Stratton invests $6 million in the mountain and resort experience for 2013-14.

By Rob Chrostowski

Reap the rewards of summer projects that focus on enhancing the entire resort experience including snowmaking, lodging, on-mountain dining and Village food, drink and fun.

Glades and trails.  Thirty more acres of glades bringing the total tree skiing and riding (considered by many to be among the best in the East – especially Test Pilot) to 135 acres.  Sunbeam trail is stumped and ready to open with the first good snowfall, additional trail enhancements focus on Black Bear, Sunriser Supertrail, Runaway and Grizzly Access.

Three new snow cats. Corduroy is always in style.

1,500 horsepower electric snowmaking air compressor replaces a diesel model. Purchased in consultation with Efficiency Vermont, the new compressor delivers more cubic feet of air per minute using less, and cleaner,  energy.  With 95 percent snowmaking coverage, 270 million gallons of water in reserve and one of the most powerful systems anywhere, Stratton is known for snow so great it is guaranteed – every day of  the season and any time of the day.

Inn at Stratton Mountain takes on a new look and feel with a total room remodel combining comfort  and  convenience with that classic Vermont lodge vibe.  The Inn continues to offer value in a resort property that’s a short shuttle to the slopes. Guests enjoy hot tub and sauna, complimentary breakfast and Bentley’s Restaurant which also has a new chef and fresh new menu with comfort classics and a French Moroccan flavor – try the lamb burger. The Inn is also home to the Living Room yoga studio.

The Living Room,  a new yoga studio with wood floors, wood-burning fireplace and big windows looking out onto the lawn.  Stratton offers more than 20 yoga classes each week plus special events held in conjunction with the team from Wanderlust, the yoga and music festival that makes Stratton  home each June.  Health and wellness. Real world workouts. It’s all part of an invitation to Be. Active. Adventurous. Relaxed. Inspired. Together.

Investment in on-mountain dining experience with a focus on mid-mountain lodge – a popular gathering place that looks out onto the North American trail and offers quick access to the Ursa Express upper mountain six-passsenger lift.  Kelly McNabb, a classically trained chef who honed her skills in France and Switzerland , takes the helm and designs new menus  with an eye on fresh, local,  healthy fare served up fast to fuel the ski day.

The Mill House on the Commons. Stop in for a cup of the world’s best hot chocolate– Laura Cianci’s secret recipe – espresso, coffee drinks, pastry, salad or sandwich. Pull up a chair in front of the woodstove and watch the skaters glide by along the Mill Pond.

Slopeside Stratton Village offers new dining and shopping experiences. The Firetower Tavern is built with locally milled post and beam timber and Eastern white pine shiplab to set the stage for a Vermont artisan inspired menu, craft beers, signature spirits, comfort dishes, rustica pizza and a lively après scene in the tavern. New deli and grocer follows the post and beam theme with Vermont Fresh sandwiches and salads along with the best in local food purveyors.  First Run ski shop and the Boot Lab also take on a new look and add the Go Pro lounge – one of four to be found in Village shops.

Rentals, new gear and an expanded junior line in the Head fleet. Slopeside convenience, fast service, free overnight storage and a satisfaction guarantee.

42 thoughts on “Stratton invests $6 million in the mountain and resort experience for 2013-14.

  1. How about some lift upgrades? Or at the very least a place to put your skis on the outside of the Gondola so when you are packed in like sardines you don’t have to hold your skis and boards. Let’s try catering to the people who are actually at the mountain to ski!

    1. Kyle,

      The gondola is definitely in our sights, and your suggestion is spot on. Stay tuned for details. This summer’s investment did include $750,000 for a new gondola gear box, custom built in Austria and now on site for installation. We know it’s not as splashy as new cabins (hint).

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate the feedback.

  2. how about a new 4 passenger lift in the snow ball so those of us who enjoy that area can ski it all the time without going to the gondola or urea and wait in crazy lines.

  3. Spend some money keeping the existing lifts running late in the season? Was skiing April 6th and there was great snow all over the mountain but only three out of the nine lifts were running. Kinda boring having to ski the same five center mountain trails.

  4. I concur with Ted – it’s not rocket science! You need a HSQuad in Snowbowl and Kidderbrook – this will disperse the crowds and make the place skiable on the weekends. Skiing the 5 core trails on the front side is akin to rollerblading in the mall! You have the mountain, it’s a gift – just utilize it better!

    Don’t forget, your customer has options, and they may not even be on the East Coast.

  5. To follow up with Brian & Ted’s comments – i’d be happier if the Snowbowl chair merely ran regularly. Inexplicably, several Sundays last season when I looked forward to concentrate on Snowbowl that darn chair wasn’t running. After St. Patrick’s Day, I looked forward to enjoying Spring Skiing and hanging out at mid mountain lodge jamming to tunes on the deck…On April 6th (mountain was open until April 14th), the main attraction was the pond skim at the base (which was really cold this year, it was only about 30 degrees that day), and the mid mountain lodge was completely closed. And never mind trying to go to the Sunbowl that are was completely closed,not just the lodge. If someone who normally skis Okemo or Bromley or Snow were to have come to Stratton that weekend they wouldn’t have departed jealous for the experience. Same as if I who have a stratton pass were to go pay $85 to spend a day late season at another resort, i’d expect that resort to be fully operational if the snow was there. Whenever I mentioned this to anyone they’d say all the workers went back to school in south america, but i respectfully say that is not my problem. it would be nice if the mountain can be staffed to maintain the experience when the student workers have to return to classes.

  6. These are all great points. I ski a lot during the spring and stopped coming to stratton for late season turns this year and drove an hour further to killington because it was cheaper and they had way more terrain open. The most frustrating thing was coming not being able to ski the sunbowl at all when there was still plenty of great snow everywhere. One of the days I went only amex and ursa were open but the snow was plentiful everywhere… really left a bad taste in my mouth that there was no way to access the great terrain in the snow bowl because you guys were cutting costs… I was very disappointed and really hope this doesn’t happen again this year because ursa is pretty short and lapping it became old fast… Do a better job staffing or keeping the lifts going or whatever but I will definitely not come back in the spring if only ursa and amex are running!

    1. would be nice if Stratton Mountain would respond to these loyal customer comments. I know they must be monitoring this chat because I just was notified this morning of Will’s comment – five days ago – it was being reviewed all that time? I own a condo there and I’m a captive skiier and I support all the lifestyle improvements to the base experience – but the main reason I’m there is to ski. – it would be nice to see a response by stratton that they are hearing these complaints. It’s simple really, if you have 9 lifts, run the 9 lifts from 8:30 am to 4pm every day you are open.

      1. Great feedback regarding the Snow Bowl lift and why that lift rarely runs. The Snow Bowl lift is exposed to the strong North Westerly flow we receive during the winter months. It’s an older lift and not designed well to handle strong winds. As a result, we mainly rely on it to help increase uphill capacity during weekends and busy periods. The great news is that a replacement high speed quad is on the horizon! No promise on construction dates; however, we have surveyed and engineered the site this summer. Next step, financing, and that is also underway! Fingers crossed? The new design will be a huge improvement, moving many towers off the trail and keeping chairs lower to the ground reducing wind closures.

        Thanks again, keep the feedback coming!

    1. Since you speak about wind being an issue, and may want to consider a six-pack. I remember chatting with a Ragged Mt. rep at a ski show. A six-pack was “only” $60k more than a high speed quad and it was worth the publicity. I’m not thinking of the publicity, I’m thinking of the heavy chairs that are more wind resistant. Plus since you have four six-packs you can have the same set of parts.

      1. Not the same parte as the lifts like ursa were made by ctec ant the new one would be made by doppelmyer or lritner poma

  7. Truly a great place to be. I’m also a property owner and my wish is that activities during the summer becomes a priority. It would be nice to have more of a reason to visit during the summer and it would be nice if there was more of a demand for renters during that period. Would be great for property values.

  8. Can you do a time lapse of the gondola cabin replacement and if romors are true a video or post on any new lifts? I love Stratton. Ive been skiing there for my entire life, but i can’t be up in VT, (i wish i could) for the entire time.

    1. Chris, you read our mind. There’s a time lapse in the works for the gondola cabin replacement. Even though you can’t be with us, you’ll be able to see all the action!

  9. stratton when can i see the timelapse of the cabin replacement. is it ready yet?

    1. Here we go again. All talk no action about a new chair in the snow bowl area. THE SNOW BOWL IS ONE OF THE BEST AREAS AT STRATTON when are you people going to wake up and see that. Soon you are going to piss a lot of customers off with that chair always going down on a busy day. Maybe if we all started to boycott the mountain just like they did Killington the owners would appreciate us paying customers a little more and fix a slow dying chair that many of like.

    2. The gondola cabins aren’t coming all at once, so the process of their delivery and installation will take a few weeks. We are working on a timelapse that covers the entire process, so it may take a while! In the meantime, we have set up a webcam in the gondola loading area that will capture the action in real time.
      There isn’t too much activity at the moment as we’re focusing our efforts on unpacking the cabins safely in the parking lot, but within the next week the cable replacement will begin.

  10. Love dat new gondola webcam!

    @JackQuin the cabins are coming tomorrow! They will be up by end of August.

    Are the gondola grips going to be the same from the old one.

    -Chris W.

  11. You can put the chair lower and closer to the tree line and as the chair reaches the top a good wind fence would help on those windy days. We all know that excess wind will close the chair and we accept that.
    You also need to fix the wind fence on top by the gondola so that lift runs on windy days.

    1. You are absolutely right, the Snow Bowl has some of the best terrain on the mountain. A new “Snow Bowl” lift is in the permitting stage and highest on our lift priority list now that new gondola cabins (cable and gearbox) are here. Check out the highpoints of this summer’s mountain investment and stay tuned for updates as winter nears.

      We’re excited for the changes you’ll enjoy this season, and already planning the next stage. As a loyal Stratton skier, you can be sure that you’ll be first to hear about new projects!

    Just noticed that okemo is replacing their Northstar HSQ, and replacing it with a 6-Pack bubble chair. Maybe you can make a deal with them and get the NorthStar and use it to replace the SnowBowl. You sold the Kidderbrook quad and another mountain brought it and they used it. I think you would only need to clear some land and get new rope.

    1. Never mind, they are selling it to a New Hampshire mountain, to replace a lift called Sun Bowl………

  13. Is the snowbowl project getting anywhere? SnowBowl is the best part of the mountain! There is only one way to lap it without going to the bottom so I think a hss is worth the extra money as there is more wind tolerance and greater capicity.

  14. Would it be better if you just made sunrisenexpress a base to summit lift with midstation and the Shooting stat in kidderbrook with HSS in sunbowl?

    1. If the investors of Stratton came one weekend and saw the long lines in the snow bowl maybe they would realize just how many of us do enjoy that part of the mountain without going to the bottom or Ursa and start to think about the customers who line their pockets every year and give us a little in return. The ticket price is getting steeper than the terrain if you want us to keep coming back you should consider our thoughts.
      Thank you for all the new improvements for the 2014 / 2015 season

  15. As a Stratton loyalist for more than a decade (and Stratton Mountain School parent), its becoming harder and harder to come to the mountain lately. While I’m amazed at how well the mountain is run, and how consistently excellent the whole operation is, it’s become too much. Stratton is the finest resort in southern Vermont, and this may be its slow undoing….

    The weekends are now so crowded its dangerous on the trails. The foodservice “upgrades” are attrocious, Sun Bowl lodge is now completely inedible, and it will no longer be our quiet base at the mountain, as there is NO food to eat there that is edible.. Mexican, really? (I happen to love mexican food) At a ski mountain remote lodge? I watch the customers go in and look at the menu and so many just walk out scratching their heads. The new foodservice manager should be very fired, as the changes (upgrades) are a gargantuan miscalculation of what makes sense at such a crowded mountain.

    The weekend liftlines have become so painfully long that if you’re lucky, you can get in 4-5 full mountain runs in the morning. Even though I’ve been a passholder for more than a decade, at 100 bucks for a ticket, thats terrible. The good news is that the lifts do seem more reliable this season at least, and while the new cabs on the gondola are nice, I still won’t ride it because the lines are so crazy. The lodges are overcrowded as well. Even my older children, who pretty much grew up at Stratton don’t want to go to the mountain anymore on the weekends.

    While it pains me to have anything negative to say about such a well run operation, I think some of the investments in the mountain have been a little misguided. Deploying capital to fix a non broken foodservice, while not completing 2 Sunbowl trails cut several years ago makes no sense. People come to the mountain to ski, eating is something they do as a necessity. Overselling the mountain, having busloads of people brought in every weekend day, while not upgrading core lift infrastructure makes no sense either. Snowbowl desperately needs to be replaced, and Kidderbrook needs lift service as well.

    The whole purpose of coming to a ski “resort” is to ski. And while the tertiary components are terrific (the village, the housing, etc), the primary components are becoming broken and nominally unusable. Its a shame

  16. Couldn’t agree with you more Dan! My family has been homeowners in Stratton for over 25 years and still love coming to the mountain, although its become more and more frustrating to do so lately. The lift lines are incredibly long at the bottom of the mountain every weekend and it’s beyond us why the snow bowl lift replacement hasn’t yet happened. Don’t even mention the ill-fated food service “upgrades”. No idea why someone would say “we’re only going to serve Mexican food here” at a mountain base lodge as you’ve noted. Perhaps two more critical questions: first, why is Stratton still using people to scan skiers’ tickets rather than using RFID card technology with gates like Stowe, Jay Peak, and other areas? It’s a colossal waste of time and something that could easily improve delays accessing lifts. Talk about a dinosaur! Second, why doesn’t the mountain run the South American lift during peak periods (every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday)? It’s use has been sporadic at best, and if put into action along with a new snow bowl lift, it would easily solve the problem of overcrowding at the main base area. Stratton operations has assured us in the past that there are no restrictions placed on them in terms of max lift capacity so why not keep your clients more satisfied and give them a reason to return by allowing them to ski more. It’s a great mountain, but lately has us feeling like looking elsewhere.

  17. And not to mention,,,, Why the do you even bother having the Solstice lift it it only runs once a year? Move it to somewhere that it can be used. Such up the line of the good old North American chair..

    1. I agree with you, but the Sunrise Express chair is just as busy as the AMEX and URSA chairs. What we need is operation of the Solstice and South American chairs every Friday through Monday in January, Febuary, and early March. Stratton should sell the existing Snow Bowl chair, and replace it with an express quad. Then they should buy two more quad or triple chairs, one for the North American trail and one for the Upper Kidderbrook trail. Then Stratton’s lift system is complete. People going up Amex can then go to the Snowbowl, people on the South American chair can go to the North American chair, people on Sunrise Express can go to Shooting Star, the (few) people who go on Tamerack can go to URSA, and Kidderbrook can be used to offset lines in the Sun Bowl. It’s not rocket science, but just a bit of cash (may I mention that this 8 million dollar base lodge project could pay for 2 fixed chairlifts). We come to Stratton to ski, not to wait on lift lines.

  18. 1. When is snowbowl replacement coming?
    2. New/used?
    3. HSS/HSQ?
    4. Are you guys going to sell old snowbowl inmediately, or keep it running by side of the replacement as backup on crowded days like bromley did?

  19. OK 2016 season is almost over and yes the mountain has done the best with what was available from above. The lines have been terrible and the waiting for a high speed snowbowl lift is getting comical. Please get it done ASAP. It will truly change the mountain dynamics. By the way the new mid-mountain coffee set up is horribly inefficient. Please reexamine. 25 years and counting but the snowbowl lift needs to be replaced.

  20. The base of Shooting Star should have been put at the bottom of Free Fall. Then you can cut a small trail to skiers left at bottom of Kidderbrook through Vertigo to Free Fall. That would open up all of Kidderbrook area without have to go to Sun Bowl base and without having to add another lift.

    1. Ravine would be lappable… that would be awesome!

      Never too late for a relocation… 😀

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