Green Mountains Go WhiteNovember 8, 2010 By: Kirk Cassels Travel Agent
Okemo in Vermont will soon have a new all-season attraction in the form of a mountain roller coaster.
Just because the highest ski mountains in the United States are found out west doesn’t mean there’s nothing to offer in the Northeast for powder enthusiasts. Vermont has 1,200 trails for skiing/riding, and receives 4.1 million visitors per season. Although 80 million live within driving distance for a vacation to the state, flight additions by JetBlue at Burlington International Airport will increase visitation.
But there’s more to these resorts than just hitting the slopes. So here’s what agents need to know about certain resorts in the Green Mountain State.
Stowe Mountain Resort
One of the more luxurious ski destinations in the state welcomes the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center in December, providing an “after-mountain” stop for skiers and riders, as well as a touch of sophisticated culture for the affluent traveler. The center is envisioned as a venue for theater, music, dance, film, comedy, lectures and multimedia presentations.
With six peaks, Killington has plenty of acreage to cover. Hence, snowmaking upgrades topped the list of summer projects, including trunk line replacements, raising energy efficiency, pump rebuilds and installing a new cooling system. Meanwhile, crews completed trail regrading on the upper Skyewalker/Bittersweet area to improve skier flow. When done on the slopes, we suggest your clients visit the Long Trail Ale Brewery for some suds to warm the soul.
Two new hotels, a water park, an NHL-sized arena, a new golf club that includes three apartment-style suites and a five-star restaurant are part of the $125 million development here. Jay Peak also increased snowmaking coverage, and opened an enclosed beginner lift and new Nordic center. New in lodging are the 57 luxury suites in the Tram Haus lodge and three deluxe condominium suites at the Golf Clubhouse. Jay Peak also broke ground for the “new” Hotel Jay, which will have 170 rooms, along with three more restaurants and an indoor water park. The water park will have a retractable roof for year-round use in addition to one of the longest indoor lazy rivers in North America, a kamikaze straight drop and a double Flow Rider surf machine.
Okemo is rolling out a new attraction for all seasons later this year: a mountain roller coaster. Sled-like cars carrying one or two passengers will ascend 1,600 feet followed by a 375-foot vertical descent along 3,100 feet of tubular, stainless steel track that follows the contours of the mountain with added waves, camel backs, banking loops and a “twister” section, at speeds of up to 25 mph. As for the slopes, the Snow Star Poma, in the Galaxy Bowl Learning Area at Okemo’s Clock Tower Base Area, has been replaced with a 180-foot, magic-carpet-style surface lift.
Sugarbush’s Lincoln Peak Village is undergoing a $10 million revitalization, consisting of a new entrance plaza and two new lodges. The 12,500-square-foot Schoolhouse will be home to some of Sugarbush’s popular children’s programs. The other lodge will provide skier services such as tickets and season passes, lockers, rentals and repairs and a café.