By Deb Everts
Holiday Valley has been making plans for an exceptional 2018–19 winter season.
This is mostly due to the $3.4 million the resort has invested in upgrades, including improvements to their automated snowmaking system, a conveyor lift on the beginner’s slope and several “tree trails” for kids, as well as a new groomer and shuttle van.
Jane Eshbaugh, director of marketing at Holiday Valley, said there are lots of projects going on in preparation for the upcoming ski season.
She said Holiday Valley has the most snowmaking guns available in this region, and the resort has added 14 new automated guns that will be part of the automated system already in service. She said the automated controllers make it possible to control all the guns from a central location at the same time.
“We also have another 100 high-efficiency snowmaking guns that are not automated at this time, but are expected to be in the automated system in the future,” she said. “We have just purchased many of the guns that will be exchanged for some of our older guns. The new guns will be more energy efficient and use less energy. The ones we had were already very good, but these are even better.”
According to a press release from Holiday Valley, $250,000 was dedicated to automated snowmaking improvements.
The resort began installing HKD Klix automated snowmaking in 2011 and has been expanding the system each year. Holiday Valley has the largest and most powerful HKD automated snowmaking system on the East Coast.
Automation has the advantage of quick startups and shutdowns, so even if favorable snowmaking temperatures exist for just a couple of hours, the system can make snow efficiently.
The Klix system also has weather stations that monitor temperature and humidity, so the guns can automatically and individually adjust to changes. The result is a better quantity and quality of snow made with less energy.
“We also added more snowmaking to the Tubing Park. New York state came up with a program to encourage ski areas across the state to create more efficient snowmaking to save energy and, although we were already very efficient, we replaced some of the guns at the park that will be even more efficient,” Eshbaugh said.
Eshbaugh said they are going to add three “fan guns” that look like a giant cannon and are portable, so they can be moved to the exact spot where they are needed. She said three are being installed at the Tubing Park and one at the main resort that they will use in certain spots, like the base of slopes where more snow is needed.
According to Eshbaugh, there are a lot more improvements beyond the snowmaking system. She said the grooming crew has added a new PistenBully 100 groomer to their fleet of six PistenBully 600s.
She said this machine is more maneuverable. It has a smaller blade and tiller for shaping and maintaining terrain park features and other areas that require finer work, including shaped snow learning terrain for beginners. The new groomer also has an attachment for setting one or two cross-country tracks on the resort’s 15 kilometers of cross-country trails.
“We have some trails along the golf course and some that go across the ridge from Cindy’s all the way over to Spruce Lake,” she said. “Those are all natural areas where we don’t make snow so, weather permitting, if there’s a good amount of snow cover, we’ll be able to set track on those trails.”
Slippery Streets is an integral part of Holiday Valley’s beginner’s terrain. Eshbaugh said a new conveyor lift, much like a moving sidewalk people see in an airport, will replace the existing handle tow. She said this will make the trip up the hill much more accessible and enjoyable for beginners, especially snowboarders.
“We also added another conveyor lift at the Tubing Park where we had two handle tows,” she said. “Basically, if you’re at the Tubing Park, you’ll be able to take more slides down the hill in your allotted time.”
The Holiday Valley Mountain Crew cleaned out downed trees and branches in the woods between the slopes this summer to increase the area available for woods skiing and riding.
Eshbaugh said they also created three fun, little trails called “Tree Trails” that run alongside the main slopes through the trees for the children’s program lessons.
Weather permitting, the Holiday Valley snowmaking crew will get started in mid-November for the targeted opening date of Friday, Nov. 23, right after Thanksgiving.
Holiday Valley is Western New York’s largest year-round resort featuring 60 slopes and trails, 13 lifts, three base lodges, slope-side lodging and dining, conference facilities, an 18-hole golf course, a treetop aerial adventure park, a mountain coaster and a summer pool complex.
The resort is located along Route 219, just 50 miles south of Buffalo. For more information, contact Eshbaugh at 699-3904 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit online at holidayvalley.com.