News, updates and other tidbits from the Okemo team

The Okemo Blog

What's happening at Okemo right now!

December 6, 2019

Answering a Few Frequently Asked Questions

Dec 12 Blog Header

Jackson Gore opens Friday, December 6!

Okemo will have 45 trails open with as many as 9 lifts operating.

Greetings,

It is always great to see the first significant snow storm of the season arrive - especially this early in December!  While we have had a couple of storms, which were lighter, this past week’s storm allowed us to open up some trails with natural coverage. This weekend will bring with it the opening of Jackson Gore and that base area, which will bring our trail count total to more than 45 trails with as many as 9 lifts operating. 

I wanted to take this opportunity to answer some questions that I have been asked in the past few weeks. Most likely these questions are being asked by others as well.

Are the local school programs continuing at Okemo this year?

Yes, we are continuing with the local school programs. There has been some misinformation going around regarding the schools which did have a program on Sundays. In an effort to provide a better experience for those schools because of skier volume, we offered those schools to reschedule to any other midweek day. They had a choice of what would work best for them. Unfortunately, those schools made the decision that they would rather not have their ski program on a midweek day and thus have decided to look at other options for their programs. While we had hoped that they would stay at Okemo, in the end it is great to hear that that the kids will still be skiing and riding.

Why has Okemo’s Snow Report changed, and how come the information is not the same as before?

Our snow reports changed this year as we are using a more web-based approach and hopefully providing the same information. The Okemo team has worked hard to continue to provide the basic information that our guests want, including lift and trail open status, snowfall amount, temperature and weather, as well as snow surface. I do understand that we don’t have the “Good morning Skiers and Riders” paragraph describing what went on last night for snowmaking. We are working to see how we can incorporate this, but as of now we won’t be having a paragraph like that. We understand that this is a change and I am hopeful that you as our guests know that we are working to provide as much valuable information as possible. We may not have all the information you might want, but we will give the basics and hopefully a little more.

How does Okemo handle unsafe guest skiing and fraudulent pass use?

Okemo takes safe skiing and riding very seriously. We expect those who ski and ride on the mountain to follow the responsibility code when on the slopes. Okemo has policies in place for those who ski unsafely or ski closed trails. Infractions may result in a range of actions from education to suspension of their season pass. We also take fraudulent ticket and season pass situations seriously.  Season passes are not transferable, and guests who are found sharing their pass with others can expect to have their privileges suspended. We expect safe skiing and riding as well as honest use of season passes during the season.

The start of this ski season well underway, and with the Jackson Gore base area opening, lifts and trails are opening up there as well. Snowmakers will be headed back on the main mountain to begin work on some of the trails in that area as well as some of the lodging trails. Many thanks to our snowmakers and groomers for making and laying out the snow as well as the entire Okemo team for getting the season off to a great start!  I look forward to seeing you on the slopes!

As always, thanks for your support and feel free to let us know how we are doing.

Bruce Schmidt
Okemo VP & GM

November 22, 2019

Okemo Opens For Business with 28 Trails and 7 Lifts!

 
Opening Day Ski Photo

Okemo's Opening Day has Arrived!

Day 1 skiers can enjoy 28 trails on 153 acres serviced by 7 lifts.

Greetings,

The ski season is here and we are excited to begin some skiing and riding. Opening day is today, Friday, November 22, and we are looking forward to enjoying the snow on up to 25 trails with 5 lifts.  Now there may be some adjustments during the day but we expect the numbers to be close.  Culinary options are Base 68 and the Sitting Bull in the Clock Tower base lodge.  The summit lodge will be open for guests to use the restrooms and see the renovations that have taken place over the summer. We will be serving complimentary coffee and hot chocolate there, but there will be no cafeteria food service at this time. 

I do want to mention that starting this season there will be some changes to our website snow report.  The content will be the same with the temperature, snow fall amounts, weather forecast, as well as where snow was made and what lifts and trails are open. The format, as it appears on the website is very user-friendly and intuitive. We will also have a Northeast email conditions report, showing conditions at Okemo, Stowe and Mount Sunapee – all in one email message.  I do want to mention that because of the change in software, guests who want to receive the snow report will need to “opt” in on our website.  I know that is not what you wanted to hear, but it will be necessary so we know that you “want” to receive the snow report this season.

Family ski zones on Sweet Solitude, Coleman Brook and Easy Rider trails
Okemo now features a brand new way to ski together - designated family ski zones. Our Family Zones are specially marked areas for families to ski and learn together at their own pace. The Family Zones can be accessed via Sunburst Six, Green Ridge Triple and Solitude Express Quad. 

EpicMix
Skiers and riders can download the free app and check snow conditions, view web cams and trail maps, track vertical, and earn digital pins. Four of Okemo’s major lifts will be connected with a special feature called EpicMix Time. Skiers and riders will be able to check on lift-line wait times. This will most likely be active in early 2020.

We are excited about opening day and getting Okemo up and going.  The team has worked hard on becoming fully integrated and we are anticipating a smoother early season and while, no doubt, there may be some challenges, the entire Okemo team is ready to work hard to strive to provide “The Experience of a Lifetime” to all our guests.

As always, thanks for your support and feel free to let us know how we are doing.

Bruce Schmidt

VP & GM

Okemo Mountain Resort

November 11, 2019

Welcome Back to Winter!

This winter at Okemo will see new restaurants, better snowmaking, a new and improved daily conditions report, and much more. Here's a rundown of what you have to look forward to when you come home to Okemo.  
November Snow

Snowmaking has begun at Okemo

With more than 5,000 feet of snowmaking pipe replaced this year, Okemo will be better positioned than ever to deliver great conditions throughout the season.

Greetings,

At the same time we changed the clocks to mark the end of daylight saving time, changes started taking place on the mountain here at Okemo. November 1 is an important date. Similar to “Midnight Madness” for college basketball fans, Okemo’s snowmakers get on their uniforms and get everything together. Then, at midnight on Halloween they turn on the pumps, start the compressors and begin the process of checking out the system. 

Excitement builds when people see trails turning white at upper elevations. We are planning to continue to make snow as the temperatures permit.  It is looking like Mother Nature will help out somewhat, but like our snowmakers, she is most likely just testing things out. We don’t expect to see a lot of snow from our first storms of the season.

There have been some questions about opening day. Okemo is targeting Friday, November 22 for the start of the 2019/2020 ski and snowboard season.  Even though we will be making snow earlier in November, we are focused on that target date and don’t anticipate any changes.  Giving our staff a date to focus on will allow a smoother ramp up instead of rushing during the first nights of colder weather.  With Thanksgiving occurring the latest it can be this year, opening up on the Friday before will give us a good amount of time to work the kinks out, so to speak.

If you haven’t already heard of some of the changes we have made at Okemo this summer let me give you a quick rundown:

Summit Lodge – A new open floorplan with a décor that pays homage to the iconic Vermont barn features wooden beams, exposed stone, and on the lower level, a new bar with a curated beer program and fireplace. The new menu will include chicken and biscuits and a selection of southern-style comfort foods.

Sugar House Lodge – Guests will see updates to flooring, re-faced surfaces and a reimagining of the overall space. In The Mudroom on the lower level, the focus will be on a welcoming, kid-friendly experience with an area for kicking back with friends, plus tables and chairs, and walkup counter service. An elevated kid-food menu will feature favorites with flair.

Epic Restaurant – Epic will be refreshed and rebranded as 43° North. A northern-French inspired menu will provide diners with a sense of indulgence when they break for a midday meal. Returning visitors will see new lunch choices with this restaurant's revolving menu.

Snowmaking Upgrades – Installation of 5,000 feet of pipe this season completes a five-year project to replace all main feeds leading through the Clock Tower base area. These feeds supply all the water to Okemo’s snowmaking system across the entire mountain.

Ski & Snowboard School – There will be a new menu of Ski & Snowboard School options this season. In addition to redesigning entry-level lesson programs, Okemo will also offer a new half-day and full-day family lesson.

EpicMix – Skiers and riders can download the free app and access a variety of features from their mobile phones. They can check snow conditions, view web cams and trail maps, track vert, earn digital pins, and, later this season, check on lift-line wait times and plot their course around the mountain with EpicMix Time.

There will be some other enhancements such as lift maze adjustments to help improve guest flow through lift ticket scanning. Mobile Ticket fulfillment will begin around the holidays to help keep guests moving through the base area ticket window lines.

And, Okemo will be delivering its daily snow conditions reports to skiers and riders in new and exciting ways this season. An improved, quick-view graphic on Okemo’s website displays all the pertinent information you need at a glance: the weather forecast, the number of acres open, lifts open, trails open and the percentage of open terrain. Drop-down menus show lift and trail status.  Even better, skiers and riders will have access to conditions and other features on their phone with the free EpicMix app.

Of course Okemo’s conditions will still be listed at OnTheSnow.com and on Okemo’s Facebook page and Twitter feed. A daily, detailed conditions report will continue to be recorded on Okemo’s Snow Phone at (802) 228-5222, and real-time alerts will be posted @OkemoConditions on Twitter. For skiers and riders who like to receive conditions reports by email, they will need to sign up for the new Northeast Conditions Report – sent daily, just on weekends, or every time it snows three inches or more.

We are excited about this coming season.  The team has worked hard on becoming fully integrated under the new ownership of Vail Resorts, and we are anticipating a smoother early season, and while, no doubt, there may be some challenges, the entire Okemo team is ready to work hard and strives to provide “The Experience of a Lifetime” to all our guests.

Thank you in advance for your support and loyalty as this ski season begins.  It is exciting to be a full-fledged Vail Resort and we are looking forward to seeing you on the slopes. 

Bruce Schmidt
Okemo VP & GM