Magic Mountain 2/19/2017

edited February 20 in Trip Reports Posts: 1,738
Wow! What a day at Magic! I'm sure everyone has heard about the lines which were sometimes 20 minutes long and they had to stop selling tickets around 11:30. However in the first and last few hours lines were not bad at all. It was in the upper 30s and 40s thought the day and very sunny. The snow started as scratchy and bulletproof, but became soft hero snow as the sun warmed it. All lifts were running and all trails were open except for the top of Black Magic and Magician. Moguls formed on many ungroomed trails, especially on large parts of Red Line and Black Line. Green Line had very thin cover and there was a short, but mandatory ledge drop on one section. The glades had good cover, but it was sometimes a bit hard to turn in the deep wet snow.

Magic has long been one of my favorite places to ski and today definitely reinforced that. Green and blue cruisers were groomed to perfection and were perfect to ski in the morning when everything was still hard. There were many ungroomed options, even on blue and green trails. Of course Magic has more than enough steeps to go around. Black Line, Green Line, Red Line, and Slide of Hans are some of the best double black trails I've skied anywhere. There are also many glade options from easier glades like Disappering Act to much steeper glades such as The Wardrobe and Goniff Glade. There is also a steep glades area alongside skier's right of Red Line which is similar to the upper parts of The Wardrobe, but steeper. Yesterday was the kind of day that they really could have taken advantage of the Green Chair, but even with the lines it was one of the best days I've skied so far this year.

Red ChairimageThe Unfinished Green ChairimageThe Unfinished Green ChairimageBlack ChairimageBlack Chair & Black LineimageBlack Chair Unload and Snow SculptureimageBlack Chair ReturnimageBlack LineimageBlack Chair Loading Before the CrowdsimageLooking Towards Goniff GladesimageThe Unfinished Green ChairimageLooking Down Green LineimageDisappering ActimageMid-Day CrowdsimageRed Chair Above Red LineimageLooking Up the Black Chair & Black LineimageBlack LineimageRed Chair Above Red LineimageLedges on Red LineimageGoniff GladesimageGlades Along Red LineimageGlades Along Red Lineimage
- Sam
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Comments

  • ciscokidciscokid expert
    edited February 20 Posts: 1,161
    One word Awesome!!!!

    Good to see them "thriving"

    Did you happen to see Rick Bolger and company?
  • mapnutmapnut expert
    Posts: 699
    It looks like the Black Chair was running but not many people rode it?
  • trackbikertrackbiker intermediate
    Posts: 83
    Lines for the Black Chair were the same or longer than the Red Chair. Racers kept squeezing in. Plus that Chair seems to run slower.
  • marcskimarcski advanced
    Posts: 198
    Nice. I am planning on heading over to Magic one day this week.
  • obienickobienick expert
    Posts: 759
    Why not just remove 1/3 of the chairs?  Loading a triple with 2 people (especially with common knowledge of how s***t Black is) gives a very bad impression.
  • edited February 21 Posts: 1,738
    ciscokid said:

    One word Awesome!!!!

    Good to see them "thriving"

    Did you happen to see Rick Bolger and company?

    It is good to see them doing do well. No, I didn't see them
    mapnut said:

    It looks like the Black Chair was running but not many people rode it?

    It was at least as packed as the Red Cair, especially with the racers.
    obienick said:

    Why not just remove 1/3 of the chairs?  Loading a triple with 2 people (especially with common knowledge of how s***t Black is) gives a very bad impression.

    I overheard a good number of conversations about it in the lift line. Hopefully the new management will put some money into it over the summer and get it cleaned up.
    - Sam
  • newpylongnewpylong advanced
    edited February 21 Posts: 437
    obienick said:

    Why not just remove 1/3 of the chairs?  Loading a triple with 2 people (especially with common knowledge of how s***t Black is) gives a very bad impression.

    It's a pain in the ass to move every single chair (either offline or spacing) to achieve the same effect as loading as a double for a month and a half. They said they are replacing the motor to handle the fully loaded weight why bother changing chairs now.

    That bad impression must not be all that bad considering the lift was jammed all weekend.

  • MrMagicMrMagic advanced
    Posts: 109
    newpylong said:

    obienick said:

    Why not just remove 1/3 of the chairs?  Loading a triple with 2 people (especially with common knowledge of how s***t Black is) gives a very bad impression.



    That bad impression must not be all that bad considering the lift was jammed all weekend.

    A worse impression would be if it was not open at all
  • ME2VTskierME2VTskier intermediate
    Posts: 78
    MrMagic said:

    newpylong said:

    obienick said:

    Why not just remove 1/3 of the chairs?  Loading a triple with 2 people (especially with common knowledge of how s***t Black is) gives a very bad impression.



    That bad impression must not be all that bad considering the lift was jammed all weekend.

    A worse impression would be if it was not open at all
    Exactly! Glad they got their repairs completed and it pass inspection in time for the holiday. Seems like their efforts are meeting expectations. If they say they want to update the motor back to original power sufficient to drive a full load, then I'd be willing to bet good money they are going to accomplish that for next season.
  • bubblecufferbubblecuffer advanced
    Posts: 235
    A big "Like" for the picture titled "Red Chair Above Red Line".

    Nice report.  Further proof that resorts are doing well this February break!
  • ciscokidciscokid expert
    Posts: 1,161
    I like seeing sun mountain in the distance by Fred in this pic
    Ok couple stupid questions, what brand is the red chair? Which was the original Polig?And besides the black chair that just " reopened" where is the green chair? I don't see it on their trail map. Is Timber ridge still accessible from summit?

    Stopped by Magic Labor Day '07 after riding the gondy at Stratton with the wife. Beautiful area

    Anyone else get pics on Sunday?
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  • riverc0ilriverc0il advanced
    Posts: 221
    The two riders per chair on Black isn't new, that is how Black has run for a while now (when it has run). Glad to see it back in operation. Hopefully Magic can reinvest some money into its lifts sooner rather than later. The big question remains is will people continue to hit up Magic after the holiday period is over and there haven't been a recent storms. I think Magic's biggest obstacle for long term viability is the perception that you only hit Magic on or just after a powder day.
  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    edited February 21 Posts: 929
    riverc0il said:

     I think Magic's biggest obstacle for long term viability is the perception that you only hit Magic on or just after a powder day.

    Interesting perspective; probably dates back to Hans Thorner's refusal to install snowmaking for a few years.  I think Magic's biggest obstacle is the perception created by certain previous versions of Magic management, what with the closures, foreclosures, inability to make payroll, inability to pay bills, semi-installed lift, non operational lift, tax penalties, neglected maintenance, amateurish marketing, and general weirdness.  

    If the new management can continue on the path it has planned, they should overcome that perception.  Based on what I saw Sunday, they are on the right track!  
  • Posts: 1,738
    ciscokid said:

    I like seeing sun mountain in the distance by Fred in this pic
    Ok couple stupid questions, what brand is the red chair? Which was the original Polig?And besides the black chair that just " reopened" where is the green chair? I don't see it on their trail map. Is Timber ridge still accessible from summit?

    Stopped by Magic Labor Day '07 after riding the gondy at Stratton with the wife. Beautiful area

    Anyone else get pics on Sunday?


    The Red Chair is a Heron. The Black Chair is a Pohlig with Yan chairs. The Green Chair is an unfinished Borving which is located where Green Line is marked on the trail map. The connector trail to Timber Ridge still seemed clear from the summit.
    - Sam
  • ciscokidciscokid expert
    Posts: 1,161
    I nominate this as the most positive magic thread in snowjournal history , it's a great feeling
  • trackbikertrackbiker intermediate
    Posts: 83
    ciscokid said:

     where is the green chair? I don't see it on their trail map......
    Beautiful area

    Anyone else get pics on Sunday?



    The unfinished green chair is the one in the photo you posted with your quote above.

    Unfortunately I left my phone in the car and didn't get any photos on Sunday.

  • edited February 22 Posts: 1,738
    Anyone have skier visit number from the last few years? I'd be interested to see how they compare to this season when it's over.
    - Sam
  • slathamslatham intermediate
    edited February 22 Posts: 83
    Best years of late have been 25-26k skier visits and those years they were break-even. That compares with the big locals being 400k+ and Bromley 110 or so. The market then is about 1 million (using Stratton, Brom, Okemo). Not sure the exact math of current owners but there was a lot of analysis around Magic being viable by gaining only 1% more market share points or 10,000 skiers to 35k total. My guess is that the recent expenditures have upped that number but I find it hard to believe they based the plan on anything more than 50k. While that is a double, we have seen the crowds they can draw and with more early season snowmaking that will put them in the mix for Christmas and better positioned for MLK, not to mention all the December and January weekends that even this year they mostly lost. Plenty of upside and certainly, finally, the right crew to get the job done.

    Separate note, given what Lifts Unlimited (or whatever they're called) did with Black, I am more optimistic they can in fact resurrect Phoenix (Green, mid-Mountian) lift.
  • ciscokidciscokid expert
    Posts: 1,161
  • mapnutmapnut expert
    Posts: 699
    I seem to recall seeing photos of the Green chair showing that at least one tower is out of alignment, i.e. not vertical.
  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    edited February 22 Posts: 929
    slatham said:

     optimistic they can in fact resurrect Phoenix (Green, mid-Mountian) lift.

    well I don't want to steal your thunder or diminish all this Magic magic, however, this would be like taking a broken egg, putting a band-aid on it, and waiting for a chicken    ;)
  • obienickobienick expert
    edited February 22 Posts: 759
    But also Green is of an archaic design (hanging sheaves read: Spillway) and has had vital components rusting away uncovered for a decade on the mountain and perhaps for another decade in their parking lot. It's the original Betwixed Double from Stratton that was removed about 20 years ago.

    IMHO it's not worth it to save either Green or Black.  Especially when Black was a one-off lift that was heavily modified over 30 years ago by an also out-of-business manufacturer. They've had issues for years getting parts for it. Everything has to be made to order.   I think I've also read the towers are too small to take 3 people per chair.  

    IMHO Black is really only savable if they do the SkyTrac multi-year replacement. That way Magic can put a "little" money into it every couple of years.  Probably Green falls in this boat too.

    Magic just needs about $6M to be pumped in in the form of 3 new lifts (summit, Green, bunny) and pump and compressor capacity. They made a huge stride with their HKDs this year.  That means they can now make more snow for cheaper.  If the old HDK sales docs are true, this is something that should have been done 5+ years ago.  Lease even more if needed to with the expanded system. 

    Magic can certainly do a heck of a lot better than 50k with a heavy-for-them hand at snowmaking (read: for Christmas get a green, blue, and black off the top, get Showoff in addition to Hocus Pocus open for racers, and the bunny slope open).  Then spend January building bases and/or secondary trails (i.e. Sorcerer).  Pretty much everything else as it is today: keep natural.   

    A handle tow and one route down (with Upper MC for beginners) just doesn't cut it these days with beginners or advanced skiers. Magic could rebrand themselves as a great place for beginners (which they would be with cheaper tickets, and greens off of every lift).  Because if you're going to spend $67 to ski Magic, you might as well ski Bromely for $7 more. This will be true until Magic reinviente themselves with reliable snowmaking, and a bunny slope.
  • newpylongnewpylong advanced
    edited February 22 Posts: 437
    You replace the cross arms on the towers and the drive terminals (if they are too far gone) on the Green chair, far cheaper than tearing down and putting in new towers. These retrofits have been done before on Borvigs.

    The towers on Black are fine for a triple, ran that way for years. The drive needs upgrading. He says he's gonna do that.

    They don't really need pump capacity, and additional compressors can be leased (they lease all of their air now and now use nearly all Low E so less air). What they need is a booster station (or more than 1) because they are pumping water up 1500 vert from the base and get terrible pressure near the top and they plan on doing that.

    I think there is far too much armchairing these guys - they know what they are doing. Let it take it's course.
  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    Posts: 929
    ciscokid said:

     Anyone else get pics on Sunday?

    Yes.  Sans helmet, just for you Cisco!  Cheers!


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  • ciscokidciscokid expert
    Posts: 1,161
    Ah yes the dynamic duo

    Handsome devils
  • slathamslatham intermediate
    edited February 23 Posts: 83
    Put $6m into Magic and you will never earn any return.

    I am not going to "armchair" this as I am no expert on lifts. What I heard was directly from the lift guys. Green can be fixed. Whether they decide to spend the money to do so is a different question.

    Per Black, it's the drive that is the issue with triple vs double.

    Re pumping, they have told me they would like a mid mountain booster pump to get more water up top.

    I agree that during a normal year Christmas should see a green, Blue and Black top to bottom trails.
  • JimKJimK advanced
    Posts: 194
    ciscokid said:

    I nominate this as the most positive magic thread in snowjournal history , it's a great feeling

    CONCUR! Skied Magic back in the 80s, but it didn't have this kind of coverage. Best wishes to the new management and glad they had nice help from Mother Nature in first year of ownership.
  • ME2VTskierME2VTskier intermediate
    Posts: 78
    newpylong said:

    You replace the cross arms on the towers and the drive terminals (if they are too far gone) on the Green chair, far cheaper than tearing down and putting in new towers. These retrofits have been done before on Borvigs.


    The towers on Black are fine for a triple, ran that way for years. The drive needs upgrading. He says he's gonna do that.

    They don't really need pump capacity, and additional compressors can be leased (they lease all of their air now and now use nearly all Low E so less air). What they need is a booster station (or more than 1) because they are pumping water up 1500 vert from the base and get terrible pressure near the top and they plan on doing that.

    I think there is far too much armchairing these guys - they know what they are doing. Let it take it's course.
    Exactly. Even if one of the Green towers is out of alignment, big deal. Take it down and re-pour the footing for it. It's only one tower.
  • newmannewman advanced
    Posts: 143
    What if its more than one? Engineering is not cheap for this kind of thing.
  • newpylongnewpylong advanced
    edited February 25 Posts: 437
    Engineering to take down and repour existing towers is peanuts compared to putting another lift in. You're keeping a similar if not same elevation profile, same geo and soil analysis, the list goes on and on.
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