AlpineZone Challenge 2004 – Elena Tayler of Ascutney Mountain

The AlpineZone Ski Area Challenge was designed to provide a method for our forum members to get official answers to skiing-related questions directly from a ski area representative. Elena Taylor, Marketing Manager of Ascutney Mountain in Brownsville, Vermont, took the AlpineZone Ski Area Challenge and provided the following responses on 11/16/2004:

Joshua B: Why did you install the quad add the extra vertical when you don’t use it that often? Some might think it’s not fair to advertise 1,800 feet when the quad is closed so much of the time.

Elena Tayler: Our Quad runs daily unless there are high winds, which occur rarely or there is a routine maintenance check.

Tin Woodsman: Though I can’t comment on the frequency of its operation, I certainly do commend Ascutney for installing the quad to increase its skiable vertical. I’ve often wondered what, if any, roadblocks exist that would prevent Ascutney from expanding further up the mountain or onto different aspects. By eyeballing the topos, it would seem that Ascutney could add another 500′ to its vertical, while the N and NE aspects of the mountain look like fantastic terrain. I know Ascutney is family-owned and may therefore have a limited ability to support the large investments such an expansion would take but, given Ascutney’s proximity to I-91 (4 hours form NYC, 2.5 from Hartford), a mountain with 2300′ vertical may make people stand up and take notice. No?

Elena Tayler: With the Ski Area expansion several years ago including a new Quad and additional trails we have now chosen to go back and turn our attention to our Guest services. We have recently upgraded all of our restaurants with a superior Chef and experienced restaurant managers. This year we will open our in-house Movie Theater “Alpine Cinema” as well as a re-vamped Terrain Park and a great line-up of Live Entertainment and Events throughout the season. In addition, we have fully renovated and refurbished our 215 room hotel, so we can offer even better lodging opportunities to our families, ater all, we are not just a Ski Area, we are a Four Season Destination for the entire family.

thetrailboss: First, great job keeping the mountain open. I remember when the place was bankrupt about ten years ago or so and it is great to see the improvements that have been made.

I must apologize that I have not been to Ascutney — I don’t hear much about it, but here are two quick questions:

What specials or deals do you have to entice me to come? A $52 midweek, non holiday ticket is pretty high from what I’ve seen. Sugarbush is $48 midweek and other nearby mountains are lower than $52. Is there something that I am not seeing?
Elena Tayler: There are several other options to choose from.

If your trip to Ascutney involves lodging, all lodging packages include a full day lift ticket. Midweek Getaway Packages are valid Sunday-Friday and include slopeside lodging in a condominium suite, lift tickets, group lessons and all resort amenities. All for only $79 per person per night.

2 for Tuesdays – Skiers & riders can enjoy 2 for 1 lift ticket savings on Tuesdays, during non-holiday weeks, for anyone from anywhere.

Boardroom Wednesdays – Boarders can cruise all-day on Wednesdays for only $24, during non-holiday weeks.

Tele Thursdays – Telemark skiers enjoy all day skiing for only $24 on Thursdays, during non-holiday weeks.VT/NH Sundays- Vermont and New Hampshire residents ski for just $22 on Sunday afternoons starting at 12:30 p.m.

Ascutney’s Max Card – For just $89, skiers and riders can purchase this valuable card and begin saving money on lift tickets. All full day lift tickets are 50% off including weekends and holidays. With the MAX Card, adults can ski or ride for $26 mid-week, and just $27.50 on weekends and holidays. Juniors can ski or ride for $18.50 mid-week and $20 on weekends and holidays.In addition, MAX cardholders receive 50% off standard group ski lessons, providing yet another way to save! The best value in innovative ski and ride cards in New England!The Max Card discount is not valid in conjunction with any other promotions, discounts or programs. Limit one ticket per person per day.

thetrailboss: What improvements are slated for the mountain? I concur with the previous comments about adding more vertical, but I understand that you are probably leasing from the State and the rest of the mountain is a state park, hence stricter regulations.

Thanks. Look forward to seeing you at the Boston Ski Show and visiting sometime.

Elena Tayler: Again, with the Ski Area expansion several years ago including a new Quad and additional trails we have now chosen to go back and turn our attention to our Guest services. We have recently upgraded all of our restaurants with a superior Chef and experienced restaurant managers. We welcome you to come see and ski first hand all the improvements we are proud to show-off.

ChileMass: I’ve skied there twice in the last few years, and I love Ascutney! Great medium-sized hill with lots of people who know how to ski. The big-city folks go on to Killington, Okemo and others, leaving Ascutney for families.

Is the focus of Ascutney going to remain on families and season ticket holders?

Elena Tayler: Our focus remains on families as we continually strive to develop affordable, adventure-filled, fun family vacations. From our innovative children’s programs and in-house movie theatre, to the Sports & Fitness Center and multiple dining options, there is a wide assortment of activities and amenities for the whole family. Families can stay in one central location throughout their entire vacation, making it stress-free and enjoyable.

ChileMass: Any plans for any events to draw day-trippers to check the place out?

Elena Tayler: We host several events throughout the winter season that attract both participants and spectators. Our top 5 events are:

Terrain Park Jam – Saturday, February 26
The premier of the Terrain Park Jam last winter was such a huge success it has turned into an annual event at Ascutney Mountain Resort. Skiers and snowboarders execute their tricks on the various rails, jumps, bumps, rollers, kickers, tabletops and mailbox. Prizes will again be awarded in every division as judges consider amplitude, technicality and style. The “Rip Zone” Terrain Park is located on lower Sundance.

Ascutney Mogul Bump Off – Saturday, March 12
Skiers and riders of all abilities who love the bumps can test their bump skills while jamming to music on The Plunge trail in Ascutney’s Annual Mogul Bump Off. The event is open to all ages. Judges award prizes in various categories.

The Vermont Antique Ski Race™- Sunday, March 20
On March 20, 2005 Ascutney Mountain Resort will host the 2nd Annual Vermont Antique Ski Race™. Last year’s event was a huge success, in addition to being a lot of fun. Racers donned skiwear and equipment from days gone by and gallantly navigated the slalom race course set on Screaming Eagle, Ascutney’s race trail. Representatives were present from the Vermont Ski Museum and former Olympians Andrea Mead Lawrence, Vermont’s first gold medal win in the 1952 Olympics, and Billy Kidd, 1964 Olympic silver medallist and the first American male alpine racer to win an Olympic medal, gave full support of the event.

The Vermont Antique Ski Race™, which benefits the Vermont Ski Museum, will again present awards to those racers with the fastest times of the day in either the Woodies division or the Fiberglass and Metal division. Of course speed isn’t the only criteria, with awards being presented for “Most Authentic Dress”, “Oldest Ski Technique”, “Youngest Racer”, “Slo-Mo Skier” and last but not least “Most Spectacular Fall”.

Many local companies provided contributions and support, which made the event such a success, and has the Resort excited to invite everyone back for this special event.

Red Stripe Reggae Spring Fling – Saturday, March 26
In true spring fashion, Ascutney Mountain Resort celebrates spring skiing and riding with this Spring Fling Weekend. Weekend activities include authentic Jamaican outdoor barbecues, a special snowbar, limbo contest and live entertainment with Boston’s #1 Raggae band “Noddaclu”.

ChileMass: Any terrain park or boarding stuff planned? (I hope not).

Elena Tayler: Last year was the inaugural season for our Rip Zone Terrain Park. Located on Lower Sundance, the park features an array of kickers, tables, various rails, a 24-foot Monster mailbox and other fun challenges. We realize Terrain Parks are not everyone’s favorite, therefore it was not built in a central location but still offers easy access. Additions to this year’s park include music and enhancements to the rails, tables and kickers.

ChileMass: Any plans for ski-area-sponsored condos near the hill or in Brownsville?

Elena Tayler: Before we can answer that question we need to know what “ski-area sponsored condos” are.

We can say that our real estate has moved extremely well over the last couple years with values having doubled over the past two years. There are plans in the works for future development, Ascutney Mountain has been blessed with State Permits in place for an additional 600 units and we own our own septic system so our development is not only environmentally friendly, but also allows us to move forward with less red tape. While plans are being layed out for future development we have our renovated Windsor Building Condominium Complex to offer, which along with all of our other accommodations, is ski-in/ski-out.

Greg: ASC is currently offering the ASC Gold Pass (no blackout dates; good at six resorts) for $699. What do you feel will be the effect of such aggressive season pass pricing on the Northeast ski industry as a whole, especially for mid-sized mountains like Ascutney?

Elena Tayler: We may initially see some Season Pass holders exploring this offer, but considering last year’s sales were up 67% and this year’s are already up 12%, we must be doing something right.

Greg: Are there any infrastructure improvements/upgrades planned, e.g. lifts, snowmaking, base/summit facilities, etc.?

Elena Tayler: There are always improvements, last year we added 72 new Snow Guns and an additional Compressor. We have improved our Base Lodge and Hotel as well as our programming of events for the season. And last but not least our improvements with our restaurants here at Ascutney Mountain with great food and live music!

To view forum comments on this Challenge and the Challenge Results, please visit the following page: width=