in the Outback area, and in 2009, Hidden Valley plans to install a second new quad to service the Outback. Hidden Valley’s long-term plan calls for the development of a new 200,000 square-foot base facility called The Village, which will feature a lodge and condominiums.
M. Scott Smith is the founder and Editor of DCSki. Scott loves outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and mountain biking. He is an avid photographer and writer.
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