Saddleback Blog

Archive: January 1, 2010 - January 31, 2010

Hooray For Hero Snow!

As I write this blog, I am looking out my office window at the beautiful snow falling from the sky. There is not a breath of wind, so the snow is falling straight down. We have picked up a good 3 inches so far this afternoon. We expect snow throughout the night and will likely pick up a few more inches before we open the lifts at 9 tomorrow. Today's skiers had a real treat! Conditions are about as good as they can get. Three inches of powder over a soft & smooth corduroy base is hard to beat. Definitely hero snow! 

The long range forecast has this week setting up to be picture perfect. We have light snow & flurries Wednesday night and early Thursday, then clearing… Read More >>

Grey Ghost, A Big Hit Among Racers

It is always rewarding to see positive results when making changes to our mountain. Today, we hosted our first MARA Giant Slalom race on our newly widened Grey Ghost trail. This past summer, we widened the trail considerably in order to get an FIS trail rating. In case you don't know, FIS is the International Ski Federation (translated to English), who governs ski racing around the world, now in their 50th year. We received our FIS rating and today was the first event on that trail.

The race went off without a hitch! Today's racers were 13 and 14 year olds. Between the first and second runs, I heard many very positive comments from the kids about the course and the trail. Grey… Read More >>

Commander Cody Rocks the Base Lodge

Last night we had a very special treat for vacationers at Saddleback, Commander Cody was in the house! One's first impression of him was that he appeared his age and looked tired. However, as soon as he hit the keyboard, the place rocked! It was one impressive show as he performed 'Hot Rod Lincoln' and other great classics from 8 until 10:30 PM. Our Director of Hospitality, JoAnne Taylor was seen dancing up a storm with Ski School Director, Mark Robie. Yes, there was a dance floor, although some choose to dance on the hearth!

Last night's concert was the second concert of our winter concert series. We have five more to come. On February 13th we have Jonathan Edwards performing… Read More >>

Maine Hadicapped skiing visits Saddleback

Today was our busiest day of the year so far. We had all types of skiers and riders from all around New England. The most interesting group here was a visit by Maine Handicapped Skiers. We had 24 members of the club. These members were part of their racing program and it was their first time ever at Saddleback. They are based at Sunday River.

I was speaking with one of their long time coaches of more than 20 years, Rob Brennon. He tells me that there are more than 200 students in the Maine Handicapped Skiing Program. They have over 300 volunteer coaches and that this is one of the biggest programs in the country. The program remains a free program, meaning no charge for the… Read More >>

Terrain Park Gets A Facelift

Did you ever look at a terrain park and wonder who thinks of all these different elements? There is a lot involved in creating a good terrain park, money too! It all begins with snowmaking. The snowmaking investment is huge. It takes a lot of snowmaking to make enough piles of snow that ultimately create the elements. The grooming equipment is also a great expense. However, the most important ingredient is the cutter! The man behind the wheel with the vision and experience to create the finished product. In our case it's Jared Emerson and Joe Haines.

Jared Emerson oversees the creation of our two parks. Two years ago, Jared attended Cutters Camp at Mount Hood in Oregon. This… Read More >>

Making People Happy At Saddleback!

Is it possible to have a ski vacation with ideal weather, quality service, great snow and a friendly staff serving you? At Saddleback, we pride ourselves in being able to deliver the goods. We can not always control the weather, but we do make the most possible with our snowmaking, grooming, food service and other skier services. Our goal is for our guests to leave happy. Last weekend we hosted a family from Florida and they were nice enough to send us a thank note. Here is how it reads:

Thank you to all your staff for a memorable family ski weekend!!!  We traveled from South Florida, New York and parts of Maine to ski and smile together, we had a blast...the conditions… Read More >>

Get Ready For A Saddleback MLK Weekend!

When was last time you can remember a perfect Martin Luther King weekend on the slopes? I bet it has been years! The last few years we have either been in the midst of a January thaw, in the middle of a deep freeze or even been on multi-day wind holds. It appears that this year will be much different. According to our forecast, it looks like this MLK weekend will be tranquil with seasonable temperatures in the 20's and little to no wind. The mountain is in beautiful shape. We have received a lot of snow during the past 12 days and surfaces could not be nicer. Snowmaking has also been going strong. Today we opened America and by the weekend Tight Line, Supervisor and Artula will open. The… Read More >>

PEAK Performance at Saddleback

One of the most successful programs instituted at Saddleback this year has been our PEAK program. PEAK is an acronym for Promoting Education & Activities for Kids. Simply stated, any Maine student up through 12th grade who makes the honor roll during either the first or second marking period is entitled to receive a Saddleback season pass for just $49! As of today, 1,472 honor roll students have taken us up on the offer.

There have been many stories about how this incentive has worked for both parents and students. I see the joy and pride in the student's eyes when they come in for their photo and to pick up their pass. The Saddleback season pass has become a real badge of… Read More >>

Veteran's Day Saddleback Style

Today was Saddleback's Veterans day! It was our opportunity to thank all of the veterans from all branches of the service for their service and sacrifices. We gave all veterans who turned out a free day of skiing. We also offered their spouse a $25 ticket and dependent children a $20 ticket. Approximately 100 veterans took us up on the free ticket offer. It was a bluebird day and the snow surfaces were perfect for them.

The high point of the day was the ceremony that took place in fireplace room of the base lodge at noon. The ceremony began with bagpiper Bob Underwood marching into the fireplace room playing his pipes. The Mount Blue Band from Farmington played the national… Read More >>

Snow Reporting at Saddleback

NPR recently had story about a study done by some Dartmouth professors regarding snow reporting. They concluded that ski resorts exaggerate snow totals, especially during weekends and holidays. This story has again raised the issue of ski resorts credibility with their snow reporting. From spending most of my career marketing ski resorts, I can tell you that some do exaggerate and there are others that play it straight. Our goal with Saddleback reporting is one word, truth!

The Saddleback reporting system begins at 4:30 AM when Patrol Director and Trail Supervisor, Jared Emerson phones the night Grooming & Snowmaking supervisor, Scott Knight. Scott will have already… Read More >>

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