Featured Image: Courtesy of Hunter Mountain
Hunter Mountain, owned by Peak Resorts, has spent the summer beefing up one of New York state’s most popular resorts in preparation for the upcoming ski season. Adding five new trails–one green and four blue–increases the resort’s skiable acreage by more than 30 percent and boosts gladed skiing options by 800 percent, making this the largest ski area expansion in the East in the last 15 years.
“One of the major critiques that people have always had about [Hunter Mountain] is they’ve got a great beginner area and some good steeps and expert terrain but what they were really lacking was intermediate terrain,” said Jamie Storrs, communications manager at Mount Snow, which is also owned by Peak Resorts.
When Peak Resorts purchased Hunter Mountain two years ago, the skiing company quickly realized the mountain needed more family-friendly, intermediate terrain.
“Hunter was really having problems getting people to make the jump from a beginner skier to an expert skier because there wasn’t really anything in the middle that they could ski,” Storrs said.
Construction started back in April, clearing out the the north-facing slope between the main Hunter Mountain slope and the west-facing slope, Hunter West, to create Hunter North. Along with the addition of five intermediate trails and 37 acres of tree skiing, a new high-speed six-person chair will be installed to service the new terrain. A new entrance and 250-car parking lot have also been added to provide access to the new base area.
What might be most impressive about this $9 million project is that Peak Resorts has been able to keep the work entirely in-house–aside from blasting, which was sourced locally.
“We handpicked some of our best trail builders and groomers and sawyers from all over the mountains that [Peak Resorts] owns and sent this A-Team down to Hunter for the summer,” Storrs said. “We did a ton of work–and realized we could do a ton of work–in-house when we finished up a major project at Mount Snow last year, a $30 million snow-making upgrade, which gave us the most powerful system in the Northeast. That really cemented, to us, that we have a really solid team in place that can do projects like this.”
The expansion of Hunter Mountain is expected to be complete by the start of the ski season with plans to open before Thanksgiving, but this is not the only upgrade to Peak Resorts’ eastern ski areas.
Mount Snow in Vermont is putting the final touches on its brand-new $22 million Carinthia Base Lodge, which is the second step of a larger project. The first being the $30 million West Lake Water Project–the massive snow-making expansion mentioned earlier. The crew started construction on the new lodge back in summer of 2017 and replaced the lodge that had been a staple of Carinthia since the 1960s.
“While there are a ton of great memories over there and it was a little bittersweet to see that lodge get torn down, this new lodge has been needed for a while,” said Storrs. “[It’s] five times the size of the old lodge; the heated deck… alone is larger than the old lodge.”
The new Carinthia Base Lodge will feature a coffee shop, a large multi-station cafeteria, a sit-down restaurant, retail and rental shops, locker rooms, a ski patrol station plus two full bars–something locals have been waiting for for years.
“Carinthia is an all-terrain-park base so we have some pretty massive events over there during the winter because it’s consistently the number one rated terrain park in the East and top ten in North America,” said Storrs. “Now with this new lodge, we can actually have these larger events that flow into an aprés party down at the base.”
The impressive 42,000 square foot lodge boasts everything a skier needs, and then some.
“[The new lodge] has two massive glass folding doors on the front side of the lodge [facing the slopes], so on nicer spring days these doors will be able to open up and it will make the whole space, indoors and outdoors, flow together and tie the big deck to the lodge inside. Then you can walk out and you’re right at the lift,” said Storrs. “It’s going to make a really great indoor-outdoor space for the spring season.”
For Peak Resorts, summer is the season for preparation and the upgrades its made to the two resorts are more than impressive. The expansion of Hunter Mountain makes the resort more approachable to a larger audience of skiers and the much-deserved makeover to the Carinthia Base Lodge makes it worthy of some of the best park skiing in North America.