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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 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!

Inside Scoop from Mountain Ops Feb 27

Steve Crowley - Thursday, February 27, 2014

    “ I really can’t stay, But baby it’s cold outside, I’ve got to go away, But baby it’s cold outside, This evening has been, Been hoping that you’d drop in, So very nice, I’ll hold your hands, They’re just like ice, My mother will start to worry, Beautiful what’s your hurry? My father will be pacing the floor, listen to the fireplace roar, So really I’d better scurry, Beautiful please don’t hurry….” (FL ’49) 

Ah yeah it’s been a little chilly around here this week but we do have some moderating weather coming in for the weekend. Good news is the snow is outstanding and we have all trails, parks, mogul fields, cross country, tubing hill, and Mountain Coaster open this weekend. I may sound like an old broken record but the conditions can’t be beat. Snowmakers ran the system overnights this week to prepare sculpture piles for our Winter Carnival held March 8th  and 9th. They also were able to get a good run in on the Wall slope and it  is skiing and riding great au natural!

We are hosting NSSRA U14 State champs concluding the weekend with a Slalom race at Edelweiss on Sunday. Pat has put together a “Red Bull 1976 games” event to be held Saturday evening on Moonshadow with a big old Red Bull truck cranking out tunes at the bottom of the boardercross course. It will be a great competition to enter or just slide on by to check out the scene.

We have roaring fireplaces in the lodges to warm up those icy hands and also will be hosting our annual passholder cookout at Mistletoe slope Sunday 11 am. It does appear that March is going to roar in like a lion so winter will, keep on keeping on, come on out and enjoy, check our website for all the details and… I’ll see you on the slopes.

Inside Scoop from Mountain Ops Feb 20

Steve Crowley - Thursday, February 20, 2014

  “Stayed up all night waiting, Thought that you might call, Half the night debating, seems like after all, you had made your mind up , Oh I guess you made your mind up, Darn these strained relations, makes me want to crawl, Top negotiations, feeling two foot small Guess you made your mind up, oh such a shame to wind up…”  (JW’81)  

We are up and waiting for Mother Nature to make her mind up! We saw some liquid precipitation today as the temperatures climbed from the teens this morning to 39F tonight. We have a little more unsettled weather coming in tonight and early Friday morning but by mid day we should see temps falling back down and a wintry weekend ahead.

The snow this morning was firm and fast and softened up by late afternoon. I saw Wiz from Ski Patrol after he swept Falcon this evening he reported it was skiing great even on Tele skis! We have no snowmaking scheduled this weekend but do plan to build stock pile snow next week in the overnights. Grooming crews will be busy the next couple nights working up a good surface. The snow pack is deep and can absorb the precipitation we have seen. We plan to have all slopes and trails open for the weekend. All the cross country trails have been packed down after the natural snows we saw here earlier in the week and they'll be open as well. Our annual Penguin Paddle fundraiser is being held at the base of Yodeler Saturday. Check the website for all the details. You can do a penguin style slide and benefit a great cause. As Wiz said, Falcon is softening up so the moguls there, on Morning Star and the Chute will be skiing and riding great. The Tubing Park is open all weekend with 24 lanes and the Mountain Coaster is operating as well. Check our web site, give Pete a call at 716-699-2644 for daily conditions updates and come on out for good times, great skiing and riding, and meet some new friends. I’ll see you on the slopes!

Inside Scoop from Mt Ops Feb. 13

Steve Crowley - Thursday, February 13, 2014

“What would you think if I sang out of tune, Would you stand up and walk out on me?, Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song, And I’ll try not to sing out of key, Oh I get by with a little help from my friends, Mm I get high with a little help from my friends, Mm going to try with a little help from my friends.. “ (JL &PM 67)

We all enjoy a little help from our friends and no better way to spend time with friends than on Holiday Valley's 58 trails all covered in pearly “White” snow with a few moguls on Chute, Morning Star, and Falcon. “Yesterday” and a couple days before were mighty cold here but the weather has moderated now. So you will need a “Ticket to Ride” this weekend and right through next week as we open the lifts each day at 8:30 for the Presidents day holiday and week. Ski School Snow Sports has lessons available every day and if you are a very beginner “Help” is available at the Creek side lodge so you won’t be “The fool on the Hill” and can link your turns on the way down! Grooming has been hard at work all week and providing an outstanding surface each morning it’s really “Something” to behold, and tonight (Thursday) they will string up the winch cat on the Wall to give her a good grooming for the days ahead it’s going to be a “Hard days night” for those men for sure. Snowmaking is off on a world tour so we won’t have man made snow in the air but do have a little natural snow coming over the weekend good fun in the glades!   Terrain Parks aren’t exactly “Strawberry fields forever” but there will be shades of red and pink out there as we host the Boarding for Breast Cancer fund raiser in the Mardi Gras Rail Park on Saturday check our web site for more details. Pat and his crew have been changing up features in the 42/78 Foxfire park as well slide on over and check it out,

The Tubing Park is open with 24 lanes the ice rink (bring your own skates) little tubers area with shaped lanes and a fun roller, bonfire, hot chocolate, food, and fun out there . The Mountain Coaster up past the Tannenbaum Lodge is open daily to 8pm through Monday and an evening ride in the woods can be your “Magical mystery Tour”.  Have fun, get high on life, “Let it Be”, hit the slopes, I’ll see you out there!  

Inside Scoop from Mountain Ops January 30

Steve Crowley - Thursday, January 30, 2014


“I’m goin’ across the mountains, oh fare ye well, Goin’ across the mountains, you can hear my banjo tell, Got my rations on my back, my powder it is dry, Goin’ across the mountains, oh Chrissy don’t you cry”  (PS ‘66) .

You can go across our mountains anywhere you care to as we’ll have 57 trails, glades, and cross country routes open this weekend with good cover everywhere and snow in the forecast. The sun is getting higher in the sky and makes for some outstanding runs on Morning Star and Crosscut to start the day. Follow the sun to Mardi Gras and Cindy’s mid morning and Yodeler, Champagne, Edelweiss mid afternoon. The Tannenbaum area is great anytime along with Spruce and Sunrise. We groomed the Wall last night.

We are hosting a USSA Freestyle B meet here this weekend,(B’s are the younger competitors) they will be hitting the mogul course at Chute on Saturday and a slopestyle event on Snoozer Sunday. We also have USASA slopestyle on Snoozer Saturday as well along with our Ranger group racing in Racer X on Cindys. NASTAR will also be open on Cindys Wednesday through Sundays if you care to run some gates and see how you compare in the NASTAR series. More information on this web site under the” explore our mountain” tab.

Whether you ski or ride, race or cruise, snow shoe or cross country it really doesn’t matter as long as you get out and enjoy the winter weather ( it’s 30 degrees warmer here tonight than it was just yesterday at the abyss of our cold snap). Mighty frosty, but makes for outstanding snow surface conditions all around the resort. We have a neat field of moguls on Morning Star and some interesting terrain building on the left side of Falcon. Most all other trails are groomed up with fresh corduroy each morning keeping our grooming crew busy. The snowmakers are watching the super bowl this weekend but do plan to produce more snow next week in selected areas. Terrain parks are all open and just keep getting better with a completely rebuilt fun rail park and more shaping in the Foxfire 42-78 Park. 

The Tubing Park is running 24 lanes, the little tubers area and the ice rink. Bring you own skates and glide the evening away! Our Mountain coaster is open Thursday through Sunday till 8 pm. An evening ride down among the snow covered trees is a memorable experience. The coaster is located just above the Tannenbaum Lodge and we offer free shuttle service there and around the resort, just ask a lodge or lot attendant for assistance.

Happy Lunar New Year and enjoy the year of the horse. Let’s all get some skiing and riding in, and I’ll see you on the slopes.