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  2. I'm reading a book about the architecture at U.S. ski resorts from the 1930s thru the 1990s. Researched and written by a professor of architecture who skis with her family. Just happened to read about Waterville Valley last night. The author interviewed the founder of WV and read articles about the early development in architectural journals. The founder had a clear plan to build a "village" that would be sustainable for year round residents as well as being the base for a 4-season resort. So even though it didn't end up nearly as big as his vision, the Town Center probably fits the description of "faux village" because without the development of the resort, it wouldn't have existed at all. Jiminy Peak Resort doesn't have many resort buildings at the base. But the current buildings were clearly designed together and no one would mistake it for any sort of real town. Even though with the resort lodging and the Wyndham timeshare resort that is slopeside, the area covered is probably bigger than the nearest village of Hancock. Now I'm curious at least walk around Waterville Valley. Before when I saw "WV" in NMS posts, I would have to think twice because for someone who skis in the southeast, that means West Virginia. 🙂
  3. Never know what will turn up . . . I was looking for more info about Wilmot, one of the midwest ski areas bought by Vail Resorts in 2016 and that led to Wilmot, NH, and that led to Arrowhead. Adding Arrowhead to my list of independent ski areas in NH. Turns out that some Arrowhead has been open with a couple surface lifts for almost 15 years based on a core group of volunteers and the non-profit Arrowhead Recreation Club. The upper trails are maintained but are hike-only. There is snowmaking for skiing/boarding and tubing. It's a father-son management team with Chuck Allen as Director and his son, Spencer, as Ops Manager. According to a local news article in mid-March 2018, the 2017-18 season ended in early March mostly due to lack of volunteers. https://www.eagletimes.com/news/arrowhead-ends-season-will-seek-volunteers/article_b5b50cb4-26c8-11e8-b786-83e777ca0944.html
  4. Today
  5. Should they ever complete the gondola, it'll be interesting how the town changes. Its currently quite lackluster, but also doesn't feel fake to me either. Attitash also has the "village" but that's really just the restaurant and condos.
  6. No NH ski area has a fake village. closest thing to it would be Waterville but it isn't right at the mtn.
  7. Yesterday
  8. I like that list. How the base lodge is set up is definitely a key factor. If there is a "village" then unlikely to be old school. Have also noticed that it makes a difference what type of other businesses are within a few miles of the entrance to a ski area/resort. You can tell from the first sight of the Stratton sign on the turn off to head up the mountain that the place won't be old school. The contrast to the entrance to Magic is very clear. There seemed to be 2-3 ski shops near Stratton plus plenty of other small shops that clearly cater to tourists. Not sure I remember any small businesses within a mile of the entrance off the highway to the road to Magic. Same for Suicide Six. I stopped by all three on the same day, so the contrasts were obvious. Another direct comparison is between Jiminy Peak and Berkshire East, which are only about an hour apart. Jiminy is a well run 4-season resort. Berkshire East is clearly old school. Based on what I saw at Catamount a few weeks ago, it will stay old school even after the new owners--who own BEast) spend some money fixing stuff up.
  9. Old school for me means a few different things. A mountain doesn't necessarily have to hit all of them, but definitely some. Random smattering would be: - Trail layout - more of a classic NE feel without tons of wide boulevards - Base lodge area style/feel - not tons of restaurants fancy shops, etc (Wildcat lodge) - Lack of grooming I would say BW definitely does not fit this bill. The only thing you could argue for is the base area does not feel super resorty, as others have indicated. I personally would put Attitash and Waterville in the same category and that is a bit different than BW. BW is a bit more upscale, though in large part due to the hotel. Wildcat is definitely old school. Cannon too.
  10. Are Attitash and BW in the same category? Thinking just about the slopes, never mind the Mt. Washington Hotel or the fact that Attitash is a Peaks resort. Do you consider Wildcat "old school"? I'm thinking of spending some time sampling a few more ski areas/resorts in New England mid-Dec and early March next season before picking up my daughter near Boston for her school vacations. That's the main reason I'm curious about NH skiing right now. Thinking about where to book lodging in Dec between VT or NH or ME. I lean towards "independent" ski resorts but also appreciate what large resorts with deep pockets have to offer. I've enjoyed skiing at Wachusett and Jiminy Peak midweek the last couple seasons. My favorite destination out west remains Alta even after spending 1-week ski vacations at quite a few MCP destinations in recent years. In NH, I skied a day at Sunapee, Loon, and Wildcat during early season a few years ago, and a day at Tenney when they re-opened in March. Would enjoy going back to any one of them.
  11. Puck it

    Saddleback Updates

    It did not sound on the up and up when this was originally announced.
  12. Cannonballer

    Saddleback Updates

    Ummmmm https://www.newscentermaine.com/article/news/local/saddleback-mountain-buyer-arrested-overseas-charged-with-fraud/97-566216517 Saddleback Mountain buyer arrested overseas, charged with fraud The Australian CEO who was supposed to buy Saddleback Mountain was arrested and is being held without bail.
  13. Smellytele

    The car thread

    Not connected but paired - got it.
  14. Benski

    The car thread

    Because pairing it is a whole process that requires you to go into the settings. Once the two are paired you can easily connect them.
  15. Smellytele

    The car thread

    Trying to figure out why you would want 5 devices paired at a time with bluetooth in a Mini???
  16. Bretton Woods and Old School to me do not belong in the same sentence.
  17. Benski

    The car thread

    This seems pretty common sense, In 2005 who would have thought, "I want some good software, let's have Subaru develop it." Unfortunately, I don't many car companies got the stupidity of saying that and developed software in-house for there cars and it was predictably terrible, meanwhile, the rest went with Blackberry for systems, literally, a sinking ship and Ford went with Microsoft, which may have been Microsofts biggest failures. If you were to redu it, the obvious choice would probably use a modified version of Android or IOS for the Infotainment. Carplay is a Godsend for iPhone users as it finally but a competent software company in your car. The other day I tried android Auto and is it impossible to open or am I unlucky I have a 2018 Subaru its built-in software works well and has Pandora, Bluetooth, and a full-screen Carplay/Android auto mode but the built-in software feels extremely dated. Only thing is they dropped the "category" option from the radio, which was good for dead zones 2016 Volvo- a little difficult to use, and dated but not pretty good by car standards. 2017 Mini- Terrible, just terrible, I recently had to pull off a highway to change a song that repeated 3 times in a row and not use Bluetooth because the car could not be paired with 5 devices at a time. 2012 Subaru, this was a basic, no navigation system, using a classic interface that could pass for 1999, except the for 4 buttons for Bluetooth. For some reason, this car could only store one phone for Bluetooth, so basically only the primary driver could use the Bluetooth.
  18. ASC is commonly used to refer to Aspen. It also means American Ski Co. Context pretty clear here.
  19. This is apparent in the operations, but I wonder if these multi-mountain pass groups collude to raise day ticket prices. Also just be clear ASC=American Ski Company, the original conglomerate.
  20. Cannonballer

    The car thread

    Quote from article that I found to be very true: "Audio/communication/entertainment/vavigation (ACEN) remains the most problematic category for new-vehicle buyers." Obviously this is a first world problem and we all got by fine without this stuff. But since it's available it's fair game to critique. My experience with this in the past few years: 2013 & 2015 Subarus: absolutely terrible. Ended up just disabling all features in both cars because it performed so poorly it was worse having it on than not. 2017 Honda: kind of ok. I started with all features turned on. Over the course of 18 months I've gradually turned more and more features off because they perform so poorly. For example, the navigation is a joke. If I followed their directions my ski stats would take a huge hit because I'd be showing up late every day! Actually, I'm trying to think of any of the good features and I'm stumped. The Bluetooth interface is hit or miss, the controls are inconsistent, the satellite radio controls and display are terrible. I guess the map view (without nav) is decent. 2018 Audi:. Really good. Biggest downside is that there are almost too many options so it's hard to manage. But all of those options work really well so you can't miss. I don't think I'm very picky. I'd be happy not to have any of these features. But if they are present they should work as advertised without a lot of effort.
  21. Last week
  22. Perhaps Bretton Woods is more "old school" than "independent." While Sugarbush is clearly independent but not old school. Does that make sense? Note that "old school" does not necessarily mean that all the lifts are fixed grip, although that's often the case. Being part of a cooperative multi-resort pass does not make a ski area/resort less independent to me. Alta is clearly independent as a business but has been part of the MCP since the start and the SLC SuperPass for even longer. Snowbird is also independent even though the owner is also the owner of Powdr. Just as Aspen Ski Co. is independent even though the Crown family that owns ASC is a major partner in Alterra. Telluride will be part of the Epic Pass for 2017-18 but hasn't been bought by Vail . . . yet.
  23. Weatherman

    The car thread

    JD Power Initial Quality ratings for 2018 are out. This is essentially a rating of new cars with the least problems / complaints. The top three brands were all corporate cousins from Korea. http://www.jdpower.com/cars/articles/jd-power-studies/2018-us-initial-quality-study-results
  24. Yes, but... they offer multiple multi-area passes, but as all permutations with the same ski areas. Like having a midweek pass with Cannon. And Sunday - Friday with Cranmore.
  25. Reading the comments about Wilmot on Trip Advisor for 2017-18, sounds like there were busy times when the ski school and rental area were overwhelmed on weekends and during holidays. Wonder if that's related to Taylor Ogilvie's unexpected departure mid-season from the position of Wilmot GM and VP of the Urban Division (3 in the midwest). The family ski trip described the mother in this article in Chicago Parents is exactly the type of newbies that Vail Resort and Alterra want to get on local slopes. They are ice skaters. They all took lessons. They stayed overnight during a holiday weekend even though they live only an hour from Wilmot. http://www.chicagoparent.com/play/outdoor-fun/wilmot-mountain-is-great-for-ski-newbies/
  26. In Nov 2017, there was an article in the Chicago Tribune about skiing within day trip driving distance of Chicago. Of course, Wilmot was included. Was interesting to read the comments of a young adult snowboarder who grew up at Wilmot, as well as trips out west. After looking at the vertical for the places mentioned in the article, I have a better appreciation for the fact that a few ski resorts in the southwest have over 900 ft vertical. Wilmot has 220 ft vertical. No wonder having a good terrain park set up can make a big difference. http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/travel/ct-trav-best-skiing-close-to-chicago-1105-story.html
  27. Been reading more about Afton Alps in MN, which was bought in 2012 from the founding family. Paul Augustine, his brother, and a friend opened Afton Alps in 1963. The management team at the time of the VR purchase from the Augustine family included all three of Paul’s children, as well as his daughter’s husband. Amy Augustine Reents and her husband, John Reents are still in charge of marketing for Afton. A lot of upgrades were done before 2013-14, which wasn't a good winter in terms of weather. By the 2014-15 season, the children’s learning center had been renovated and enlarged. In April 2015, Minnesota-born Lindsey Vonn visited: ”This past April, she visited Afton Alps for a private meet-and-greet with the 2014-15 season graduates of Ski Girls Rock, a three-day premium lesson program that she inspired and designed specifically for girls. It is open to girls ages 7 to teen, intermediate level and above, and is led by female instructors.” Apparently Vonn helped create the concept of the girls’ program at VR resorts in Colorado. Hard to imagine she would be spending that much time with girls at Afton if it weren't part of Vail Resorts. Found an article written in March 2014 with the title "Afton Alps 2.0" that includes comments from Amy Reents. Sounded like she was pretty happy with the transition. http://static1.squarespace.com/static/58d06dfc59cc68c2d09308d4/t/5a4eaf47419202bdaadfcefc/1515106122173/Afton+Alps.+2.0.pdf Winding down the steep, narrow road that leads to Afton Alps, it’s easy to forget that you’re a 30-minute drive from Minnesota’s bustling capital city, St. Paul. Nestled between bluffs in the picturesque St. Croix River Valley, the urban ski area is both intimate and impressive, offering all the charms of a quintessential ski mountain experience—that is, enough terrain to appease both bunny hill hopefuls and more experienced downhill racers. “We used to joke for years that this was our own mini-Vail,” says Afton Alps’ marketing manager Amy Reents, “which is funny, because now it’s part of Vail.” As the ski season draws to a close in the Midwest, here’s a look at the Minnesota mountain’s inaugural season with Vail Resorts. The Colorado-based company purchased the ski area in Hastings, Minnesota from Reents and her family in late 2012, welcoming the family-run business —along with Mt. Brighton in Michigan—into a world-renowned group of Western resorts that, by comparison, dwarf the Midwest mountain. The first order of business: $10 million worth of upgrades—the largest one-time capital infusion in Afton Alps’ history. Founded by Reents’ father Paul Augustine, his brother Bob Augustine, and their friend Tom Furlong, Afton Alps opened for its inaugural season in 1963, an era when skiing was a booming sport in the Twin Cities. The three farmers, who started with next to nothing, steadily expanded the terrain, increased the number of lifts, and strengthened the ski school to meet the demands of a growing number of guests year after year. “I look at this and I think, ‘Yeah, they built this,’” Reents says. “But it got to the point where, even though we loved it so much as a family, it seemed like we wouldn’t be giving it its opportunity to be all it could be.” The revamped Afton Alps opened its doors—or rather, its slopes—for the 2013–2014 season in November, greeting locals with a host of newly minted amenities. A new guest services facility is home to the ski school and ticket office, while season pass holders can go directly to the lift with a new scanning system. Seventy-two energy-efficient snow machines coat the mountain’s 300 acres with powder, and daredevils can tackle obstacles in the redesigned terrain park, courtesy of X Games course builder Snow Park Technologies. When skiers and riders are ready to hang up their poles and boots for a warm meal by the fire, a new food and beverage director, updated menus, and renovated dining facilities—don’t miss the food truck that doles out hand-wrapped burritos at the “Landing Zone” terrain park village—are there to satisfy. But perhaps the biggest change has been the introduction of Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass to the Midwest market. The company’s industry-changing season pass (on sale now for the 2014-2015 season) offers its users unlimited access to any Vail Resorts mountain, spanning Colorado, California, Nevada, and Utah—and, as of this season, Minnesota and Michigan—as well as limited days in France, Switzerland, Austria, and next season, Japan. Opening the program to Afton guests makes big-mountain resorts across the country, and now, the world, more accessible. “We prepare people to handle steeps, moguls, ice, and soft snow,” says Dianne Engen, a Level III-certified ski instructor who has taught at Afton Alps for 28 years. “So by the time they get out West, they can really enjoy themselves.” Once an advocate for keeping skiers in Minnesota, Reents says that she and the rest of her staff have embraced Vail’s “Where Epic Begins” campaign by fostering a love for the sport at Afton Alps, then encouraging their customers to conquer the big mountains out West. “And if they don’t ever go,” she says, “then maybe we’re not really doing our job, because we’re supposed to instill in them that passion to continue to explore and continue to love the outdoors.” Having just surpassed its milestone golden anniversary after a half-century in business, Afton Alps has hosted a season of historic shifts and improvements —but also one of reflection on the mountain’s legacy to the community. “The changes are fantastic,” says local Gary Ritner, who has been skiing at Afton since 1984. “But this 30-year customer says the family feeling hasn’t changed a bit.” Ritner’s sentiments echo the thoughts of lifelong employees and guests alike. One can simply look at the chalet walls of Afton’s buildings—many adorned with historic black-and-white photographs of the ski area and its founders— to see that the past is still there, blending with the future as Vail Resorts continues to elevate the ski culture of a family-run mountain in Minnesota. “All of the ski areas in the Twin Cities are in this together to get people into the sport,” Reents says. “Vail is going to reinvest and take Afton to the next level, but it’s also going to help inspire the neighboring ski hills to be creative and drive their markets as well, which I think will benefit all customers.”
  28. Found a description of a weekend spent by a family at the Mt. Washington Hotel in 2011. That was after $60 million had been spent on renovations. Certainly sounds similar to JimK's experience at the Homestead. https://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/20/travel/20Bretton-Woods.html
  29. I don't think so. I'm a regular at Alta and have friends who grew up there. There is little local support for creating a lift-served connection. Having a few days included for Alta and Snowbird on Ikon helps to entice people away from Epic. Can also be a way to get people to try an Alterra resort because the MCP is at a lower price point for people who aren't ready to spend $600 long before the season starts. Especially if a family has kids and is willing to commit in March or April when the Kid MCP is $1. The idea for the MCP came from someone who was working at Aspen/Snowmass, which is owned independently. The family that owns Aspen Ski Co. is a major partner with KSL in Alterra. Probably a key reason that the MCP still exists. At least for 2018-19.
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