NH ski areas plan big improvementsBy KATHLEEN BAGLIO HUMPHREYS
Union Leader Correspondent
August 13. 2014 9:45PM
NORTH WOODSTOCK — After New Hampshire boasted its sixth best ski season on record last season, a lengthy list of capital improvements is planned across the Granite State, from high-speed lifts to new trails or glades being cut and extensive snowmaking improvements, enhancing the resort experience.
This summer, a dozen resorts have been adding to their mountain’s amenities.
-- Ragged Mountain plans more than $5 million in improvements, which include replacing the historic Spear Triple chairlift with a new Doppelmayr High Speed Detachable Quad Chair. Skiers and riders can access both of Ragged’s peaks from the new lift. The Elmwood Lodge is being revamped, adding a wood-fired pizza restaurant.
-- Loon Mountain Resort’s early season top-to-bottom opening on Nov. 8, 2013, was due to the installation of 100 HKD KLIK snowmaking hydrants, and they are at it again by installing 50 more hydrants on Upper Picked Rock, Lower Picked Rock and Lower Bear Claw. Skiers and riders can expect great early season snow.
Loon is also expanding the Burton Lil’ Stash kids terrain park. This gladed terrain park will get a new series of rollicking berms that ride like a mini-banked slalom in the woods. Kids will also discover fun new animal carvings.
-- Mount Sunapee’s Sunbowl area will have a new Poma of America High-Speed Quad Chairlift with a 4-minute ride to the summit.
-- More rental equipment will be available at Cranmore Mountain Resort along with an expanded demo center on weekends and holidays. A new Prinoth Bison groomer will ensure awesome snow conditions while a new snowmaking river pump and computer software will maximize the efficiency of the resort’s snowmaking system.
-- Granite Gorge in Keene focused on adding new fan guns to its snowmaking arsenal to ensure optimal snow conditions. A new Alpine Glades has been added off the Paradise Trail. Cross-country skiers will have new terrain to enjoy thanks to extension of the Frado ski trail. Racers will appreciate that timing and fencing was extended to the top of the Main Street Race Trail with 100 percent snowmaking coverage, allowing for a complete race venue. Easy access to the ski area from Route 9 was improved with a new paved, two-lane entrance.
-- Phase I of the Mittersill expansion is under way at Cannon Mountain with $1 million dedicated to the improvement project, which involves trail work and expansion and a new snowmaking compressor that will add 28 percent more snowmaking capacity. Another million dollars is slated for snowmaking upgrades, lines and new high efficiency snow guns plus a new Prinoth Bison to push all that snow around.
-- The iconic platter pull at Black Mountain is being upgraded, with $25,000 in improvements. The primary pump station is being completely rebuilt, at a cost of $75,000.
-- Gunstock is investing $825,000 in customer-focused improvements this year. Improvements will include new seating in the lodge and a new rental fleet as well as snowmaking and lift enhancements.
-- Snowmaking is on tap at Waterville Valley Resort. Seven new high efficiency, fully automatic fan guns will be added and relocating existing equipment for great coverage top to bottom. This is in preparation for the Green Peak Expansion project. The Nordic system and tubing hill will improve snowmaking to keep the trails in good shape.
-- Great Glen Trails will introduce new beginner terrain focused on increasing the fun factor of learning with customized snow elements and simple terrain features. Their “terrain-based learning” teaching style will help to promote faster learning in a nonintimidating environment.
-- Skiers and riders who enjoy skiing under the lights at McIntyre Ski Area will have another trail for additional nighttime fun, and improvements will be made to the tubing area. Its snowmaking capacity will increase with the replacement of the main snowmaking line and valve station, and chairlift upgrades are expected.
-- Bretton Woods invested $300,000 in 35 new high efficiency towers, improved the Hobbits children’s learn-to-ski-and-ride program and $100,000 in new rental equipment.
-- Two new trails with 100 percent snowmaking and a glade run at Pats Peak’s Cascade Basin will allow skiers and riders to explore more of the backside of the mountain.
Pats plans to install seven SMI snowmaking fan guns and 20 energy-efficient HKD snowmaking guns and add to its rental fleet. For the guests who want to enjoy the rustic lodge, wireless Internet will be available.