Whaleback Mountain Updates

WhalebackWhaleback intermediate
edited January 2016 in NELSAP Forum Posts: 29
SJ, please see my attachment for the full press release (too many characters for a single post) or on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Whaleback-Mountain/178319650625?fref=ts. Here is an article in our local paper as well:

Our new Mountain Manager and the 2 for 1 gift challenge are both huge for our community supported non-profit mountain. If you have ever had the pleasure of stopping by or just enjoy seeing smaller feeder mountains survive, please consider making a tax-deductible donation however small you can manage. Our new Mountain Manager has already hit the ground running as we already have two weeks of volunteer days under our belt. Work on base facility and trail cleanup is ongoing while lighting and trail improvements will follow. We have had an independent analysis of the snowmaking infrastructure by a respected engineering company to help us take better advantage of the current system, make modifications, and help plan for future upgrades as capital becomes available. 

We know it is easy to truck by us on 89 but we would love to see you all this coming winter. Stop by for some affordable skiing and grab a beer in our lounge and see why Whaleback is a second home to so many. Also, below is the link to our sign up sheet for Volunteer days should you be in the area this summer/fall and want to help out. We should be picking it back up shortly: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0a4fa5af2ba3ff2-whaleback/27917684

I will continue to stop by and post mountain news and answer any questions as I have time.

Thanks,
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Comments

  • edited June 2015 Posts: 1,927
    Thanks for joining the community! It's great to have a member of a mountains staff to give us updates on our favorite mountains! Whaleback is one of my favorite NH areas and thank you and to everyone who has helped rebuild it and make it the great mountain it is today!image
    - Sam
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  • Posts: 1,927
    There have been rumors about a new lift. Is that true at all?
    - Sam
  • WhalebackWhaleback intermediate
    Posts: 29
    Thanks for the welcome and kind words - it has been a group effort!

    Yes,a surface lift is on the master improvement list. It would most likely go either where the old Poma used to be (right hand side of mountain looking up) or up Spout. Two schools of thought there - old poma was a good place for beginners to move up to before trying the chair and would offer early season training on only a few acres of snow vs top to bottom. There were 3 trails of all abilities off of that lift. 

    On the other side a lift on Spout could be used by Thursday Night Race League, other races/training, and most likely the park next door. It comes to funding priorities and if and when the time comes the two locations will be studied more before a decision is made.  
  • Posts: 1,927
    That's great news! Personally I'd love to see another lift where the poma used to be because it would serve a wider variety of terrain and that area is not used as much as the Spout area. The Spout area can get crowded in the current configuration, so I can imagine it would get even more so with a new lift. On the other hand, the old poma area is usually empty of people.
    - Sam
  • Posts: 933
    Whaleback said:

    Thanks for the welcome and kind words - it has been a group effort!


    Yes,a surface lift is on the master improvement list. It would most likely go either where the old Poma used to be (right hand side of mountain looking up) or up Spout. Two schools of thought there - old poma was a good place for beginners to move up to before trying the chair and would offer early season training on only a few acres of snow vs top to bottom. There were 3 trails of all abilities off of that lift. 

    On the other side a lift on Spout could be used by Thursday Night Race League, other races/training, and most likely the park next door. It comes to funding priorities and if and when the time comes the two locations will be studied more before a decision is made.  
    May I throw in a suggestion you install a t-bar? :D :D:D

    IBRAKE
  • adminadmin intermediate
    Posts: 18
    Whaleback donation link added to greetings
    Hooper drives the boat, Chief.
  • WhalebackWhaleback intermediate
    Posts: 29
    Thanks a lot!
  • bmwskierbmwskier advanced
    Posts: 322
    Love to see more operators here! Did Win make the transition over? I emailed him to let him know. 

    "Making ski films is being irresponsible with other people's money, in a responsible sort of way..." 
    Greg Stump
  • NELSAPNELSAP advanced
    Posts: 150
    Whaleback is one of the best - if you haven't been there, be sure to check it out!
  • Posts: 1,927
    NELSAP said:

    Whaleback is one of the best - if you haven't been there, be sure to check it out!

    It really is a great mountain and is easy to get to!
    - Sam
  • Posts: 933
    From the pics it is right there off interstate 89! What's the distance between Whaleback and the resorts further north?
  • Posts: 1,927

    From the pics it is right there off interstate 89! What's the distance between Whaleback and the resorts further north?

    It's less than half an hour away from Dartmouth and is about an hour from many major Vermont areas.
    - Sam
  • MissDaEastMissDaEast intermediate
    edited June 2015 Posts: 56
    I skied Whaleback with my daughter one day.  We were both surprised at how much we enjoyed the experience. A friendly attitude pervaded the lodge.  Everyone seemed to know everyone else, but they were welcoming to us-the strangers. The lodge was a bit tired.  The runs were a lot of fun.  I wish they had better snowmaking because there were some trails that we would have loved to ski, but they weren't open because there wasn't enough snow.

     We both had something happen on the chairlift, however, that spooked me enough to make me think twice about another visit.  On one trip up the mountain, my daughter said that her ski was stuck.  She is prone to getting in silly situations, so I didn't pay much attention, we took care of the problem.  We took about two more runs, and then, I found out what she had been talking about.  I had my feet on the foot rest, and didn't notice that my boot had become wedged in between the bottom of the seat and the boot rest.  When it became time to lift the safety bar, I realized that I was stuck fast, with no wiggle room to make an adjustment. The two of us did everything we could think of to budge my leg, and at the last moment, we were finally able to get it unwedged. For a while, we were both approaching panic mode and were praying that the lift guy at the top of the hill was awake! 

    I don't know what kind of a lift is there (it's pretty old), but the foot rest hangs below the seat about the same distance  that is between the bottom of a ski and the top of a ski boot.  I've never run across this problem before. Is there a way that they could lower the foot rest?  I guess, now that I'm aware of this situation, I probably won't let it happen again, but it was a worry.
  • edited June 2015 Posts: 1,927
    The double there is a wonderful, classic 1970 Poma. Personally I can't say I've ever had any problem with any of the equipment there and last time I visited the snowmaking covered most of the mountain. When was it that you visited? They've upgraded many things in the past few years.
    - Sam
  • WhalebackWhaleback intermediate
    edited June 2015 Posts: 29

    We appreciate the kind words - we do the best with what we have!
  • ski_itski_it expert
    Posts: 1,653


    Skied there last year. Had more fun than at Ragged that day since RM was closed due to the wind, cold and perhaps apathy. I think I had a TR in SJ1.0 :((

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    ISNE-I Skied New England | NESAP-the New England Ski Area Project | SOSA-Saving Our Ski Areas - Location SW of Boston MA
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  • MissDaEastMissDaEast intermediate
    Posts: 56

    The double there is a wonderful, classic 1970 Poma. Personally I can't say I've ever had any problem with any of the equipment there and last time I visited the snowmaking covered most of the mountain. When was it that you visited? They've upgraded many things in the past few years.

    In all fairness, I should have mentioned that we were there in a bad snow year (or at least a bad spell of the year), two seasons ago.  The snowmaking on the runs that we skied, was fine.  In fact, it was so fine that we wished for similar coverage on the other trails that looked inviting, but were without any man-made stuff.  Had it been warmer when I drove past last winter, I would have skied there for sure...I'll bet it was fantastic!  

    So, there are two solutions I can see that would help out:  either our snow dances need to be stepped up, or we could help out more in the fundraising efforts.  Oh, and be sure to make a visit next ski season; it's worth the stop!
  • Posts: 1,927

    The double there is a wonderful, classic 1970 Poma. Personally I can't say I've ever had any problem with any of the equipment there and last time I visited the snowmaking covered most of the mountain. When was it that you visited? They've upgraded many things in the past few years.

    In all fairness, I should have mentioned that we were there in a bad snow year (or at least a bad spell of the year), two seasons ago.  The snowmaking on the runs that we skied, was fine.  In fact, it was so fine that we wished for similar coverage on the other trails that looked inviting, but were without any man-made stuff.  Had it been warmer when I drove past last winter, I would have skied there for sure...I'll bet it was fantastic!  

    So, there are two solutions I can see that would help out:  either our snow dances need to be stepped up, or we could help out more in the fundraising efforts.  Oh, and be sure to make a visit next ski season; it's worth the stop!
    I agree! The snowmaking they do is very nice and we should try to do all three of those things that you mentioned!
    - Sam
  • WhalebackWhaleback intermediate
    edited June 2015 Posts: 29

    Happy summer everyone - I figured I would give everyone an update as to what we are doing up here.

    First off, we have just reached 50% of our minimal fundraising goal of $50,000, with only 2
    weeks left. For those of you not aware, an anonymous couple whose grandchildren love to ski and ride at the Whale have offered a challenge grant to the Upper Valley Snow
    Sports Foundation (UVSSF - the nonprofit that owns Whaleback) to raise $50,000 during the month of June and they will donate $100,000. This funding is vital for continued operations.

    Up on the hill, Volunteer Days are making great progress under our new Mountain Manager. Around the base area the main parking lot has been graded and we are working on doing the same across the river. The upper deck (the one off the second floor of the lodge facing the hill) is being rebuilt as are the walkways to the lower deck. This should be awesome come winter.

    Spout has been trimmed back top to bottom both sides. We started replacing the lights on this trail last year but ran out of time. We plan to finish the project this year which will greatly help for races and training at night.

    Primary trail work continues on Dorsal, where we are widening choke points and fixing dark spots with additional lights. This is going to be our primary beginner route (down to Scrimshaw) off the summit this year. 

    Last year we suffered a lighting failure on Scrimshaw (the lower beginner and the park) and we fully intend to resolve that for this season. This will give us 3 top to bottom lit routes with snowmaking for winter - Spout, Dorsal > Scrimshaw, and Face. They will be opened in that priority order. If the winter goes well we may be able to do more but this is what we agree is the best use of our aging snowmaking system.

    Long story short we are excited about the changes happening and for this upcoming season.

    If you're in the area and want to spend a few hours working on the hill you can check out our volunteer sign up page: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0a4fa5af2ba3ff2-whaleback/27917684

    Also, If you want to consider making your tax free donation now, no matter how small, you can do so here: http://www.whaleback.com/product/donate-uvssf/

    I will stop back as I can - I have attached some photos of the work we are doing.

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  • Posts: 1,927
    Great to see the work being done to improve the mountain!!! I'm looking forward to visiting again!
    - Sam
  • WhalebackWhaleback intermediate
    Posts: 29
    Update - a flurry of last minute activity brought us well beyond our $50K goal - the community really came through. Will have the full tally at some point soon.
  • Posts: 1,927
    Whaleback said:

    Update - a flurry of last minute activity brought us well beyond our $50K goal - the community really came through. Will have the full tally at some point soon.

    Yay! Great news! I was there on Sunday!image
    - Sam
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  • WhalebackWhaleback intermediate
    Posts: 29
    Work continues on the mountain as we clear and clean up the snowmaking plant as well as began the process of preparing and servicing snowmaking and grooming equipment for winter. Up on the hill our Whaleback Core Team widened the narrow section of the Canyon Park and next they will remove the stumps that have been there for years. This will make snow coverage much easier.

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  • MissDaEastMissDaEast intermediate
    Posts: 56
    Impressive Core Team!  That short guy looks ready for action.
  • Posts: 1,927
    I can't wait for the snow to fall! I'll be back on the slopes then!
    - Sam
  • newpylongnewpylong expert
    Posts: 502
    Awesome news! I know the mountain would love to see new faces including those on these boards this winter.
  • WhalebackWhaleback intermediate
    edited July 2015 Posts: 29

    DATE: July 16, 2015

    CONTACT: John Schiffman, Chair, Upper Valley Snow Sports Foundation

    WHALEBACK CHALLENGE SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED

    The Upper Valley Sports Foundation (“UVSSF”), the operator and owner of Whaleback Ski Area, announced that it received charitable donations of $76,016 from 250 individual donors and foundations. This amount successfully exceeded the requirements of an anonymous couple's Challenge grant ($100,000) by $25,806 (50 percent). Completion of the June, 2015 fund drive provides the necessary working capital in order to be able to open Whaleback for the 2015-2016 seasons.

    When they heard about the successful completion of the Challenge campaign, which ended on June 30, 2015, the donors wrote to UVSSF, “We knew the Upper Valley was a great community that values wonderful places for kids to enjoy like Whaleback! We are so happy to hear that the community rose to the challenge - congrats!”

    There was a flurry of donations that were received on the very last day of the campaign. In the final five (5) days 103 donations were received. Cornelia Purcell, UVSSF Board Vice Chair, gratefully acknowledged the wonderful publicinformation support from the Valley News, and acknowledged that without that help the public never would have been properly informed of the opportunity to support Whaleback with their generous donations. She said: “It is the nature of our time that so many people wait until the very last moment, so it was really key to keep the word out there and keep reminding people to step up and help.” Whaleback's new Mountain Manager, Gerd Riess added, "This is a really exciting development; these funds will enable the necessary summer maintenance to be accomplished on schedule and provide the necessary working capital to begin to fund next winter’s ski season activity.".

    OVERALL CAMPAIGN & GOALS:

    When originally created in 2013, UVSSF planned to raise approximately $2,400,000 in order to preserve the Whaleback ski area. So far the organization has raised or been promised $952,807 and is now in the next phase of a multiple year major fund raising drive. That goal is to complete the task by the end of 2016 and raise the next $1,000,000 from many individuals and foundation sources. This money will be used to accomplish major improvements in the snow making systems. When UVSSF acquired Whaleback in 2013, it knew that the more than 30-year old system would have to be modernized. The funds that have been raised to date were used to purchase the area from a bank that had foreclosed on the property, address and remedy the immediate deferred maintenance issues and make sure that Whaleback stayed available to the public without a loss of continuity. Additional improvements were made to the infrastructure in order to bring the sanitation systems up to code. The lodge is a gracious but antiquated building that has a very “retro” feel. As volunteer labor and material become available UVSSF is working on a program to improve the facility by small incremental projects, such as replacing doors, windows, painting, and building a new spacious deck to connect the lodge to the ski hill and to use for functions. The volunteer program at Hypertherm has provided both labor and materials on many of these projects and has been absolutely vital to UVSSF.

    In addition, under the guidance of Mountain Manager Gerd Riess, scores of volunteers are already at work doing the summer maintenance needed to open for next season. Moreover, Charlie Harrison is helping Whaleback with creating mountain bike trails, some of which will be ready for recreational activity next summer.

  • Posts: 1,927
    Sounds like things are going great! I'm very glad to hear that!
    - Sam
  • bmwskierbmwskier advanced
    Posts: 322
    Looking good I want to try and hit it this winter. 

    "Making ski films is being irresponsible with other people's money, in a responsible sort of way..." 
    Greg Stump
  • ChuckstahChuckstah advanced
    Posts: 330
    Under an hour drive. I will most definitely make a point to visit this winter, if not sooner! I have always enjoyed the terrain and looking forward to a return trip. Been too long.
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