STRATTON MOUNTAIN, VT- Stratton Mountain is investing $6.9 million for the 2023/2024 season, enhancing multiple facets of the guest and employee experience beginning in the base area with RFID lift gates and a reimagined Beginner Area.
Stratton Mountain will be adding RFID gates to ease access to all major lift terminals. Stratton Mountain Season Passes, Day Tickets, and Ikon Passes will work with these RFID gates at all main base area lifts and carpets as well as Sunrise Express and Snow Bowl Express.
Groundwork has started on a reimagined Learning Zone as part of the Stratton Mountain Sports School’s commitment to the learning process and getting new skiers and riders on snow. Three new covered surface lifts (carpets) will be added to the Learning Zone, bringing the total to five surface lifts in the main base area. Along with the addition of three new covered surface lifts, slopes within the Learning Zone will be regraded giving new levels of tiered progression for new skiers and snowboarders to start, learn, progress, and graduate from. This promises a commitment to new skiers and riders to grow their skill set allow them to take their skiing and riding to the highest peak in southern Vermont and beyond. The current Cub Carpet slope, Village Walk, sits at a 14% grade. Staged learning will be the ultimate focus with a regrade on existing Learning Zone trails to add 9% and 11% graded slopes for a direct path to progression. A 160’ covered surface lift will be placed just in front of the Junior Mountain Sports School building to allow quicker and easier access to snow, making the Learning Zone area require less steps and more riding time.
“The intention of the learning area project is to enhance the experience for new skiers & riders by removing some of the obstacles that often are difficult for those entering the sport. The regrading of the terrain, as well as the expansion of amount of accessible terrain available in the base area will allow skiers and riders to spread out and focus on developing the skills needed to continue to learn and progress, in a more comfortable environment.” – Devon Cavagnino, Director of Skier & Rider Services
The Northeast region saw increases in season-over-season skier visits. The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) annual report indicates record visitation at U.S. ski areas for the 22-23 season. A total of 64.7 million skier visits, a 6.6% increase over the previous season, took place in the US last season. A skier visit is recorded every time an individual uses a lift ticket or pass at a ski area. With this growth in the industry, paired with a record breaking number of registrants in Stratton’s youngest Seasonal Program, Cub Club, comes the desire to keep new skiers and riders coming to the mountain where they can learn in a welcoming environment and progress their skillset.
Stratton is investing in HKD’s KLIK Manual hydrant technology, an add on to existing HKD tower guns. Taken from HKD’s website “The HKD KLIK manual hydrant is a game changer for snowmakers. In a 12-hour snowmaking window, HKD KLIK manual hydrants can boost snowmaking production by as much as 100%, when compared to using traditional hydrants and hoses. This significant improvement is achieved by eliminating the time-consuming step of hooking up, and unhooking, air and water hoses at each hydrant. Start time per gun can be as quick as 1 Minute instead of 5 to 10 min.”
“We will be investing in HKD KLIK hydrant technology on a number of our main slopes to increase early season snowmaking efficiency on favorite trails, reduce energy consumption, further snowmaker safety and allow for quicker startups and shutdowns of our system to produce snow during short but critical windows.” – Kevin Booth, Senior Mountain Operations Manager.
Take a spin through the new Stratton Parks locations for winter 23/24. The main terrain parks will be located on Betwixt, Beeline, East Byrnes Side and Tyrolienne. These parks will range from an extra small progression park on Tyrolienne, to the medium/large park on East Byrnes Side, complete with a halfpipe. Big Ben will take on a new look as the mountain’s designated boardercross trail.
The newly constructed Coca-Cola Snack Shack will make its debut this winter at the base of the Tube Park, serving pizza, pretzels, snacks, and of course, Coca-Cola refreshments out of the Sun Bowl. The Snack Shack will enhance options and experiences for tube riders, parents, skiers, snowboarders, and those wanting to trek over from the Nordic Center. The Coca-Cola Tube Park will also receive a covered surface lift to increase uphill rider capacity and add additional tubing lanes for more friends in the lanes, allowing for more runs, and more laughs with each session.
Happenings at the Nordic Center include Nordic Learn to Ski programs for kids ages 5-17. These programs will be taught by PSIA Nordic certified coaches. Following Stratton’s Seasonal Program schedule, these will be season long programs with the option of offering full and half-day instructions. The Nordic program will also be hosting a race in conjunction with Stratton Mountain School for participants to get an introduction into Nordic competition.
A new Prinoth Bison X is being added to Stratton’s grooming fleet to lay down the best lines in southern Vermont. “This versatile all-rounder is a customer favorite for a reason. The working compact footprint provides optimal maneuverability, and the Caterpillar C9.3 engine gives the BISON the power to shape slopes, snow parks, fun slopes, or even cross-country courses.” – Prinoth.com.
Stop by the Sun Bowl to take advantage of the new Wintersteiger ski and snowboard tuning machine, which will be added in the Sun Bowl Rental Shop to maximize performance of Stratton’s rental equipment, and for quick tunes for anyone who wants to get light services like a timely hot wax, or an edge sharpen before beginning the day.
A new rock-climbing gym – CLIMB • Stratton Rocks and Boulders – is under construction in the Village with plans to be finished for summer 2023. CLIMB features multiple auto belays, so climbers can experience rock climbing for the first time or improve their skills on their own time with solo climbs, and bouldering walls to work on technical skills while remaining low to the ground. Climbing sessions will be available online through stratton.com. CLIMB will be open both for winter and summer activity in the Village.
The Stratton Training and Fitness Center (STFC) is serving up fresh upgrades to the outdoor tennis and new pickleball courts. The STFC is repairing, resurfacing, painting & re-fencing four courts to have dual painted lines put down and serve as multiuse pickleball and tennis courts. The same process of repairing, resurfacing, painting & re-fencing is being completed on another four outdoor courts to become designated pickleball only courts. Once the project is complete, the STFC will lead the way in quantity of outdoor pickleball courts at a single resort in the state of Vermont. The STFC will also undergo the removal of a few unused tennis courts & fences to return them to grass fields for soccer, summer camps and other recreation. The final stage is the implementation of drainage, landscaping & new pathways between the courts.
Now in its fifth season, the Stratton Bike Park has grown to 16 downhill trails, with a new multi-directional trail, Bear’s Den, to be completed for summer 2023. Continued planning and permitting for mountain bike trails in the Stratton Bike Park moves forward as preparation begins for the next expansion project.
UTV Tours kick off summer 2023 with a fleet of 5 side-by-side UTVs (Utility Terrain Vehicles) being purchased for summer mountain tours. Six new snowmobiles will be on mountain this year with our Lift Maintenance and Ski Patrol teams. Three new passenger busses join the fleet of on-resort shuttles. Continued paving on the access road for summer 2023 patches last season’s work closer to the main lot and Village.
Satisfy your tastebuds with a new smoker at Mid-Mountain Lodge or start your day with the new espresso machine at Mugs. Several restroom upgrades are being completed in the Sun Bowl Base Lodge and Mid-Mountain Lodge. Stratton’s Fresh Tracks Sustainability program is implementing LED lighting around the resort to increase energy efficiency. Annual lift painting on Sunrise Express, Ursa and Shooting Star will leave these lifts primed and ready for winter.
Posted July 5, 2023 by Andrew Kimiecik
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