Gondy redux take 2

Nope. Not likely. Although the possibility of pairing the old Big Sky gondy cars now warehoused at the loaf with future castoffs from Loon, when it upgrades its overloaded lift, to create a new-to-you gondy on Sugarloaf’s West Mountain initially seemed like a good idea, it no longer does. So said John Diller at the annual Sugarloafer meeting during Homecoming Weekend. The numbers just don’t support it.

While any talk of new lifts is littered with maybes and possibilities and ifs, the current thinking, Diller said, has three options (in no particular order): a new lift up West Mountain, replacing the Spillway doubles with one fixed-grip quad, or, as he put it, the sexiest option, developing Burnt Mountain. All are on the table, but given the current financial morass, don’t look for anything soon.

What’s new this season is upgraded, expanded, and enhanced snowmaking that should allow the mountain to make snow earlier and hold it longer. New pumps and new fan guns are a big part of that strategy, and Tote Road has been electrified to the top of Chicken Pitch to allow use there. Eventually, that line will go to the top of the SuperQuad.

Biggest thing returnees will notice is the new Beach. It’s been expanded, covered with fancier brick and concrete, and a gas firepit has been added. There’s also an outdoor stage area, which, Diller said, will be used in the spring for outdoor bands. It really does look good.

Another thing ya can’t miss is the new SuperPipe. By digging it out, as opposed to building it with snow, the mountain estimates a $30,000 savings. Not bad. And if you go up on the mountain, you’ll see another major addition to Bullwinkle’s to add much-needed cafeteria side seating.

Midweek grooming will be somewhat cutback this season. Not every trail will be groomed every night, as was beginning to be the pattern recently. Nothing will be neglected to the point of getting icy, but some will be left in their natural state for night or two or three. That’s a move that will thrill some and piss off others.


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