Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Opening Saturday - 2 weeks early

Historically, our goal is to open the day after Thanksgiving every year.  This year, opening day will come two weeks early. Our crew spent most of yesterday dealing with a major water leak so we lost a few hours of snowmaking.  By 4pm Monday, the guns were back on and they are still on now.  Looks like we will be able to make snow until mid day today or so. Our Snow Report is updated with what will be open this weekend. Can't wait to rip down Lookout this weekend.  Thank you weather, and thank you to Perry, Emmett, and our team for making an incredible amount of snow.  

Thursday, November 7, 2019

What a night!

We can't remember a first night of snowmaking like last night.  It dropped to 2 degrees in the Village this morning. The first night of snowmaking is always a mystery, especially with all of the work we put into the system, lots of new pipe, new electrical etc.  So far so good with the improvements. I took a tour of the property with Perry or VP of Operations first thing this morning.  I wanted Perry to go turn on a chairlift!  Great night by our team last night and the guns will be roaring all day and into tomorrow morning. We have a lot of work to do in order to open the ski area this early in November; lots of projects to finish up; but we are making progress.  Still too early to project an opening date, but we have our eyes on the 16th...a lot can change so stay tuned...but based on the forecast I see for next week, you may want to get those skis and boards ready.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

What's new in the Village this year? A lot.

We are still finishing the welding of a lot of new snowmaking pipe & finishing the electrical work as part of a snowmaking system upgrade. We are targeting next week to start snowmaking if current forecasts hold true. It's still early and it's still October...but we will be ready next week.

Speaking of upgrades, it was a very busy spring, summer, and fall in the Village.  We almost bit off more than we could chew this year with improvements. We are excited to share with you all of the improvements we made to Welch Village since last year.  Here is a summary of the investments we made this past "off-season"...

Beginner Area Expansion & new Magic Carpet Lift
We are more than doubling our beginner & teaching area which is long overdue.  This will include a brand new 200 ft long Magic Carpet lift.  Our other magic carpet is 100 ft.  We cleared the trees and the old cabin area to make room for this new teaching space and lift.  Our plan right now is that on busy days, both carpets will run.  Each side of each carpet will have space that is open to the public and space that is reserved for lesson guests only.  The space almost ready for the magic carpet which is supposed to arrive on Friday.

The Sweeny Project:  2nd Terrain Park & Jr. Racing Training Hill
With the help of Luhman's Construction, we spent over two months regrading Sweeny & Jon Jon in order to change the pitch of the hill to a 22-23 percent grade.  The slope is also much wider.  The entire slope will now be classified as free-style terrain.  Skier's left will be home to a new line of jumps.  Skier's left will be used for our growing junior race program.  We also improved the snowmaking capacity with new pipe and added more lights.

New decks on the Main Chalet
With the help from Otte Construction (Cannon Falls, MN) we now have two brand new decks on the main chalet. The deck near the Black Diamond Bar, pictured below, was expanded in order for us to add tables and patio heaters.  The new decks will be perfect to enjoy your favorite beverage in the winter but also in the summer & fall perhaps at a wedding event.

New Rental Boot Fleet
Last year we replaced the rental ski fleet.  This year, all new boots from Nordica.  We have also been slowly improving our snowboard rental fleet with Burton LTR equipment.

Snowmaking Upgrades
We added some more snowguns but also added a lot of snowmaking upgrades that you won't be able to see in the form of more pipe, new pipe, bigger pipe, hydrants, electrical etc.  Long story short...will be able to make even more snow!

We are adding and replacing hill lights and chalet lights. Popular runs like Bakkelykka, Sweeny and others will have new lights.  We are also replacing all of the main chalet outdoor lights with all new LED's.

New Jaxx Bathrooms!
Saved the best for last. Yes...its true.  The bathrooms at Jaxx are brand new.  Here is a photo of the tile work this summer...

Watch social media channels next week....hopefully the weather forecasts are true and we can start turning the Village white....

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Great Snow & Back Bowl!

One week ago today, two days after Christmas, we received well over an inch of rain.  Rain.  Between yesterday and today, I skied most of the runs we have open and the snow conditions are incredible.   The snowmaking & grooming crews led by Emmett & Perry have done a remarkable job producing this kind of snow and skiing/riding experience after the weather conditions they were dealt last week.  There isn't a lot you can do with that much rain followed by a cold front but our crew made it happen.  Heading into this weekend, we are planning to open parts of the Back Bowl at some point during the day on Saturday.  Keep checking our snow report for updates.  Also, it's that time of the year when I ask you to help us educate your non-skiing friends & family and remind them that we have plenty of snow and great conditions despite the fact that they don't have snow in the their yards.  With the warmer temps and sun in the forecast, the Village is going to the be place to be...we'll see you on the slopes.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

A Great First Night

How sweet it is to be able to start up snowmaking on November 7th.  Our crew did a great job last night.  We started up around 8:45pm, my oldest daughter turned on the first gun herself, yesterday was her 12th birthday.  Life is good when you can start up Welch Village's snowmaking system for the year on your birthday.  Guns are still roaring now (about 9am) and hope to keep them on as long as possible this morning.  Conditions were pretty good last night, it stayed overcast all night which affects humidity, temps, and the amount of snow we can make.  However, the forecast looks awesome for the next few says and are going to take full advantage.  The best part of last night was the opportunity to test some big improvements we made to our snowmaking system this past summer & fall.  Those improvements included improving the pump station & area, and the piping system located at the river.  We also added and improved pipe around the ski area.  So far...so good with everything. 🤞 You never know how snowmaking capital investments are going to pan out until you put them under a heavy test like we are now.  Still too early to talk opening date...for now....

Turning on the first gun of 2018/19 with Emmett, the Snowmaking Manager himself! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

New SLOW ZONE AREA - Mountain Bike Guests Please Read

You will notice some added Slow signs towards the bottom of our downhill MTB trail system.
From now on, this will be a SLOW ZONE for ALL mountain bike guests.  THE SLOW ZONE begins and ends where all of our trails converge into one trail.  A picture is posted below of where it begins. 

We realize that all riders have different versions of the term, slow.  So please error on the side of caution and slow down more than you think you need to.  This SLOW ZONE will be monitored by our staff and bike patrol.  Riders going too fast will be asked to slow down.  Riders who choose to not slow down could be asked to leave the bike park.

Why the SLOW ZONE? 

~ We are starting to see more riders, which is great, and we are trying to be pro-active with this new policy.  There was NOT an incident that caused this.  The overall high speed of many riders in this area is promoting this.

~ The SLOW ZONE is where ALL of our trails converge for a brief period.  Therefore, ALL types of riders are on the trail here together.  ALL ages and ALL abilities of riders are riding here. Please respect all riders and help offer them a great experience at the Welch MTB Park.

~ Later this summer, we will begin to offer MTB lesson programs.  At some point, you may come  across a small group of students and their coach.  Please slow down to avoid a collision with our lesson guests and to make beginners feel welcome.

~ The only way we are going to grow this sport and grow the Welch Village MTB Park  is by ensuring that we all stay as safe as possible.  Let's give the kids, the families, and the new riders a good experience so we can grow this MTB Park.  Welch Village has been doing this for over 50+ years with skiers and snowboarders.  We want to do the same thing with downhill mountain biking.

~ If you want to Send It...great!....Send it before the SLOW ZONE.

~ As we expand, we hope to add another way down for advanced riders.

*We also brought in a couple loads of fresh clay for the large berm that leads into the smaller bridge and added a smaller berm after this bridge. This should make this area much more ride-able for more riders.

Thank you for abiding by this new policy regarding the SLOW ZONE & Thank you for supporting the new Welch Village MTB Park efforts.  

Take it slow and help us create a great atmosphere for all riders.   A great experience for all riders here is much more important to us than your Strava points :) 

See you on the trails! 
Peter Zotalis, President/GM

Friday, May 25, 2018

MTB Update: New Trail Building & Trail Work

Lots to talk about mountain bike fans!

It's almost like we went from winter straight to summer around here and and as result, most of us down here at Welch, including this guy, has been outside getting trails ready and other things ready for MTB season.  So here is a quick rundown of where we are at:

Trail work
Our crew has been out getting all of last year's trails ready for this year.  Happy to say they survived their first MN winter pretty well!  However, we still have some work to do make sure they are up to snuff for opening day...we want them to look & ride as good as they did last year.  I just walked all of the new trails today to see how they held up with their first test last night, storms w/and 1.5 inches of rain.  They held up great, I was very happy :)

New Trails
Pathfinder Trail Building is about 2 weeks into trail construction already and we love what we see so far.  Here are the new trail projects for this year involving Pathfinder:

~   Completely new re-route of all all the mountain bike trails on the far eastern side of the park.  For those of you familiar with our slopes or trails from last year, we re-routed all the trails off the ski run Harley's Hollow and into a big ravine to the west.  The trails will only cut across Harley's one time via a really big (a fun to ride!) berm.  All riders will converge on this new and wide trail and cross the ravine a couple different times via 2, possibly 3 wooden bridges.

~ New Green Trail.  This trail is nearly complete and it looks really, really, awesome.  The goal was simple, build a trail for all ages & all ability levels.  Last year, the end of the green trail Joy Ride ended up being a little too advanced for novices.  We are confident that this trail will be much more accessible for varying abilities.  Pretty sure my wife and 3 daughters will spend most of the summer on this trail.  Name for this trail is TBD.  Stay tuned.

~ Eagle Eye: Technical Blue Trail with wood and rock features.  This will be a trail that avid mountain bikers will love at first sight.  This will be a trail that is unique to this area.  For those who like to send it...this will be your new favorite!

~ New skills B-Lines.  More info coming soon on this project coming later!

Opening Day & Passes
Opening Day is Saturday June 16th; season passes are on sale now at welchvillage.com

New! MTB Lessons this year...
We are hosting a PMBIA MTB coach accreditation event at the end of June.  We will have several certified MTB coaches after this event.  MTB lesson info will be released very soon.

Below are a bunch of picture of trail work and new trail construction.  More coming next week...have a great Memorial Weekend!