LUDLOW, Vermont — The highly anticipated moment arrived at 4 a.m. on Friday morning. With the system charged, snowmaking guns poised and staff at the ready, the call to start making snow at Okemo Mountain Resort went out during the pre-dawn hours of November 2. Cool temperatures have allowed snowmaking efforts to commence in preparation for opening day of the 2007-2008 skiing and snowboarding season slated for Saturday, November 17.
“We’re taking advantage of temperatures as much as possible,” says Okemo Vice President of Mountain Operations Barry Tucker. “The snow depths are building in front of the guns and we’re going to keep making snow whenever we can.”
Preliminary efforts are focused on the Buckhorn trail and around the summit of the Glades Peak Quad chairlift. Snowmaking will continue on the upper mountain trails at Okemo and will extend toward the lower elevations as temperatures allow.
Okemo covers 97 percent of its terrain with snowmaking and this year the emphasis is on making snow more efficiently and exploring viable ways to make snow at closer-to-freezing temperatures, allowing the resort to open more lower-elevation terrain earlier in the season. Thirty new HKD tower guns, designed to project snow with pinpoint accuracy are being installed in areas like narrow slopes and ski home access trails requiring focused, directional throw. Okemo will also be testing a variety of new snowmaking guns on its Open Slope, just above the Clock Tower base area. Skiers and snowboarders will be able to sample the snow from guns with four different configurations produced by Snow Economics. Featuring adjustable water flow levers, nozzle versatility and new valving technology, 15 of the high-tech HKD snowguns will be added to the arsenal as demos so that Okemo’s top-rated snowmaking team will have a chance to thoroughly test the newest technology, providing feedback to further develop this specialized snowmaking equipment.
New skiers are in for an added treat during the early part of the season at Okemo this year. First-time or beginner skiers and snowboarders visiting Okemo Mountain Resort early in the season are welcome to take part in a complimentary beginner program to learn to ski or snowboard at no cost ??вЂњ free! This unique offer is designed to generate excitement for snow sports and encourage beginners to broaden their experience at the start of the winter season. Okemo’s beginner package includes a combination lower-mountain lift ticket, a level 1 or 2 beginner group lesson at 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. and introductory level rental equipment (skis, boots, poles, or boots and snowboard). This program is available for ages 7 and up at no charge every day, Monday, Nov. 26 through Friday, Dec. 21, 2007. Beginners should arrive at the Okemo Express Rental Shop located in the Okemo Clock Tower base area about an hour before lesson time to register and be fitted for equipment. As an added bonus, participants also qualify for a free First Tracks Plus card entitling them to continued discounts and benefits all season long on group lessons, lift tickets and rental equipment.
For more information please call (802) 228-1600 or visit www.okemo.com.