Waterville Valley Resort President and General Manager, Tim Smith, stopped by the Waterville Valley Resort Association board meeting on Wednesday. He gave an update on Phase II plans and financing and made himself available for questions and comments.
Tim reiterated what you’ve read here in my blog and on social media. Waterville Valley Resort (owner of the ski area, conference center and Town Square) secured financing in the amount of $7.5 million from Provident Bank to apply towards capital improvements, which began last year with the Green Peak Expansion.
Of the $7.5 million dollars, $1.5 million will be used to refinance a short term loan used for Green Peak last fall. The remaining money will be used to upgrade infrastructure including Green Peak, as well as adding some summer activities like disc golf, an outdoor climbing wall, etc.
Infrastructure priorities include replacing the J-bar with two magic carpets (currently waiting on DES final approval). There will be two distinct learning areas offering a much improved beginner experience. One magic carpet will access a flat terrain teaching area on lower Pasture, and the other magic carpet will access a second learning area at the top of Pasture.
The High Country lift is old. There’s nothing really wrong with it other than it needs some maintenance. One of the challenges to this 50-year-old lift is its location – an exposed part of the mountain that sees a lot of wind, AND it obstructs skiing in a natural snow bowl. The resort has already made some major repairs to the lift, including replacing the drive. The State of New Hampshire wanted the lift installer to inspect it, but that’s impossible since the company no longer exists. Tim said the ski area lost a lot of customer confidence in the lift, so he wants to replace the High Country double, but wants to make sure they put the right lift up there and in the right location. They are working closely with the Forest Service and are looking at adding a t-bar that will run at almost twice the speed (700 feet per minute) than the existing double chair (300 feet per minute). Tim wants to move the new lift all the way to left which will open up the whole bowl to skiers. BBTS is very excited about this plan because High Country provides them with a heavy training area. Tim said they also want to make improvements/upgrades to existing lifts, but they will not make any public announcements until they have final contracts and timelines in place.
Snowmaking piping is being installed on Green Peak right now. Tim expects to have about 60% snowmaking capability. His mountain manager, Barry St. Cyr, is more optimistic and thinks they’ll end up with 80% snowmaking coverage. The ski area is growing their in-house capabilities and are handling this work themselves.
Unfortunately for us (and Tim), he had to cut his report short as he had to run to a dentist appointment.
As you might imagine, Tim is a super busy guy right now. BUT, he’s also super personable and full of energy and enthusiasm. He’ll give you the scoop on what’s happening in Waterville Valley in an honest and forthright manner. Don’t hesitate to ask him your burning questions or share your brilliant ides. Or, if you can’t keep up with him (literally, he moves at the speed of light), post your questions/ideas here and I’ll pass them along.