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Mountain Update

The inside scoop from Mountain Operations Director, Steve Crowley.

Stay tuned for a weekly message about the snow, the base, snowmaking and upcoming events, straight from the source, Holiday Valley Mountain Ops.

Inside Scoop from Mt. Ops Jan. 29

Steve Crowley - Thursday, January 29, 2015

January 29, 2015
“…We are the world, we are the children, We are the ones who make a brighter day, So let’s start  giving, There’s a choice we’re making, We’re saving our own lives, It’s true we’ll make a better day, Just you and me..”  (MJ ’85) 

Snow is falling tonight at Holiday Valley and the slopes are skiing/riding fine. The cross country trails are open and we’ll be operating the Sky Flyer Coaster and Tubing Park tonight through Sunday. The Tubing Park has 20 single lanes and 3 new family lanes for those who would like to hook their tubes together and ride as a group. The Li'l Tuber’s area is groomed and open, along with the ice rink available for skating (go look in the attic for those skates! and give it a try). Back here on the slopes we have moguls on Chute and Morning Star, a "Whale Watch" on the east side of Yodeler and fresh snow on Shadows to ski in along with Falcon. The Wall has been groomed this week and it's in good shape. The Boarder cross course on Moon Shadow will open to all guests  after the events there Saturday and Sunday.  We’ll see a  freestyle mogul event on Chute Saturday and on Sunday we’ll host a slopestyle competition on Foxfire. Slide on by and watch the young athletes compete.More details are available on our website. The Outpost, Riglet Park, and Terrain Garden located on the east side of School Haus are excellent skill development areas for freestyle/slopestyle skiing and riding.  Snowmaking is off again this weekend but they will be running again mid-week next week to build up the spring reserves. Spring? Where did that come from? The days are starting to get longer and truth be known we are on day 66 of the 2014-15 season and right about the mid point of our winter. The morning sunrises have been spectacular this week and there is nothing better than hitting Morning Star or Crosscut at first tracks. The Grooming Crew continues to plane and till our slopes into great corduroy each morning and the snow depth is consistent and wall to wall on most all our trails.  With the cold temps and natural snow in the immediate forecast glade skiing will be in play soon. Remember “We are the one who make a brighter day” so come on out and enjoy all winter has to offer and for sure it will be a brighter day! See you on the slopes! .   

Inside Scoop from Mt Ops Jan 22

Steve Crowley - Thursday, January 22, 2015

January 22, 2015

“Anywhere you go, I’ll follow you down, Anyplace but those I know by heart, Anywhere you go, I’ll follow you down, I’ll follow you down, but not that far, … (GB ’96)

I can follow you down the Wall, we’ll be winching her up Friday night. Reports there today are it’s skiing well so it will only get better. The snowmakers got ahead of the groomers earlier this week as we had Jane and Pete out doing the morning slope inspections and coaching the crews. Great job guys and gal! Huge strides were made in getting all our trails open and with good snow surfaces. The grooming team was up for the challenge with all the new snow pushed out and tilled up. If you are looking for some natural skiing and riding, Shadows and Falcon will be your slope of the day or take a lap on our Cross Country trails .  Moguls on Morning Star skier/rider right are in great form and the Chute will see moguls develop this weekend as well. Terrain Parks are growing each week. A few more features were added to Fiddlers Elbow and a sweet set of tables are on Foxfire. Mardi Gras Rail Park continues to be among the best. The Outpost, Riglet Park and Terrain Garden in the School Haus base area are just the ticket to introduce our youngest skiers and riders to terrain park skills and what a great picture spot as well!

The Tubing Park is open Thursday through Sunday with 2 lifts operating and 25 lanes plus the Li'l Tuber’s area. The Sky Flyer Mountain coaster at the base of Tannenbaum is open Thursday through Sunday and you can add a coaster ride to your lift ticket purchase or just stop up and buy tickets there. Safety Patrol will be cooking sausages at the Champagne Mountain  Top Warming Hut both Saturday and Sunday so stop in for a sandwich, hot chocolate and a break. All kinds of biker action will take place at the Holiday Valley Lodge with Gowanda Harley Davidson bringing in the bikes for Harley Day Valley this Saturday.

It’s high time and mid-winter so get on out here. Just remember anywhere you go I may follow you down so “do not stop where you can’t be seen from above!” Know the skier/ riders responsibility code. (There will be a test!) I’ll see you on the slopes!!

Inside Scoop from Mt. Ops Jan 15

Steve Crowley - Thursday, January 15, 2015

“Silent sunlight, welcome in, There is work I must now begin, All my dreams have blown away, And the children want to play…” (CS ’72) 

We’ve enjoyed abundant sun this week and some mighty cold overnights early in the week. Large snow-made whales line several east sides of our trails, as the winds were perfect to build up the lee sides. Snow conditions are excellent and I’ve been on snow each day this week skiing great groomed runs and some ungroomed trails as well. Check the daily slope report for the wide variety of surfaces to ski and ride on. Falcon is ungroomed and bumping up. Chute is developing a mogul course and the existing moguls on Morning Star received a fresh coating of snow yesterday. We will have most all of our trails and parks open by Saturday. Snow is in the forecast for Friday with some sunshine to follow on Saturday. The conditions will be outstanding. The Wall will be winched and groomed Thursday night. Snow was made there earlier in the week and it’s  looking good.

Plenty of work this week with terrain parks. Jim and John have a great set up for the Riglet Park and Outpost. Mike, Chris, and the park crew have Foxfire close to opening with some final tweaking to be done there. Mardi Gras Rail Park is in excellent form and the Terrain Garden on School Haus East is coming soon. All the lifts are spinning and the Sky Flyer Coaster is open for the weekend, along with a much expanded Tubing Park out at Bryant Hill Road. Snow inventory is at mid-winter level so the snow making system will be shut down over the weekend, and then getting back to it Monday evening.

So remember the children want to play, come on out and enjoy all Holiday Valley has to offer, I’ll see you on the slopes and all you passholders at 7:30 AM, base of Yodeler for early ski day this Saturday!

Inside Scoop from Mountain Ops Jan 8

Steve Crowley - Thursday, January 08, 2015

“Sleight of hand and twist of fate, On a bed of nails she makes me wait, and I wait without you, With or without you,.. Through the storm, we reach the shore”  (u2 '87)

We have weathered the storms and now reached the shore. Snowmaking has run full throttle this week and our base is nothing short of incredible! We’ll see Eagle lift and trails open on Saturday which means all of our lifts are open to skiers and riders for the first time this season. There are moguls on Morning Star and a “Whale watch” happening on Champagne this weekend to test your mettle - they're big skiable mounds of manmade snow on skiers left. The Chute reopened Wednesday and is groomed out, Shadows is skiing in well and Firecracker is groomed and good cruising. Northwind has small rolls and a run down the top, then onto Crosscut to Morning Star is a run on the must-do this week, check it out. 

The Terrain parks are being rebuilt this week. Mardi Gras Rail Park and "The Elbow” are open now. Foxfire, Outpost, and Riglet Park are coming real soon. Mike, Chris, and the park crew have been cranking along and they are putting out a great product.

Snowmaking will be limited this weekend and running mostly on the few closed connecting trails during operating hours. With the forecasted natural snow our Cross country trails will be open by the weekend. The Tubing Park is open and we have 12-14 lanes complete with two lifts operating Saturday and Sunday. The Tubing Park has new hours this year with a start on Sundays at 11AM and a special rate for teens on Thursdays and Fridays. The Sky Flyer Mountain Coaster,located just west of the Tannenbaum Lodge is open all weekend for a quick and exciting trip down through the forest. Ski or board boots are allowed on the Sky flyer, so slide on over and take a trip!

Be well, layer up, come out and enjoy the great snow,   I’ll see you on the slopes.

Inside Scoop from Mountain Ops Dec. 25

Steve Crowley - Friday, December 26, 2014

    “Unchain my heart, You are in my night and day, Why leave me to a life of misery..,Unchain my heart, Please set me free..”  (JC ’87) Be free my friend. Seems we at Mountain Operations have been chained up by  Mother Nature as of late, but the good news is that the warm and wet weather has passed us now and it’s time to get back to gaining terrain. Snowmakers, Groomers and Lift techs have been busy this week preparing SnowPine and Tannenbaum lifts along with terrain to open Friday this week. With the addition of the Boardwalk beginner lift We'll have a total of 10 lifts operating this weekend.  We’ve experienced a couple days of unusually high temperatures and now tonight’s forecast has a window of snowmaking opportunity, the crew is enjoying an early Christmas dinner and quick nap before reporting in tonight to get ready for a short run. We have 200 automatic snow gun installations and with the system pressured up the crew will be able to take advantage of whatever run temperatures come their way. The control center for snowmaking has 7 live camera feeds and 10 live weather data points around the slopes along with control of the auto guns and pump stations. The system operator can start multiple trails in a matter of minutes to get the snow production going.
      The Sky Flyer Mountain Coaster will be open daily through the coming week, starting Friday. Holiday Valley Tubing Company is not open, however Dave and his crew are working hard to get enough snow cover there to open soon. Check the daily reports for current operating status of the Tubing Park. There is a mogul field on the South side of Morning Star. The Fiddlers Elbow terrain park and the Rail Park on Mardi Gras are open. We have limited coverage on Cindy’s slope so for now NASTAR racing is on hold.  Enjoy the holidays, come ski and ride with us,  I’ll see you on the slopes!

Update on Monday December 29...the weather has finally turned in our favor and we're able to make snow again. We'll work on closed slopes during operating hours and then at night we'll freshen up the open slopes. More slopes will be added in the coming days. The Sky Flyer Mountain Coaster is open each day this week. We've been able to start snowmaking again at the Tubing Park and we're planning to open there on New Years Day. We are operating the shuttle bus service each day this week for lodging guests and parking lots. The bus will run New Years Eve to  1 AM. Be sure to check out our Groomer Parade, Torchlight Parade and Fireworks on Cindy's on Dec. 31. 

Inside Scoop from Mt. Ops Dec 16

Steve Crowley - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

“ Hey you! Don’t tell me there’s no hope at all, Together we stand, divided we fall”   (PF ‘79)


And together we’ll get through this brief warmup and we’ll be back to winter in no time, in fact Wednesday night some snow should be heading our way. Starting back in late November we made snow at every opportunity, and it is holding up well through this period of mild weather…it skied great this morning, for sure. Snowmaking operations at the resort and Tubing Park will resume as temperatures permit later this week. Right now we’re running 6 lifts with good coverage. The Rail Park and Fiddler’s Elbow are already set up with features, and we’ll be cat seeding bumps on Morning Star, skiers’ right this Friday night. The Mountain Coaster will begin operations this Friday, December 19 and will be open through Sunday. We’re not opening the Tubing Park this weekend, but it will open soon.

Behind the scenes the snowmakers have worked on Sunrise, Catwalk and the Wall over in the East, and Upper Crystal, Tannenbaum and Independence in the West. We’ll see Sunrise opening next, then Tannenbaum followed by SnowPine. Right after Christmas the crew will be heading for Chute, followed by Eagle. Winter starts December 21st AND it’s a new moon, all good signs for snow ahead as well as several snowmaking opportunities.

One Holiday Valley bus will be running this weekend for lodging and parking lots plus the shuttle van. So let’s all get together out on the slopes and get ready for a great holiday ahead.

Inside Scoop from Mt Ops April 11

Steve Crowley - Friday, April 11, 2014

April 11, 2014

Here go with some fine spring skiing for one final weekend of the 13- 14 season. The sun will shine and the snow will be corned up and lots of fun. We will operate the Yodeler Quad Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. These slopes will be open: Candy Cane, Punch Bowl, Sugar Plum, Lower Crystal, Independence, Champagne, Yodeler, Edelweiss, Chute to Holiday Run, Shadows to Holiday Run, Firecracker to Holiday Run, Mardi Gras to Holiday Run and Northwind to Holiday Run.

We've had some bright sun, wind, rain and warmth over the past week so the grooming crew will be moving a good amount of snow to cover some thin spots. Chute, Firecracker and Shadows will be 1/2 groomed and the other 1/2 will be natural, so the bumps on Chute will be waiting for you, plus some very nice bump lines on Yodeler.

The Food and Beverage Crew will be cooking out again this weekend and offering beer specials, and Jay McDonald will be serenading everyone on the deck. So bring your shades, enjoy the spring skiing and end the 2014 season in style! Then head on over to the main Lodge for some awesome Bluegrass Music at the first annual Enchanted Mountain Music Festival. Saturday evening tickets are just $25.

Oh yeah...the Double Black Diamond golf course is opening on Saturday as well, with a modified front nine from 8AM. 9 holes is $24 to walk, $34 with cart. Welcome summer!

Inside Scoop Mt. Ops March 27

Steve Crowley - Thursday, March 27, 2014

“I have climbed highest mountains, I have run through the fields, Only to be with you, Only to be with you, I have run, I have crawled, I have scaled these city walls, Only to be with you, But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for, But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for…” (U2 ’87) 

What we are looking for is SPRING Skiing and riding, baby it’s been cold out there! But the weather is changing and looks like we’ll get a fix of spring runs and sun this weekend. We are currently operating 5 Chairlifts and the handle tow with plans to add the Morning Star express lift for the weekend. That gets us up to 35 slopes open for the weekend. Moguls are available on Yodeler, Morning Star and Chute, (you’ll need to cut out to Edelweiss to return to Yodeler lift if doing the Chute). Terrain parks are all open for the final weekend as we will be closing Cindy’s lift Monday. The Mardi Gras rail park will be available next week as we plan to operate Mardi Gras and Yodeler lifts starting  Monday for the week. The Tubing Park and Mountain Coaster are closed for the season but the Coaster will open for summer operations in late May. Our Ski season closing date is listed as April 6th, giving you two more weeks to get those last runs in and soak up the afternoon sun on one of our fabulous south facing decks. I’ll see you on the slopes, shades and sunscreen required!

Inside Scoop Mountain Ops March 13

Steve Crowley - Thursday, March 13, 2014

“Oh Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling, From glen to glen, and down the mountain side, The summer’s gone, and all the roses falling, It’s you, it’s you must go and I must bide. But come ye back when summer’s in  the meadow, or when the Valley’s hushed and white in snow, And I’ll be here in sunshine or in shadow, Oh, Danny Boy, oh Danny Boy,  I love you so…” (FW 1910) 

We just experienced what could be our annual St Paddy’s day storm, folklore around here goes that a final winter storm usually falls right around St Paddy’s day and we just saw 9+ inches of snow and single digit temperatures this Thursday morning. This, on top of a well preserved base will keep us skiing and riding right into April this year.

Our freestyle team and coaches are hosting The Eastern Regional B Championships here this weekend with a Mogul course set on Yodeler slope, Aerial site set on Foxfire and a Slopestyle course on Snoozer with over 180 competitors. There will be plenty of action to see. Congratulations to Ed, Jim, Pat, and Mike for all their hard work in getting the venues built.

The crew is working on converting the Snowbar pile into a Quarter Pipe for an event there at the Yodeler Lodge Saturday at noon. Our last night skiing is this Saturday and on Sunday we will offer Twilight skiing on Cindy’s and Sunrise lifts from 4:30 to 7 pm. All other lifts will close at 4:30 on Sunday and for the balance of the season. The Twilight riding/skiing is available each evening next week with a $15 ticket. Check the website for all the details.

A warm up is heading our way for the weekend that will soften the snow and the moguls on Chute, Falcon, and Morning Star. Those bumps will provide a good workout. The Season Passholder early ski/ride is this Saturday. We will operate the Yodeler lift one hour early starting at 7:30 am for our passholders to get first tracks. We'll provide coffee, cocoa, and Timbits at the Yodeler corral for our passholder guests I’ll see you there!! 

And you can always check the morning slope conditions by calling Pete our slope reporter/resident Leprechaun at 716-699-2644. The message is updated every morning before the slopes open.

Inside Scoop Mountain Ops March 6

Steve Crowley - Thursday, March 06, 2014

“100 days,100 nights to know a mans heart, 100 days, 100 nights to know a mans heart, and a little more before he knows his own, You know, a man can’t play the part of a saint just so long, …he may be mellow, he may be kind, treat you girl, all the time”  (SJ & DKs “06)

Saturday will be our 100th day of the season, the conditions are outstanding, and we have emerged from the arctic cold  conditions that have held us hostage the last few weeks. Speaking of 100 days let’s acknowledge the hard work and long hours of our lift maintenance crew. They arrive each morning between 6:30 and 7 AM to make their rounds. They inspect each lift for opening along with going through weekly maintenance items and testing all the circuits that keep each lift operating safely and whisking our guests to the top in an efficient manner. This crew spends each day addressing ongoing maintenance items and is always at the ready to respond if a lift experiences a stoppage to get those wheels back turning. In the afternoon at shift change they do the rounds and night inspections along with getting all the lighting online. At the end of the night they close the lifts down, check and double check along with Ski Patrol to be sure everyone is safely off the lifts and slopes.

The next crew that has been out there for 100 days are our lift attendants and corral attendants. Now, with a chair crossing the load point every 6 seconds this crew can see up to 4,500 chairs pass by in a shift day at each lift! So  that’s a lot of human (Skier Rider) machine (Chairlift) interaction going on each day. Just think about the capacity with 4 riders per chair and 11 lifts at capacity, that’s about 198,000 possible interactions each day!

The other crew that has been out among the elements all 100 days would be our “vehicle placement engineers” as we refer to them. Some days those lot attendants are beyond busy! They are always out there and ready to assist our guests any way they can.

We have plenty of skiing and riding days left but I wanted to show some recognition to these guys and gals that are with us each day of the season to make your experience the best it can be. Have a great weekend and I’ll see you at Carnival!