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. Tom Meyers , Marketing Director of Wachusett Mountain in Princeton, Massachusetts, took the AlpineZone Ski Area Challenge and provided the following responses on 7/29/2004:
hammer: Are there any plans to expand the rental area and/or update the rental equipment for next season? Wachusett has a lot of good trails for the beginner/novice skier, but I found the rental area to be quite cramped and the rental equipment looked like it had seen better days.
Tom Meyers: Yes, we are looking at options for a new rental/skier services building. However, that will not be in for this year.
teach ski: I know that the Vickery Bowl is slated to come on line for next season. Does this include the installation of a lift as originally planned?
Tom Meyers: Yes, the new Vickery Bowl Triple is being installed as we speak; the tower footings are in place and the new lift will open this winter.
teach ski: I have been a chaperone of a school group for a few years now. On several occasions we have arrived and the larger room (addition) is closed off for a function and there is no place for us to sit to boot up, etc. We come on a night when there is a large number of school groups in attendance (Thursday). The bag check is never open and the lockers are always full. Is there any possibility that on these nights the bag check could be open for these school groups (free of charge) so that there is at least some place to store bags?
Tom Meyers: Last year was the first year for the bag check. We are continuing to evaluate the use of the service and trying the staff the area accordingly. We will certainly look at Thursday nights as a good time to open bag check if the business warrants. We try to limit the number of times the Granite room is closed during peak periods, however, it does happen upon occassion. There are also lockers available in the Skier Services Building (Rental area).
teach ski: Speaking of school groups, I know that my group has at least one chaperone in the lodge at all times, but there are other groups that do not. Their kids often throw food, go through others’ stuff, swear, horse play and are generally rude to others (one group in particular). Is there any way that the area could have a staff person or two (not a kid) present in the room to monitor this or that groups could be required to have at least one person in the lodge?
Tom Meyers: Many groups have been having more and more trouble getting chaperons. This year we are extending the option for PARENTS to participate in the Student Program (previously, the program has only been open to students and faculty) so we hope we have a better presence of adults.
teach ski: How about adding one “special” day mid-week during each vacation for Century Pass holders to use their pass? I am a teacher and never get to use my century pass during the day?
Tom Meyers: We will certainly look at that possibility. This year we are introducing the “Century Pass Sweepstakes” which will give Century Pass Holders the opportunity for added bonuses, upgrades and discounts throughout the season. Watch for the “Wachusett Flag” on the website as a signal for when there is a new offer.
teach ski: The Crowley Family, who operate the ski area as Wachusett Associates, also own Polar Soda Company. Why is soda so expensive at the ski area (they serve Polar and they charge more for soda than most other areas charge)?
Tom Meyers: We still have to purchase the soda just like any business would. We will certainly try to keep our pricing as competitive and economical as possible.
ChileMass: Is it somehow possible to police the mobs of kids that go to Wachusett on weeknights and weekends? The thing that keeps me away is the roving, rampaging mobs of teens that elbow their way thru the lodge, the lift lines and down the slopes. Suggestion – how about an ad campaign that promotes family skiing (e.g. “Don’t just dump off the kids; why not actually ski with them?”), or hang banners in the lodge that say (in BIG letters) that rude behavior will get you kicked out for the day/night? I hate to say it, but this babysitting/vice-principal service might bring back some adult tickets that otherwise go elsewhere.
Tom Meyers: Through our ski patrol and ranger patrol, we are constantly reinforcing “Your Responsibility Code” – the National Ski Area Associations Code for safe skiing and snowboarding. The Ranger Patrol – a group of nearly 100 additional personnel whose function it is to assist the Ski Patrol watching and monitoring for unsafe behavior – is an important group to help in this effort on the hill. We strongly encourage all our staff to help monitor this in the lodge, as well.
Greg: Are there any additional terrain expansion plans for the 2004-2005 ski season? If so, what types of trails will be added?
Tom Meyers: Improved Alpine Park and Additional Trail Widenings – approximately 1 acre of additional terrain will be added this season with trail work completed on Look Mom, Lower Hitchcock, Smith Walton, 10th Mountain and Lower Balance Rock trails. The new work on Look Mom will allow for improvements to the existing Alpine Park with additional space for new park features.
Greg: Do you have any plans to open a forum or chat room on your website? Do you read web forums like AlpineZone.com? If so, do you ever want to reply to posts about Wachusett or other ski areas?
Tom Meyers: We currently have a chat room through our participation with RSN.
Greg: Are there any infrastructure improvements/upgrades planned, e.g. lifts, snowmaking, base/summit facilities, etc.?
Tom Meyers: The long-awaited expansion of Wachusett Mountain’s ski trails is finally a reality this winter as the central Massachusetts ski area will open the complete new Vickery Bowl area. With two new trails, the Vickery Bowl adds over eight additional acres of terrain to the mountain — bringing Wachusett’s total trail count to 22. The two intermediate-level trails – Frannie’s Folly (1,800 feet) and Piece of Cake (1,600 feet) — will feature snowmaking and lights for night skiing this season.
The new 1,500-foot Vickery Bowl Triple Chair servicing the trails will also open this season completing the work on the area that was started last year. The Vickery Bowl is located on the lower mountain between the Hitchcock and Lower Smith Walton trails. While both new trails were cut last summer, only Frannie’s Folly could open without the benefit of the new lift. The new triple chair will provide easy access to both new trails, which will feature additional terrain for a second alpine park and race training.
“The Vickery Bowl will be a completely self-contained alpine playground,” said David Crowley, Wachusett general manager. “Both trails will be great for skiers and riders to get even more enjoyment out of the mountain.”
What Else is New for 2004-2005:
- Improved Alpine Park and Additional Trail Widenings – approximately 1 acre of additional terrain will be added this season with trail work completed on Look Mom, Lower Hitchcock, Smith Walton, 10th Mountain and Lower Balance Rock trails. The new work on Look Mom will allow for improvements to the existing Alpine Park with additional space for new park features.
- East Coast Invitational Rail Jam – Plans are underway for Wachusett’s biggest snowboard event ever – the East Coast Invitational Rail Jam is scheduled for Saturday, December 18 and will feature a total purse of $10,000. For details, go to www.wachusett.com.
- Century Pass Sweepstakes – Century Pass holders have a chance to win additional prizes, upgrades and bonuses with this new sweepstakes featured on www.wachusett.com
- Super Century Pass – A new version of Wachusett’s popular Century Pass that includes weekends before December 24 and after March 6.
- Passport Plus – A new version of Wachusett’s popular Passport discount card that allows card holders to receive a free lift ticket on every 5th visit.