Mount Snow’s ever-superstitious communications director Dave Meeker once again made sure to incorporate the secret to a good snow season, asking the local businesspeople in attendance to stand up and join him in a snow dance. “Last year we had 180 inches of snow, but we only talked about the snow dance,” Meeker joked.
While Meeker’s snow dance was ritualistic, John Redd followed with his annual weather report, explaining that the surface temperatures of the Pacific Ocean create big impacts on the Northeast’s weather. If Mother Nature can manage to form a high-pressure zone in the Pacific Northwest, Mount Snow will be in for a stormy season. Redd also mentioned that other stars would hopefully align, literally, as the amount of solar activity on the sun can affect the amount of snow that flies. “There are currently the lowest number of sunspots of the sun that we’ve seen since 1906,” said Redd. “When you go back to other periods in time when there was lower solar activity, these periods were during the Ice Age and significant cold events.”
While weather is the key to a good season, Mount Snow kept plugging away in the offseason to increase the quality of their product. This included investing $250,000 in new rental equipment and facilities and putting a healthier twist on Marketplace by changing the menu and renaming it Market Fresh. Mount Snow also collaborated with Stratton Mountain to create the Double-Down Pass, a full pass to both mountains for $349, for 18-to-26-year-olds.
The maintenance crew had their hands full this offseason too. Brush needed to be cleared off of five trails while lifts needed paint jobs, lift cushions needed changing, and various building projects began such as the construction of Sweet Stash, a new sweet treats store in the main base lodge. Perhaps the most extensive of these projects was the installation of new piping for the mountain’s snowmaking. “We delved hard and deep into the science of snowmaking,” said Dave Moulton, Mount Snow director of operations. “We found if you stop the leaks, you can make more snow, so we put that science to work, started taking the old pipe out, and putting in the new.”
Using gasoline pipe with an anti-corrosion coating on it, the snowmaking department was able to put in four miles of new piping, as well as an Anderson moisture separator and a new air-flow meter. With the new equipment in place, Mount Snow was able to pump out 19 million gallons of snow in 52 hours last weekend.
General manager Kelly Pawlak introduced two new members of the Mount Snow team. Mike Chase will serve as marketing and technology director while Jim Costello will serve as marketing director. Both will be able to help Mount Snow as it expands its advertising and marketing past its normal boundaries to places like Toronto, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC.
With changes to the formula ready to be rolled out, Meeker says the equation is simple: Snow brings people, and Mount Snow relies on people. Or, as Redd emphasized, little snow or a lot of snow, the mountain is about more than the season. “Even if our forecast is wrong, it doesn’t really matter,” said Redd. “Spending time on the slopes with family and friends is always memorable and good for business in the valley.”