Stratton, which was purchased last season by a group of investors, is getting some big upgrades. A new Snow Bowl lift that’s three times faster, lift-served mountain biking and more are in the works. “This is just Phase One,” says Myra Foster, the senior manager of marketing and communications for the resort. In other words, there’s more to come.
Now part of Alterra’s Ikon Pass, Stratton is poised to draw even more skiers and summer visitors. Already, its summer concert series has expanded and it is looking at hosting SolarFest this August, an event that is tied to Alterra’s mission of environmental responsibility.
Here’s what was released this week:
New Snow Bowl Lift, Mountain Bike Park Featured
Capital projects totaling $10 million will enhance the Stratton experience throughout the year, with a new high-speed Snow Bowl lift topping the list of investments for 2018-19. Now part of the Alterra Mountain Company family, Stratton skiers will enjoy the ride on a new Doppelmayr lift designed and situated to minimize the impact of wind and weather while providing easier access to beginner terrain from the summit of southern Vermont’s highest peak as well as to signature trails including the double-black diamond World Cup, which hosted Vermont’s first ever World Cup races in 1978.
With today’s announcement, Alterra Mountain Company, created in 2017 and comprising 12 mountain destinations spread throughout five states and three Canadian provinces, reinforces its commitment to growth and investment in its family of destinations, including Stratton, by announcing significant capital improvements at each. The investment plan totals more than half a billion dollars over the next five years, spending approximately $110 million per year.
Plans for each destination were based on current needs and input from guests that will enhance the on-site experiences, while retaining each mountain’s authentic character.
“A new Snow Bowl lift topped our priority list,” said Stratton President and COO Bill Nupp. “Guests were clear on that. This high-speed chairlift will enhance flow, access and reliability. We expect to dismantle the 31-year-old fixed-grip quad it replaces and fly out the towers as soon as the season wraps up, with the new lift ready for the 2018-19 season, pending final permit approval.”
Working with Ecosign, a world leader in creative design solutions for mountain resorts, the high-speed quad chairlift is positioned to minimize the impact of wind, with lower towers that hug the tree line on skiers’ left, and built with a parking rail for all 98 chairs to combat overnight icing.
Ride time is reduced from 14 to five minutes, providing access to a variety of terrain for beginner to expert including favorites like Drifter, Spruce and the Meadows. In addition, the new lift shacks will be crafted locally of wood for a classic Vermont vibe.
Work on the yet-to-be-named lift will pause from May 15-August 1, as the rare Bicknell’s thrush songbird is nesting above 3,000 feet, about at the level of the Interstate trail, where the Boreal forest begins. Despite the intermission, which has been the standard practice in all recent lift installations, Stratton’s newest high-speed lift should be ready to ride for the 2018-19 season.
“Each aspect of our business plays a part in the guest experience that brings them back year after year, from a welcoming base area to an efficient ski school to exceptional services,” said Rusty Gregory, Chief Executive Officer, Alterra Mountain Company. “It is our commitment to invest in each of our destinations in order to grow the sport, inspire loyal guests and instill a love of the mountains in all who visit. We do that through thoughtful and innovative capital investments that improve a guest’s experience, while we continue to support and preserve the character and traditions of each destination.”
The $555 million budgeted improvements will be invested broadly to elevate the guest experience and introduce innovation and technology through new chairlifts and gondolas, snowmaking, food & beverage offerings, base areas development and access, and new adventurous summer experiences.
The latest round of capital investment for Stratton also includes a new grooming machine, a remodel of the Green Mountain Room for weddings and events, plus phase one of a mountain bike center, served by the American Express six-passenger lift to mid-mountain. “We presented homeowners and loyal guests with a list of options for summer activities and mountain biking came in at No. 1,” Nupp added.
Focusing first on family- friendly terrain, the new mountain bike park could open as soon as fall 2018 with 4.6 miles of beginner, intermediate and progression trails. Vermont based Sinuosity has designed the layout implementing techniques to minimize the environmental impact and create trail longevity.
Mountain biking joins a line-up of summer activities that includes golf on a 27-hole championship course, Cliff Drysdale Tennis on New England’s only authentic red clay courts, hiking sections of the Long and Appalachian Trails, kayak tours, Kids Adventure Kamp and a series of events and live music with complete information available at stratton.com.
Photo: Hubert Schriebl/Stratton