AlpineZone Challenge 2005 – Sally Johnstone of Jiminy Peak

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. Sally JohnstoneDirector of Sales and Marketing at Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort in Hancock, Massachusetts, took the AlpineZone Ski Area Challenge and provided the following responses on 6/12/2005:

Greg: What feedback have you received on the new Outback summit trail? The trail is rather flat, so much so that unless you’re barreling down it off the summit you can’t maintain any momentum to reach West Way. My understanding is the goal for the summit trails was to relieve some overcrowding on Left Bank and West Way, but I feel the grade of Outback is prohibitive in that many folks will opt not to take it after they try it once. The trail starts off with a nice pitch and even a nice turn, but then it dies. I’ve even seen some snowboarders have to unstrap and walk to West Way. Round-a-bout on the other hand is a nice natural trail with a much better pitch. It’s a great way to reach the Widow White’s peak and trails like Cutter from the Berkshire Express.

What feedback did you receive regarding the clearing of the former Riptide/Willie’s Gulch glade in favor of a groomed intermediate run with snowmaking? Is Jiminy management happy with this decision overall? Are there any plans to offer any new gladed areas to replace these?

Sally Johnstone: When I came back from maternity leave at the end of January, one of the first things I did was strap on my board and head to the summit so that I could check out the new trails that we had been promoting. Imagine my surprise when Outback, which started out just fine, turned into an uphill slog that I had to remove my board to walk. What had happened to that trail? When I hiked it 7 months pregnant, it definitely had a pitch. It was a combination of snowmaking (much more happens on West Way, which builds up that end) and grooming. This summer we are grading the trail some more, and we will keep on the groomers to keep the pitch going DOWNHILL next winter. Sorry about that everyone.

Personally, I was bummed. Those were nice glades. However, for the majority of Jiminy Peak’s skiers/riders, it was the right move. People really like those trails now, and it removes some of the traffic from West Way/Grand Slam. I am personally advocating more glades, but it may take a few years of me nagging to get them (it took four years of constant nagging to get the dedicated bumps on Cutter!).

highpeaksdrifter: Any chance of more lighted trails in the near future?

Sally Johnstone: Maybe Riptide and Willies year after next.

Sparky: Any chance of improving the lighting on trails that are currently light? There are places on West Way and the Shoot as well as Left bank that appear to have had lighting, but did not for all of last season.

Sally Johnstone: We are always working on the lighting – if you notice that lights are out, please notify a Mountain Ambassador or Ski Patrol. They’ll let Mountain Ops know so that it can be fixed.

Greg: I was pleased to see Cutter set up as a bump run this season. What feedback did you receive on that decision? I did not get the chance to ski the bump run on Grand Slam. Did you carry out the plan to create manmade bumps there? Will you be expanding your mogul run offerings next season?
Sally Johnstone: Feedback was great on Cutter. People were very pleased to have a dedicated bump run. The machine made bumps on Grand Slam were very nice when we had them in the middle and end of the season. No plans right now to dedicate more terrain to bumps, but you never know.

Sparky: With the new terrain park, on what was the Ace of Spades, there seems to much more use of the Riblet. Do you have any plans of replacing this old lift? By the way, the new location of the terrain park is great. It keeps the park rats out of the main stream.

Sally Johnstone: No plans to replace the Riblet right now – the next lift slated for upgrade would be the Triple, with a high speed lift, in a few years. Glad that you like the new location for the park.

Greg: With all the recent development of the Jiminy Peak base area, I’ve heard many refer to the resort as “Stratton South”. What is your opinion of this comment?

Sally Johnstone: I take it as a compliment, though you can be sure that our lift ticket will not go over $70 anytime in the near future. Stratton, like all of the Intrawest resorts, sets a benchmark for service and quality that any resort in this industry would be proud to be compared to. We had to develop more at the base area to accommodate the greater number of overnight visitors that we are seeing on weekends and holidays.

Sparky: I understand the land off of Widow White’s Peak is owned by a hunting club. Any chance of getting the use of some of that land for more trails?

Sally Johnstone: Not right now, though you never know.

Greg: Any plans to upgrade the summit triple in the near future? Are there any terrain expansion plans in place for the 2005-2006 season?

Sally Johnstone: No terrain expansion for coming season – we are finishing construction on J.J.s lodge and will have our hands full with that. We’ll see what Brian Fairbank dreams up for the 06_07 season!

Greg: I skied at Jiminy during the more weather-challenging months of December and January this season. Jericho seemed to be the best trail during each of my visits. The surface was always very well covered and a pleasure to ski. Have mountain operations been concentrating on Jericho more this season than in years past?

Sally Johnstone: We were making a real effort to top dress as many expert trails as possible all winter – happy you noticed.

Greg: An AlpineZone member noted that as of May 28, there was still a small patch of snow on Exhibition. Did Jiminy Peak blow more snow than usual this season, or was that remnant simply a result of a cooler spring?

Sally Johnstone: Cooler Spring. I bet if you hiked you could find a little snow up there in shady spots right now.

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