AlpineZone Challenge 2012 – Trista Chiarulli of Hunter 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. Trista Chiarulli, Marketing Manager at Hunter Mountain  in Hunter, New York, took the AlpineZone Ski Area Challenge and provided the following responses on 10/30/2012:

catskillman:  We had several facilities related questions. First, catskillman asks- are there any plans to something about the floor in Colonel’s Hall. Everyday (not kidding) I am in there I see at least 1 person fall in the doorway due to the floor being wet, and have done it myself. I have seen several people taken out of there in wheel chairs. This has been a problem for over 20 years.

catskillman  also asks about the seasonal lockers, noting the squatters are a problem. Looking for something “other” than the $1,000 seasonal locker room with controlled access.

Trista Chiarulli: Regarding the slippery floor, thank you for your feedback regarding this issue. I have personally sent this information over to our Building Operations Manager so that he may review the situation.

For the season lockers, we understand that some days during the year this may be an issue. We are looking into different options to digitally monitor the locker areas; however we also want to be sensitive to keeping the costs of the lockers reasonable for our guests.  In the meantime, the best option would be to notify guest services immediately if you happen to see someone who doesn’t belong in the area.

catskillman:also had several questions on season passholders and perks – Why do the big lift ticket purchasers get more benefits that Gold Pass Holders? Examples: there is no tubing for Gold Pass; this year Gold Pass does not recieve a free lesson; (taken away this year but the BLP has one). Also; the festival tickets were reduced this summer to 1 per festival. Can you explain these changes?

Also, will there still be free drinks at the annual passholder party?

Trista Chiarulli:Big Lift Card holders receive different benefits than our season passholders.  There are also benefits that season passholders receive the Big Lift Card holders do not.  The Big Lift Card is designed to introduce people to all of the products and services that Hunter Mountain has to offer.  Often times our Big Lift Card holders will then become season passholders in subsequent years.

We do offer many drink specials for the season passholder party attendees, and this year the passholder party was held on the same day as the Wine and Brew festival.  We offered half price admission to the festival to passholder’s as well as their guests, so I think that was something new that we did special for our passholder’s. People really seemed to enjoy and appreciate it.

catskillman:  I hear that they are currently filling the spot in with dirt from the snow tubing park, changing the layout and from the half pipe. They are removing the halfpipe!

Trista Chiarulli: The halfpipe has not been used for a number of years and when it was only a small amount of guests seemed to use it.  By removing the walls it will significantly improve grooming and snowmaking in the terrain park area thus providing a better park experience.  The dirt from the halfpipe walls has been moved and used for various improvements around the mountain.

millerm277:  Hunter always seems to be doing snowmaking improvements, is there anything in store for this year?

Trista Chiarulli: We continue to make improvements to snowmaking year after year.  We purchase new guns, replace lines and make sure that we maintain our existing systems so we can continue to stay on the cutting edge.  We also purchased a new grooming machine this year, a PistenBully 400, which allows us to continue to improve the quality of our snow surface.

millerm277:  The West Side Quad is a great change, but I have a “planned” map from when the KMC was under construction that also included new trails, are they still in the works at some point in the future, and if so can you give us any idea of when?

Trista Chiarulli: We added two new gladed trails this year, one called Which Way Glades, located on the West Side between Claire’s Way and Taylor’s Run.  The other is near the terrain park called Empire Glades.  These trails were named by our guests in a Facebook contest that we held pre-season.  We are always looking to expand our trail systems and will continue to do so.  I’d like to see this planned map.  You should pop in the marketing office this season for a visit and bring it with you!

catskillman adds; is there anything that can be done to improve the safety hazard at the merge for the quad? Last season Anapurna and Westway weren’t open at all. Did they remove the entire lift tower, or leave the cement base?

Trista Chiarulli: We have added fill to assist with the approach to the Zephyr Express.  We did remove the entire Z-lift including the towers.  This will be the first time since the 70’s that Claire’s Way will ski without towers!

Unfortunately, we were unable to open Annapurna and Westway last season due to the lack of natural snow.  Although we have snowmaking on those trails, we do need a bit of a base of natural snow to get them going because of how steep and wide they are.  It is very difficult to get them open with man-made snow alone.  I have high hopes for this season.  We shall see soon enough.

RichT:  Regarding the six pack. The chair is to low or the new wooden floor is to high, always getting the back of my calf’s pinched between top of boot and the bottom of chair. The wooden floor stops to soon when you are loading, should be about a foot longer. Is there anything that can be done about this?

Trista Chiarulli: I have communicated this information to our Lift Manager, and as a matter of fact, I saw her doing some work on the Flyer platforms the other day so this may already be taken care of.  Please continue to provide feedback as it is always welcome.

RichT:  speaking of the quad, did they do something about the UPHILL trek to get to it at the bottom?

Trista Chiarulli: Yes, we did add fill to assist with the approach of the Zephyr Express.

scotty:  We had several questions about handling peak times. First, there was a question on cashier and speed of checkout in the cafeteria. JimmyPete follows on by asking about Hunter on the weekends, stating:

I need an honest answer re Hunter on the weekends. Some friends want me to go in on a Winter rental.

I ski Hunter on 3-4 weekdays a year and really like it. It is only two hours from my home, but I have bad memories of weekends in the 90’s and stopped going on weekends. I am a decent skier but getting too old for bumps [especially icy bumps] and crowded slopes.

What do you guys do to handle weekend conditions and congestion? Any insider tips?

Trista Chiarulli: Midweek days will always be less crowded than weekends; however we have made many improvements including the high-speed six-passenger detachable Kaatskill Flyer chairlift (the only one in New York State) on the front face of the mountain, and the high speed Zephyr Express quad on Hunter West, that have greatly helped with the lift lines on the weekends.

In terms of an insider tip, on the busier days and holidays I myself will sometimes ride from summit to mid-station and stay up  on the top half and over on the West Side.

JimmyPete: Are there any plans on refurbishing the entire summit lodge. It has a great structure to start with, just seriously needs to be updated. Any information you could shed or your thoughts are appreciated!

Trista Chiarulli: We do not have anything official planned at this time, but that doesn’t mean that it couldn’t happen at some point soon.  We will have to wait and see, but as of right now I do not have any news to report on this.

Oakapple: Several questions on expansion and on-slope upgrades: first, Oakapple asks: Does Hunter Mountain have plans to add any new trails or terrain?

Trista Chiarulli: We added two new gladed trails this year, one called Which Way Glades, located on the West Side between Claire’s Way and Taylor’s Run. The other is near the terrain park called Empire Glades.  These trails were named by our guests in a Facebook contest that we held pre-season.  We are always looking to expand our trail systems and will continue to do so.

Nick adds; what do you see the next few years at Hunter looking like in terms of growth / expansion?

Trista Chiarulli: As I have mentioned, we are always continuing to explore avenues of adding trails.  With the growth of freestyle skiing and riding I would like to see the terrain park continue to improve, as well as staying on-top of our snowmaking to make sure we can always maintain some of the greatest conditions in the East coast.

nycskier: I have to give you guys credit you do run AMAZING demo days. I love that you get different ski companies in at the same time to Demo their gear.

Only I never seem to know when your big Demo days are! Twice I just happened to be at Hunter by random chance when you had the Demo Days. I would love to know when the Demo Days are coming so I can make sure to make it out.

Is there any way you can promote your Demo Days better? Put it on your big calander or email Big Lift Card holders and other people on your mailing list about it?

Trista Chiarulli: Consumer Demo day is almost always the second Saturday and Sunday in December. This year it will be the 8th and 9th.  You can always check the Calendar of Events on our website for up to date information on the events we have going on.

We do have our Demo Day listed on our Calendar of Events at I will also send out a reminder in the weekly eNewsletter.  If you haven’t already subscribed you can do so at and stay up-to-date on all that is going on at the mountain.

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