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New Hampshire Resorts Pouring in the Capital

New Hampshire Resorts Pouring in the Capital

[ Wed, 2010-06-30 16:10 ]
List of infrastructural improvements includes new lift for Cranmore and new life for Cannon’s once-defunct Mittersill.

Ski New Hampshire, the industry trade group for Granite State ski areas, today sent us a comprehensive update of capital improvement plans for its member areas. See below.

Most exciting, if you ask us, are the changes in the works at two White Mountain classics, Cranmore and Cannon Mountain. Cranmore, in North Conway, was recently acquired by a group that includes the principal owners of Jiminy Peak, Mass., with financial backing of CNL Lifestyle Properties (the same real estate investment trust that owns or has a stake in Loon, Sunday River, Sugarloaf, Stratton, Copper Moutain, Crested Butte … the list goes on). A new quad will be added at Cranmore to replace the South Peak double, which in turns moves to the beginner area.

State-owned Cannon brings the old Mittersill ski area fully back to life with its own lift, a double where the old lift used to be. The area, founded by a real-life Austrian baron in 1941, closed in 1984, then gradually became a favorite of adventuresome Cannon skiers, who could reach its trails via a short hike from the famous Taft Slalom trail. There’s a great history of the place on Cannon’s website. It includes this tantalizing warning to anyone who hasn’t skied it before: “Contrary to the belief of many people, the area is not easy terrain. Much of it is steep and narrow, and must be used with extra caution, with extended rescue time a probability.” Hats off to Cannon general manager John Divivo, who seems to have reinvigorated Bode Miller’s home hill. Divivo says skiers can expect the same lift-served backcountry feel they’re accustomed to at Mittersill, at least for the time being.

And speaking of racers: kudos, too, to Ragged Mountain, which will set gates for avid citizen racers to train in. That’s always seemed like a no-brainer to us: when weather and/or snow conditions aren’t ideal, it’s always fun to run gates. We’re hoping for dual GS, so we can race our buddies head-to-head.

Here’s the area-by-area rundown from Ski New Hampshire:

North Woodstock, N.H., June 2010 — While most skiers and riders are busy enjoying the warm temperatures, New Hampshire's ski areas have a chance to roll up their sleeves and get to work continuing to improve their resorts for guests. This summer is no different with many improvements underway across the state. Following is a list of projects in the Granite State for the upcoming 2010-11 winter season.

Cranmore, North Conway - Cranmore is spending approximately $6 million on major improvements to the resort. The South Peak double chair will be replaced with a Doppelmayr eco-Drive, energy-efficient, fixed-grip quad chairlift. The existing South Peak double chair will be relocated near the Beginner Basin. Terrain in Beginner Basin will be altered to make room for the chair as well as provide additional beginner terrain. The tubing park will be relocated and expanded from seven to ten lanes along with a new Sun Kid surface lift in addition to the existing handle-tow. A year-round Mountain Coaster is being installed that will allow guests to ride up the mountain and then descend at rider-controlled speeds. Other improvements include the installation of 70 new energy-efficient tower guns that will increase the quality and quantity of snowmaking, especially during early season periods. At the base of the area, the Arlberg Lodge is being converted into a state-of-the-art children's center, a new ticketing system will make for smoother transactions for guests, and many other buildings will be upgraded to improve guests' experiences.

Cannon Mountain, Franconia Notch - A new double chairlift is being installed at the recently re-opened Mittersill Backcountry Area in the location of the original double chair at the area. This is part of a multi-year, multi-million dollar improvement program. Other improvements include a 9,000 sq. ft. addition to the base lodge, snowmaking upgrades and new grooming machines.

Attitash, Bartlett - Over the summer Attitash is adding a new Mountain Coaster to the resort. The ride carries guests up the mountain over 1,400 feet on twin stainless steel rails. Once at the top, riders descend over 2,800 feet of track through dips, banked turns and straight-aways at rider-controlled speeds of up to 25 mph. The Mountain Coaster is open year-round for guests, which means even non-skiers can enjoy the mountain in winter months.

Pats Peak, Henniker - Pats Peak is in the process of spending $500,000 on improvements, bringing the total spent on improvements over the past six years to $5.5 million. The snowmaking system will receive twelve new HKD snowguns and six new energy-efficient fan guns. New snowmaking pipe on the Duster trail will allow for a faster opening to the summit of the mountain. Pats' three terrain parks are getting a new PistenBully 400 Park Snow Groomer. At the summit, ski patrol will have a brand-new building complete with a deck and full concrete basement for storage of safety supplies. The rental shop will be home to 500 new pairs of skis and bindings, 400 new pairs of boots and 100 new snowboards. Other additions include new uniforms for the snowsports school, a new deck for the Alpine Training Center and new carpets in the base lodge.

Loon Mountain, Lincoln -Loon is adding 20 acres of new tree skiing over the summer. $1.2 million is being spent on improvements to the snowmaking system, including 428 Low-e HKD tower guns allowing more terrain to be opened earlier in the season. A new Beast Grooming Cat has been added to the fleet of groomers. Other additions include a loading carpet for the Seven Brothers chairlift and a 48% increase in capacity for the North Peak chairlift thanks to 35 additional chairs.

Bretton Woods, Bretton Woods - New terrain is being added thanks to an expansion onto Mount Stickney. For this winter skiers and riders will find new gladed terrain for all abilities.

Crotched Mountain, Bennington -A third Pisten Bully groomer has been added to Crotched's grooming fleet, complementing the two Pisten Bully 400 park cats purchased last year. Work is being completed on glades and terrain improvements, and new features are being added to the terrain park. In the lodge guests will find another 5,000 sq. ft. of rubber flooring, expanded seating and an improved view in the Onset Bar, outside heating for the deck and a newly designed cafeteria. The rental shop is home to a new Montana tuning machine.

McIntyre Ski Area, Manchester - A new base lodge is being constructed, with plans to be open for this season. The new lodge will be larger than the previous one and will offer more amenities, including the Mac Bistro, featuring special coffees, teas, local pastries, sandwiches, soups and more.

King Pine and Purity Spring Resort, East Madison - Continued improvements to the snowmaking system include the addition of 57 energy-efficient tower guns and two new electric compressors, resulting in a 40% increase in pumping capacity. Other improvements include new food service equipment, additional rental shop inventory and upgrades to the lodging facilities.

Wildcat Mountain, Pinkham Notch - Improvements to the snowmaking system will continue with integral pipe replacements that will enhance the system's capabilities. New trail mapping will acknowledge two additional trails --"Leo's Leap" and "Sphynx"-- as well as identifying established tree ski areas that had only been proposed in the past. The base lodge will see improvements including the availability of WiFi for guests.

Black Mountain, Jackson - The snowmaking system will see the addition of new energy-efficient tower guns on several trails and the installation of air reduction kits that will reduce the amount of air required for operation by 50%, resulting in a more eco-friendly system.

Mount Sunapee, Newbury - The South Peak Learning Center will get a third carpet lift to complement the quad chairlift, beginner terrain park and glades.

Granite Gorge, Keene - This winter skiers and riders can enjoy the new "Lab" terrain park thanks to the addition of lighting and snowmaking to the Sunset Trail. The base lodge is being expanded with a new locker facility. The rental shop is being expanded and will now include "learn-to-ride" snowboard packages.

Ragged Mountain, Danbury - Guests visiting Ragged Mountain will be welcomed by a new bag check area. Once on snow, they'll find expanded snowmaking, additional glades off of Exhibition Trail and a new recreational race course that will be open to all guests Wednesdays-Sundays.

Balsams Wilderness, Dixville Notch - The Balsams Wilderness will be partnering with Golf and Ski Warehouse to operate retail stores at the ski area and resort. This will ensure guests have access to any equipment they may require during their visit.