There’s snow on the mountain and the slopes are ready for schussing.
Nelson County’s Wintergreen Resort opened for the winter season on Saturday, complete with more than a million dollars in improvements and additions, including access and tickets for ski lifts and the slopes.
Although no figures for turnout were available, resort officials said skiers were not put off by Saturday’s rain.
“It turned out to be a great weekend. We had visits from our season pass holders and members who have been itching to welcome the new season,” said Betsy Dunkerton, marketing manager. “We also had newbies wanting to learn the sport … and day skiers and riders.”
The resort’s special program offering beginners three free lessons in either skiing or snowboarding was a big hit, Dunkerton said.
“Our ‘3 for Free’ was a big draw and we’ve sold out the program for this year,” she said.
The resort’s official blog noted that Tuesday’s temperatures were conducive to more snowmaking and the same should be true this coming weekend. Officials hope to open more slopes and build the snow base on the tubing routes, according to the blog.
The weekend also saw the opening of “A Very Wintergreen Christmas” cabaret concert featuring favorite holiday songs.
For the new winter season, the 11,000-acre resort added 10 new snow guns with a greater range of working temperatures to create good ski conditions when nature is being less helpful. That gives the resort a total arsenal of 400 snow guns, 45 weather stations and 40,000 linear feet of pipeline in its “Snow Power” snowmaking system.
The guns are “highly efficient,” resort officials said, and are in keeping with Wintergreen’s effort to be ecologically friendly and sustainable.
The resort also rolled out a new cellphone app to provide information on trails, conditions and lift lines and to provide GPS tracking.
“These enhancements are part of Wintergreen’s overall strategy and long-term plan to elevate the guest and member experience, harness technology to become more efficient and streamlined in operations, and use this knowledge to better understand our guests’ patterns so we can serve them more effectively,” General Manager Rod Kessler said in a news release.
The mobile app provides an interactive trail map displaying groomed and open trails, lift schedules, a calendar of events and a resort map identifying where various facilities and services are located. The app also will offer push notifications so guests can take advantage of special deals or announcements.
The app’s GPS feature can track the skier’s location on the resort map so friends can find each other; record total vertical feet skied for the day and season; and display personal records for vertical feet and distance.
App users who want to see how they compare to other skiers and riders can view a leaderboard tallying who has skied the most at the mountain.
Wintergreen also installed a radio frequency identification device ticketing system to allow skiers to reload their lift tickets and season passes from mobile phones or computers.
“Guests will only have to pick up the RFID card at any lift ticket window once, and then they can place the card in a left-side jacket or pant pocket and go directly to the chairlift, where the RFID card will be scanned at a gate and allow the guest to pass and load the chairlift,” according to the release.
Dunkerton said the resort also added new equipment to its rental shop, including skis, boots and helmets.
“There are also enhancements to the culinary offerings and to a whole schedule of events and activities,” she said, noting that there are new menus at six of the resort’s 10 restaurants and upgraded beverages at ski lounges, including a Winterfest Hard Cider collaboration between Blue Toad Hard Cider and the resort.