ASC Puts The 'E' In Lift-Ticket Savings
Can't wait for ski season? Get a fix on-line. American Skiing Company waded into Internet commerce this fall with its new mEticket program. There are four levels of savings: Bronze (3-5 days at $45 per day), Silver (6-8 days at $42), Gold (9-11 days at $39) and Platinum (12-14 days at $38). The cards are unrestricted (except the Bronze, which can't be used at Steamboat, Colo.). And after March 21, they're fully transferable, so you can treat your friends to any days you haven't used up by then. At the Platinum level, the savings amount to as much as $18 per day compared to paying the walk-up holiday price at Steamboat ($56). For now, you'll still have to visit a ticket booth to procure a lift ticket, but ASC says it hopes to offer a "direct to lift" mEticket in the future.Visit http://www.meticket.com "> www.meticket.com for more information.
Stowe's Water Woes
Before it can move forward an inch on its ambitious resort makeover, Stowe, Vt., needs to find enough water to make ramped-up snowmaking happen. It thought it had: A $6 million pipeline from nearby Waterbury reservoir would deliver a copious flow and at the same time appease environmentalists concerned with the fate of the mountain stream from which the ski area now draws much of its water. There's just one problem. After spending time and money to get the project approved, Stowe planners learned last summer that the federal overseers of the reservoir had decided to drain it. Repairs made 15 years ago, the Feds said, are themselves in need of repair. Plan B calls for the construction of holding ponds near the resort, but it must pass review all over again. The good news is that a critical town sewer line expansion has been approved¿an essential step to seeing the plan come to fruition. The permitting process begins in earnest this winter. Stowe hopes that a year and a half of collaboration with its staunchest critics¿an attempt to pre-empt opposition with up-front concessions¿will make the process go smoothly. Perhaps optimistically, the Mount Mansfield Company (a division of the AIG insurance giant) hopes to break ground on the project¿which includes a slopeside village, golf course, new lifts, trails, and several hundred housing units¿next summer.
They Believe In Magic
How much do you love your favorite ski area? Enough to be its grunt laborer for a day? Yes, said some 30 members of the Albany, N.Y.-based Out Of Control Ski Club, who donned jeans and work gloves for a day of voluntary hard time on the slopes of recently reopened Magic Mountain, Vt.
Club president Steve Lawrence volunteered his troops during a visit last winter, Magic's second season of operation after a seven-year shut down. The mountain jumped at the offer, and Lawrence and friends went to work reclaiming overgrown trails. In exchange, they got a lift ticket each¿plus the chance to sneak off into the woods and carve out a few personal tree shots. But mostly it was about helping an underdog get back on its feet. "Magic's about skiing for fun, not for fashion," said Lawrence. "It's got interesting terrain that hasn't been blasted and bulldozed, and it attracts a cooler crowd than a lot of places¿people who love skiing."
Unlike last year, Magic kept its employees on payroll over the summer, and it expects an early opening and expanded terrain. The volunteers helped clear three classic black diamonds: Master Magician, Slide of Hans and Heart of the Magician. "We got a lot done," Lawrence said with pride. "They cooked us lunch, and then we sat around on the deck¿they've got a great deck¿and warmed it up for ski season."
And where did he say those tree shots were? Um...he didn't.
Ski It If It's Free
When word got out that Mad River Glen was handing out free season passes to kids under 12, parents calling for more information wanted to know what thee catch was. But there wasn't one. The project was so successful¿despite never being advertised¿that Mad River had to cap it after a couple months, lest the area become overrun by under-agers come ski season.
The idea is to get lapsed skiers back into the sport by getting their kids to drag them. "We knew it would be well-received, but the response just blew us away," said Mad River marketing chief Eric Friedman. "We got a lot of calls from people who hadn't skied in a long time. We think that shows that people are not skiing because of the cost."
What remains to be seen is whether parents will grab their boards and join their kids, as Mad River hopes¿or just dump them at the hill. "We'll do a lot of surveying this year and see how it goes," says Friedman. "We're playing it by ear."