Whaleback Mountain Updates

2

Comments

  • WhalebackWhaleback intermediate
    Posts: 29
    July Update:

    Following the successful fundraising challenge we are proceeding with summer maintenance and improvements for the upcoming year.

    - Primary groomer broke down multiple times last year: We are doing a 5-6,000 hour maintenance which is essentially a major rebuild. The manufacturer (Prinoth) says once this is done it will be good for another 5-6,000 hours (~ years).

    - Snowmaking improvements: while there is not enough money to purchase an additional pump at this time we are making incremental low cost improvements based on an audit by a snowmaking design company. Multiple valves that restrict water flow are being replace in the pump house. The water pump is being sent out for rebuild. We are replacing some 4" pipe on the mountain with 6" pipe to get more water where we need it. There will also be some other reconfigurations to allow for more efficiency. We plan to install pedestals for 6 HKD tower guns that we own on Dorsal and once that trail is open we will move the guns over to Spout. This will allow for less labor for setup.

    -Dorsal through Rib Cage is just about complete (widening, stumped, graded): This is going to ski a lot different this year and will be our first run to open and our primary beginner run. It has enough pitch to be a great cruiser as well.

    -Lighting: our 3 major routes (Spout T2B, Dorsal to Rib or Dorsal to Scrimshaw, Face) will have significant lighting improvements for this season. This was a huge problem in the past few years.

    -Upper Deck on base lodge is complete. Nice to be able to go out and have a great view of the hill again.

    -Glade skier's right of Blowhole is going to be cleaned out. This was cut over a decade ago and allowed to grow back in.

    -Other minor improvements.

    Our new mountain manager is k*cking a$$ and taking names and we are very lucky to have him at the helm.

    Day ticket prices are going to drop a few $ in hopes of getting more people to the hill. We hope to see you! 


  • Posts: 1,927
    Wow, even cheaper prices?! That's great! I'm also glad to see the groomed being rebuilt because when we showed up there to ski this season the mountain was closed because the trails were too icy and the groomer was broken. We ended up continuing to Vermont and skied at Quechee for the day.
    - Sam
  • newpylongnewpylong expert
    Posts: 502
    http://www.whaleback.com/season-passes-benefits/

    Big time pass benefits this year:

    Adult Unlimited Pass $299  50% off Killington Day tickets all season with exception of Saturdays and Peak Days. Discounts on Sunapee tickets as well. Among others...
  • WhalebackWhaleback intermediate
    Posts: 29
    October 1st Update:

    -You've probably seen the pass prices and benefits our wonderful marketing team posted a while ago
    -Trees have been trimmed from all core routes and we are installing 43 new and used lights. Existing lights are being raised to offer better coverage. We can't wait to see the difference this year.
    -All excavation has long since been completed and many areas are going to only require a fraction of snow to cover. Areas including the previous horrible exit of Scrimshaw/Canyon have been fixed.
    -Water pump has been sent to VT for rebuild
    -Chair has passed 10% chair inspection and load test is pending
    -Primary (Prinoth) groomer has had a full 5,000 hour rebuild
    -Backup utility groomer is having blade installed so we will be able to move snow around in addition to move guns with it
    -Fan guns going out for service
    -Compressor getting serviced

    I think that's about it for now. The mountain looks the best it has looked in years.


    We have a cool event coming up if you're in the area:

    Sunday, October 11 come celebrate and enjoy the first annual Antique Auto and Non-Stock Car Show at Whaleback.  http://www.whaleback.com/car-show/


  • Posts: 1,927
    Whaleback said:

    October 1st Update:


    -You've probably seen the pass prices and benefits our wonderful marketing team posted a while ago
    -Trees have been trimmed from all core routes and we are installing 43 new and used lights. Existing lights are being raised to offer better coverage. We can't wait to see the difference this year.
    -All excavation has long since been completed and many areas are going to only require a fraction of snow to cover. Areas including the previous horrible exit of Scrimshaw/Canyon have been fixed.
    -Water pump has been sent to VT for rebuild
    -Chair has passed 10% chair inspection and load test is pending
    -Primary (Prinoth) groomer has had a full 5,000 hour rebuild
    -Backup utility groomer is having blade installed so we will be able to move snow around in addition to move guns with it
    -Fan guns going out for service
    -Compressor getting serviced

    I think that's about it for now. The mountain looks the best it has looked in years.


    We have a cool event coming up if you're in the area:

    Sunday, October 11 come celebrate and enjoy the first annual Antique Auto and Non-Stock Car Show at Whaleback.  http://www.whaleback.com/car-show/


    Sounds great! I'm looking forward to the upcoming season!
    - Sam
  • bobbuttsbobbutts intermediate
    Posts: 95
    Awesome about the light improvements.  I had complained about them in the past.
  • WhalebackWhaleback intermediate
    edited October 2015 Posts: 29

    Things are progressing well.


    Snowmaking improvements are nearly complete 

    Lighting improvements are progressing with roughly doubling of on hill lights

    Base Lodge ground floor has received new paint, a new wall, and will be receiving new carpet, new lights, and a new door facing the hill.


    We were recently rated #1  in local ski areas by Valley News readers: https://www.facebook.com/whalebackmtn/photos/a.236963480625.288414.178319650625/10156165124020626/?type=3&theater


    Great programs in store for kids this year.

    Great team in place.

    We are stoked to turn the guns on in roughly a month targeting a Christmas opening.


    We sincerely hope that you will visit us and see what we are all about this year.

  • WhalebackWhaleback intermediate
    Posts: 29
    After a tough start to the season we are pleased to announce we are opening for top to bottom skiing/riding on Saturday 9AM. We owe this to a Herculean effort of our snowmakers who have moved heaven and earth in a few short days to make this happen.

    The run off the summit will be Lift Line to Dorsal to Scrimshaw.

    We hope to see returning and new faces this year at our hill.

    I have attached pictures of our snowmaking efforts for you to enjoy.
    20160105_092456.jpg
    3264 x 2448 - 2M
    20160104_184348.jpg
    2560 x 1536 - 244K
    20160105_093727.jpg
    3264 x 2448 - 2M
    20160107_092403.jpg
    3264 x 1836 - 2M
    20160107_091816.jpg
    3264 x 1836 - 2M
  • Posts: 1,927
    Whaleback said:

    After a tough start to the season we are pleased to announce we are opening for top to bottom skiing/riding on Saturday 9AM. We owe this to a Herculean effort of our snowmakers who have moved heaven and earth in a few short days to make this happen.

    The run off the summit will be Lift Line to Dorsal to Scrimshaw.

    We hope to see returning and new faces this year at our hill.

    I have attached pictures of our snowmaking efforts for you to enjoy.

    Great photos! Thanks for the update!
    - Sam
  • RemskiRemski advanced
    Posts: 326
    Nice real nice.
  • WhalebackWhaleback intermediate
    Posts: 29
    Working on Spout this week:


  • WhalebackWhaleback intermediate
    Posts: 29
    Hi SnowJournal, I am posting an update and some illustrations should anyone be interested what is going on over here. Thanks!



    UVSSF Message to Whaleback Community

    5/12/2016

        As we look forward to the upcoming
    season, the Whaleback Board of Directors and senior management have been
    evaluating the past, and Whaleback operations as a whole. This season truly
    revealed where our weaknesses were, many of which have been known for some
    time. Since the formation of UVSSF in 2013, there has been an extensive plan to
    raise funds in order to make capital improvements. To date we have raised $1,030,000
    with an ultimate goal of $2,400,000. Had we been successful in raising this
    entire amount we are confident that our entire snowmaking system would have
    been modernized and Whaleback would be in a different place today.

                    Unfortunately
    that has not been the case, and as an organization, and a business, we are at a
    crossroads. Something must be done in order to preserve Whaleback not only for
    this generation, but the next. In order for that to happen, Whaleback must
    become sustainable, and this cannot be delayed. Through industry and
    demographic changes Whaleback has moved from being a “ski area” to a non-profit
    community supported recreational facility with far less skier visits. Operating
    such a facility with outdated equipment, given our weather, is risky and truly
    challenging.

                    UVSSF
    has crafted a plan to immediately bring Whaleback closer to operational and
    financial sustainability. This plan not only will offer a better product to our
    community and stakeholders, but will give Whaleback the ability to offer a full
    season of skiing and riding in a winter like the one we just suffered through.
    This plan revolves around the procurement and installation of a surface lift on
    the West side of the mountain where one previously existed. This lift will
    serve lower mountain terrain of all abilities. The trail pod will give us the
    ability to use our existing snowmaking system with modest improvements to consistently
    open on time, if not earlier in most years. It will also offer some redundancy
    should a mechanical problem arise with the chairlift. Furthermore, it will give
    our stakeholders the ability to get on snow and train at Whaleback earlier
    while at the same time offer expanded novice terrain that we truly lack. This
    area will have a dedicated early season snowmaking loop using mostly existing
    infrastructure, improved lighting and trail improvements. Finally, the existing
    Learning Center will be reconfigured for additional space and a gradient that
    will be more favorable to true beginners.

                    In a
    “normal” winter, once we have early season terrain open on this lift, we will progress
    to the upper mountain per our traditional schedule.  We are confident that had this lift been in
    service this season, we would have been able to offer an entire season and
    adequate terrain for our school groups, clubs, race league and the public. We
    need the “insurance” this new trail pod provides so we can endure another
    winter like this one. Whaleback must be prepared to survive. Once this strategy
    has been implemented, and the business has stabilized, we will begin the long
    process of working towards the ultimate goal of rebuilding the snowmaking
    system, among other necessary improvements. Having a stable business beneath
    our feet allows us to do this with more confidence and incrementally on our own
    timeline as funding allows.

                    To that
    end, we are happy to report that we will once again have some exciting
    fundraising opportunities this off season to move us towards implementing this
    plan. As the details are solidified in the following weeks, we look forward to
    sharing this news with all of you. Please stay tuned and be ready to join us on
    this exciting, yet hopefully short journey in strengthening Whaleback Mountain,
    a true gem that we are all so lucky to be part of.

    Sincerely,

    The Upper Valley Snow
    Sports Foundation



    whalebacktrailmap_Learning_Area_Existing.jpg
    1582 x 1378 - 2M
    whalebacktrailmap_Learning_Area_Public_Proposed.jpg
    504 x 451 - 192K
  • Posts: 1,927
    That's great! I've been looking forward to a new lift for some time!
    - Sam
  • Posts: 933
    What type of surface lift do they have in mind here: a poma or a t-bar? New or used?

    No clue what's available in the lift boneyards these days....

    IBRAKE
  • newpylongnewpylong expert
    Posts: 502
    There is a used platter that is on the radar.
  • pagamonypagamony advanced
    edited May 2016 Posts: 117
    What is the price difference between a basic installed used double chair and a used platter ?   I realize it is not negligible, and I do love me some surface lifts, but does it seem like if you are going to bet the farm on a lift for earlly, late, and bad seasons that maybe it should be a chair lift even if it only has like 200' of vert ?  

    edit.  boneyard still shows two stowe lifts for sale ... is that right?  only $75k to go... 
  • obienickobienick expert
    edited May 2016 Posts: 853
    I think all fixed grip prices are nearly the same whether it's a double or quad or whatnot.  

    For reference, Camden Snowbowl spent somewhere on the order of $1.1M on purchase, transport, refurbishment, engineering, and installation of their new-to-them triple.  IIRC they had somewhat of a discount on purchase price from Shawnee.  IIRC they paid $110k for a 4000 ft triple.

    Lift prices seem to have a high "base" cost and a relatively small "per foot" cost.  After all, a brand-new drive terminal is $800k!

    Compare that to a new lift.  Both Sugarloaf and Sugarbush paid $3M for their new FG quads.  The Mittersill double was $2.6M and Greek Peak's 3200-ft quad was $2.5M.
  • WhalebackWhaleback intermediate
    edited May 2016 Posts: 29
    pagamony said:

    What is the price difference between a basic installed used double chair and a used platter ?   I realize it is not negligible, and I do love me some surface lifts, but does it seem like if you are going to bet the farm on a lift for earlly, late, and bad seasons that maybe it should be a chair lift even if it only has like 200' of vert ?  


    edit.  boneyard still shows two stowe lifts for sale ... is that right?  only $75k to go... 
    Good evening,

    The price being ballparked for the platter installed is $80K. Used chairs, even for such a short length are simply unaffordable for us.

    The goal of the endeavour is to decrease operational costs when necessary, not increase them. Once installed, surface lifts have far cheaper yearly inspection costs, are cheaper to run, and are exponentially cheaper to maintain.

    80% of our core clientele can be served by this surface lift in a terrible year if absolutely necessary. In a normal year, when it serves early season and beginner terrain, 100% core clientel can be served. In these years it will supplement the the chair. We feel if we are going to take out both an insurance policy and perform terrain improvements it should have the highest ROI and the best chance of bringing us closer to sustainability.

    We expect to share some extremely exciting news on fundraising opportunities later this week!
  • Posts: 933
    This makes worlds of sense. By any chance could the platter be converted to a t-bar, if need be? Then you could have double the uphill capacity.
  • pagamonypagamony advanced
    Posts: 117
    definitely go for it and good luck.  we'll be rooting for you, and hopefully visiting.  thanks for the real time updates.  
  • WhalebackWhaleback intermediate
    edited May 2016 Posts: 29

    To answer the above question - the Platter likely cannot be converted to a T-bar due to engine HP. That said, there is also a possibility of a T-bar install as well. We are doing  more homework on our side to see which lift fits us best and what the prices will be.


    Please see below for exciting news:


    Dear Whaleback Friends,

    Two weeks ago we mentioned we would be
    sharing news with all of you about exciting upcoming fundraising opportunities.
    Without further ado:

    As you know, the 2015–2016 winter was a particularly
    challenging one for northeastern ski areas. Thanks to your contributions of
    time, money, work, and resources, along with revenue from season passes,
    programs and lift ticket sales, Whaleback was able to stay afloat in our non-profit
    business model. This is a place where you
    count.

    What we learned from this winter is that we
    need a fallback plan for when El Niño comes again, or whenever we have limited
    snowmaking weather. We need to be able to make snow on a reduced amount of
    acreage, using our existing snowmaking, in marginal conditions, in a short
    amount of time so that we can guarantee something
    will be open for our community, our after-school programs, our race groups, our
    camps and lessons. We also want to get you gliding, sliding, carving and
    whooshing your way down Whaleback starting earlier in December, not January!

    2016 Summer Challenge

    With your help, we will add a used surface lift on the lower West Side of the
    mountain, where one previously existed. The existing Learning Center will be
    reconfigured. We will also install a dedicated snowmaking loop using mostly
    existing infrastructure and improve the lighting on Lower Face, Blubber and
    Lower Ivory, all this summer & fall.
    This will reduce the acreage required to open from the current 25 acres to just
    5 acres, meaning that we can open in 3 days of optimal temps, rather than the
    current 10 days it requires. This will allow us to get on snow earlier in the
    year and remain open throughout a terrible winter such as the one we just
    endured.

    To accomplish this we need to raise $100,000
    from the community by June 30th, 2016, in order to receive the (drumroll,
    please!) $200,000 Challenge Grant pledged by a pool of Whaleback
    supporters! Your $100,000 will cover the cost of the surface lift and
    installation; the $200,000 from the Challenge Grant will cover improvements to
    snowmaking, new lighting, required summer maintenance to the chairlift, needed
    machinery repairs, upkeep, operating expenses, etc.

    That's right, 2:1 Match for Every Dollar of Your Gift

    For every $1 you give, $2 will be
    released immediately from the Challenge Grant and put to work ensuring December
    skiing and riding. Your gift must arrive by June 30th to count toward the 2:1 Match, so
    don't delay! A $500 gift has $1,500 impact—wow! 
    Click and donate!

    We will
    routinely keep everyone up to date with how the challenge is progressing.

    Thank you, The UVSSF Board

     

  • WhalebackWhaleback intermediate
    edited June 2016 Posts: 29

    Hi SJ, please see below:


    Dear Whaleback Friends,


    A few weeks ago we gave you a taste of the work that is in progress on the West
    Side Project. For those of you who have not had the chance to see the pictures
    or to come see for yourself, we have taken some (very amateur) video to give you
    a better idea.

    Click the following link to watch:
    https://vimeo.com/172181578#t=NaNs


    As of right now we have raised $20K out of our challenge goal of $100K. We
    are overjoyed at the contributions so far. This project will allow Whaleback to offer
    expanded learning and training facilities, get on snow earlier in the year, and
    remain open throughout a terrible winter such as the one we just endured. These
    are all critical elements to the sustainability of Whaleback.


    Please consider a tax-free donation to ensure that the West Side project is
    completed and Whaleback is preserved for generations to come: http://www.whaleback.com/donation. Remember, for every $1 we receive in
    donations, we receive $2 in matching challenge funds.
    For detailed information on the project and fundraising challenge
    please visit http://www.whaleback.com
     
    The UVSSF Board
     





  • Posts: 1,927
    Dear Whale Friends,

    We have several important updates for you!
    Through many generous donations we were able to raise $56,310 out of our goal of $100,000!
    Realizing how critical the West Side Project is to the 2016-2017 season, our Challenge donors and UVSSF have mutually agreed to extend the Fundraising Challenge until July 31st!
    We have taken advantage of an incredible deal and proceeded with the purchase of the used T-Bar lift! When we started this challenge we told you that your donations would go towards this and they are.
    Though the majority of the project work is going to be done in-house by our staff, the cost of the lift installation is going to vastly exceed the cost of the actual lift. This is why reaching our goal is so important - the lift will not go in if we cannot hit our mark.

    We want you to be part of this, and it cannot happen without you. We know we can hit our goal, we are over halfway there!

    Please consider making a tax deductible donation to your community mountain and help UVSSF continue to provide a safe, affordable and convenient snow experience for children, families and individuals. Donations can be made online at www.whaleback.com/donation or by mailing your gift to UVSSF, 160 Whaleback Mountain Road, Enfield, NH 03748.

    Thank you in advance for your help.

    -The Whaleback Crew
    - Sam
  • WhalebackWhaleback intermediate
    edited July 2016 Posts: 29
    Just stopped by to post the news, you beat me to it!

    We hope we are successful in raising the rest of the funds and we hope to see all of you this year to celebrate this wonderful achievement and asset to the area. 

    For all you lift nuts, the lift was formerly the Bunny Hop T-bar of Plattekill, NY and is a 1981 Hall that has been in storage since it was decommissioned in the mid 2000s.
  • Posts: 933
    Nice to see a Hall t-bar be freshly installed again!

    IBRAKE
  • Posts: 1,927
    Whaleback Moving Forward with Surface Lift Project

    NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com


    Just days after extending a fundraising deadline, the Upper Valley Snow Sports Foundation (UVSSF) has announced it will be taking delivery of a used T-Bar lift at Whaleback. If it reaches its fundraising goals, UVSSF plans to install the lift on the former Poma lift line.

    Whaleback was unable to open its main mountain last season until January 9 and struggled to keep it open until closing day on February 28. In 2014-15, Whaleback operated from January 13 until March 29. As a result of snowmaking woes, UVSSF has decided to restore the west side surface lift so that the mountain can be opened with less snowmaking.

    In a May 12 release, UVSSF stated:

    "To date we have raised $1,030,000 with an ultimate goal of $2,400,000. Had we been successful in raising this entire amount we are confident that our entire snowmaking system would have been modernized and Whaleback would be in a different place today.
    "Unfortunately that has not been the case, and as an organization, and a business, we are at a crossroads. Something must be done in order to preserve Whaleback not only for this generation, but the next. In order for that to happen, Whaleback must become sustainable, and this cannot be delayed."

    "This plan revolves around the procurement and installation of a surface lift on the West side of the mountain where one previously existed. This lift will serve lower mountain terrain of all abilities. The trail pod will give us the ability to use our existing snowmaking system with modest improvements to consistently open on time, if not earlier in most years."

    A Poma lift was installed on the west side of the mountain in the late 1970s and was removed circa the early 2000s. At one point, a previous ownership group was reportedly attempting to replace the Poma with the double chairlift once located at nearby Snow Hill at Eastman. Previous management had hoped to construct one or more surface lifts by acquiring portions of various surface lifts, including a Mueller T-Bar from Moose Mountain, NH, but was unable to complete the project.

    According to fundraising announcements this spring, if the UVSSF can raise $100,000, key donors will contribute $200,000 to the project. As of today, UVSSF reports $60,055 has been raised with a new deadline of July 31.

    UVSSF has used part of the money raised to acquire a used Hall T-Bar from Plattekill, NY. While the lift is expected to be delivered next week, engineering and installation will require additional funds. The lift is would be roughly 900 feet long by 200 vertical feet and is expected to serve three short trails.

    Located just off I-89 south of Lebanon, Whaleback has struggled through numerous bankruptcies over its 60 year history. The non-profit Upper Valley Snow Sports Foundation took control of the ski area starting with the 2013-14 season. The mountain is served by a 658 vertical foot 1970 Heron-Poma double chairlift, as well as short beginner surface lifts.

    http://www.newenglandskiindustry.com/viewstory.php?storyid=454
    - Sam
  • bubblecufferbubblecuffer advanced
    Posts: 262
    Yum!  Another northeast T-bar.

    Anyone keeping a tally of these?  I know Ward Hill has a sweet one.  Otis Ridge.  What else?  There has to be only a handful left.


  • edited July 2016 Posts: 1,927

    Yum!  Another northeast T-bar.


    Anyone keeping a tally of these?  I know Ward Hill has a sweet one.  Otis Ridge.  What else?  There has to be only a handful left.


    There are many left in New England! Here's a list: http://newenglandskihistory.com/lifts/standingsurfacelifts.php
    - Sam
  • Posts: 1,927
    Dear Whale Friends,

    We are down to 2 weeks left in our Fundraising Challenge and we are up to $87,669 of our $100,000 goal!

    Last week we also had a special delivery, all the way from Plattekill, NY - the first sections of our T-bar! All of the steel is going to get a fresh coat of paint before going up the hill, what color would you like to see?

    Just a reminder, the cost of installing this lift will greatly exceed the purchase price - this is why it is necessary to meet or exceed our $100,000 goal for this to become a reality.

    The T-Bar along with the Learning Area, trail, lighting, and snowmaking improvements will make this the largest capital project in scope since snowmaking was installed in the 80s. We want you to be part of it, this is your community mountain after all.

    Stay tuned and if you have not already, please consider making a tax deductible donation and help UVSSF continue to provide a safe, affordable and convenient snow experience for children, families and individuals. Donations can be made online at www.whaleback.com/donation or by mailing your gift to UVSSF, 160 Whaleback Mountain Road, Enfield, NH 03748.

    Thank you in advance for your help.

    The Whaleback Crew
    Gerd, Todd, Nora and Stacey

    The UVSSF Board
    Cathy Bean - Enfield, NH
    Willy Black - Hanover, NH
    Norm Berman - Meriden, NH
    Rob Calhoun - Brownsville, VT
    Laura Dykstra - Lebanon, NH
    Kris Graham - Norwich, VT
    Brad Hastings - Grafton, NH
    Nicole Hall Hewett - Meriden, NH
    William Malcolm - Lyme, NH
    Cornelia Purcell - Hanover, NH
    John Schiffman - Hanover, NH
    Robert West - Enfield, NH
    - Sam
  • WhalebackWhaleback intermediate
    Posts: 29
    Tower
    T-Bar_tower_small.jpg
    656 x 369 - 236K
Sign In or Register to comment.