Saturday, December 27, 2014

This is more like it!

I was able to get on the hill for a several runs right after we opened this morning and the conditions were simply excellent.  Not only were the few inches of fresh snow great but so was the the blue sky and sunshine at times.  What a difference a few inches of fresh snow makes!  Every person I rode the chairlift with and talked to around the ski area today was having a great experience at the Village.  From the Madd Jaxx patrons enjoying the craft beer, pizza, and wings to the young Welch D-Team racers shredding the powder and practicing their drills.  All the lesson takers young & old at the learning areas were having a great time learning this great sport for the first time.  It's supposed to get a little colder next week but the forecasters are telling us that more sunshine is also in the forecast.  FYI...we will probably start-up snowmaking operations again soon to add to our base and expand our skiable terrain.  This snowfall will really help our snow conditions and we are looking forward too a great holiday week coming coming up.

Photos from around Welch Village today:

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Great Snow, Back Bowl?

Yes it was another cloudy day but other than that, the conditions were excellent today.  The snow we made this week after the warmth and rain earlier in the week made a huge difference.  There is a chance that we may be able to open the Back Bowl on Sunday. Keep your fingers crossed....we'll see...

Friday, December 19, 2014

FREE NASTAR this Sunday!

From our race director Tammy Coyne, Free NASTAR this Sunday!

Sunday 12/21  Sl/GS Nastar  (Try it free day!)
The first SL/GS Nastar of the season is this Sunday Morning!..and it's try it free for those who have never raced our SL/GS Nastar before. If you have...bring  someone new, and it's free for you too!
The race will be on Lookout starting at 10am
Registration will be in the Vista Room (Main chalet, 2nd floor)
Cost: SL/GS Nastar (5.00 for 2 runs, 10.00 for unlimited, or 70.00 for a Nastar Season pass)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Snow, Snow, and more snow

This week and last week I have to keep reminding myself that it's mid-November and not mid-December or January.  It's incredible the amount of snow we are making right now. In fact, at times, it's almost possible for us to make too much snow.  The size of some of these piles is hard to believe.  It's going to take us several days to push all of this snow around until we are able to accurately predict how many runs will be open this weekend and which runs those will be.  Right now, it's a pretty good bet that we'll have at least Heidi's Hollow (beginner hill), Nanny's Nob, Fowl Play, Lookout, Harley's Hollow, and Dan's Dive open.  We are hoping to have at least 10 runs open by Saturday if not more. We will have a more accurate snow report on Thursday.  The skiing and riding is going to be fabulous this weekend. Sorry, due to renovations, no Madd Jaxx yet.  We are hoping Madd Jaxx can open after Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 14, 2014

A Message from Leigh Nelson

To: Welch Village Friends and Family:

As we open for another season we need to reflect on both the differences and the similarities five decades of time generates:

Season 1965-66

Lift(s) - One 1200 ft T-bar, One Rope Tow
Slopes - Three (Lookout, Wild Finale, Fowl Play)
Snow Rate - 150 gal/min from 12 air/water guns
Groomers - Polaris sled, John Deere Cat
Rentals - 100 Hart Wood skiis, cable bindings
Weather - Rain on December 24, open Jan 1
Members - Nelson families

Season 2014-15

Nine Chairlifts (Five Quads, one triple, three doubles), One Carpet
Sixty Runs on Five Hills (Far West, West, East, Far East, Back Bowl)
4500 gal/min from over 150 airless snow machines
Four Piston Bully Machines
1600 Shaped rental skis, boots, bindings
Snow and cold on November 11
Several thousand Members

During that first season, we were scrambling to build the original chalet (which is still there and used), finish clearing the slopes, install the T-bar lift, design and build the rope tow and the snow makers, hire and train ourselves and our first employees, and take care of our young families while being employed full time at jobs that paid the bills. Somehow, with hard work, long hours, helpful neighbors and friends, and lots of prayer support, we made it through the first season, and the next four, until we could install the first of three chairlifts in 1969, 70, 71.

However, in those first years, the most important variable was weather, and how to cope with the uncertainty of the forecasters, and the reality of snow conditions when either cold or warm fronts came our way. Those issues have not changed in the last fifty years.
Another factor that has not changed through the years is the excitement and joy that exudes from within even a senior citizen when he feels the rush of another winter season and skiing through bands of machine made snow. As I begin my 86th year of life and 50th year of skiing mostly at Welch Village, I look forward to more adventure with my great grandchildren, and also skiing with many of our members from near and far, this year from 20 different states. Who would have thought that we could deliver so much joy to so many people in the little town of Welch.

As my father told me on a visit to our ticket booth in 1967, "Leigh, it is going to be big!", and it is. Thanks be to God.

Please come and celebrate with us, and start the next 50 years of our joy.

Leigh Nelson

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Snowmaking Update 11/12/14

We turned the snow guns on yesterday afternoon for the first time this season and they are still on right now.  Overnight, we had about 3 hours of good snow making temperatures and conditions.  It's been cloudy which keeps the temperatures and the humidity higher, which in turn presents challenges for snow making.  Below are some pictures from this morning.  We are still hoping to open this weekend and will have an update sometime soon.  Let's see how snow making goes today and tonight.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

November Snowmaking Outlook

I just checked in with our snowmaking crew this evening as they were performing their final checks & tests of the equipment. We were targeting this Saturday evening to start making snow but the forecast has now changed and the temperatures appear to be too warm.  However....if the current forecasts hold true for early next week, we are hoping to begin making snow on Monday evening.  In fact, most of the next week looks outstanding for snowmaking.  Right now, it appears that we may get at least one day, maybe two, where the high temps stay under 32 degrees for a high.  That could mean significant snow production.  Things can change at anytime this time of the year so it would still be a good idea to keep your expectations in-check.  There are also some weather systems coming in early next week which could affect snowmaking weather here. 

We will be targeting most of our snowmaking efforts on Lookout, Harley's Hollow, and Fowl Play in the first week or so. It's still too early to forecast an opening day. With that being said,  I think it would be a good idea to make sure your equipment is waxed and tuned.  It won't be long now. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Outdoor Concert & Snowmaking Outlook

We had a great night on Saturday night at our 50th Season Outdoor Concert Event.  Both of the bands sounded great, especially the headliner and local favorite, Lost Highway.  We had a great turnout and we are already talking about having additional concerts like this in the future.  I don't think we could have kicked off our 50th season in a more appropriate way.  The weather was perfect and everyone had a great time.  We are hoping to bring back Lost Highway again sometime soon.  This outdoor concert thing is pretty fun, we may just do this again.  A big thanks to both Lost Highway and Them Pesky Kids for putting on a great show, you both sounded awesome. Thank you to everyone who shared this experience with us!

Snowmaking: There is a new chill in the air today and it looks like we'll get our first real hard freeze this week around Halloween.  Although it will be tempting to fire up some snow guns this week it's still a little early.  Our snowmaking staff has been hard at work the past few weeks check lines, working on the equipment, moving the portable snow guns into position, and we are ready for the first wave of snowmaking operations.  Our outside operations staff will also be busy making the move to the new maintenance facility in the next few weeks.  If we see a solid window of good snowmaking hours in the next few weeks we'll be ready. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fall Colors in Welch

Snapped just a few photos towards sunset tonight around the ski area.  The colors are getting close to peaking here right now.  We will start moving all the portable snow guns into position next week.  Winter is coming...

P.S. - See if you can spot the bald eagle in one of these photos!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Press Release: Welch Village Getting Serious about Ski Racing

The future is bright for ski racing at Welch Village thanks to the addition of new staff,  additional investments in the quality of coaching system, and the race slopes themselves.  Welch Village is already planning to modify their early season snowmaking efforts in order to target more of their powerful snowmaking capabilities towards steeper race type terrain.

Tammy Coyne, who has spent the last few seasons serving as assistant race director, is now the new race director at Welch Village.  Coyne brings extensive race management experience from her years spent in Michigan and at Buck Hill in MN.  She was the race director at Buck Hill for 10 seasons and brings valuable expertise and knowledge which will enable Welch Village to attract more racers and race events in the years to come.  Coyne is eager to build Welch Village's NASTAR program, adult race leagues, and High School Invitational race.

Brianna Berg is now Welch Village's new USSA Head Coach.  Berg spent one season racing USSA at Welch Village and 3 seasons at Afton Alps.  She was a FIS racer and participated in the 2003 J1/J2 Junior Olympics.  Berg raced in college for the Northern Michigan Ski Team in 2005 and 2006.  In 2005, she qualified for the USCSA individual nationals and in 2006 her team qualified for nationals as a team.   For the past 5 years, she has been the head coach of the Northfield High School Alpine Team.  Berg is now a full-time coach at Welch Village serving as head coach for the USSA team and the new Race Academy Program.

The new Welch Race Academy, a program under the new SkiLink Performance Center™, will make it's debut in 2014/15 and will introduce a new standard of race coaching in the region.  As a PMTS™ Racer Development licensed program, the Race Academy will aim to build  "World Cup" type ski movements in every athlete using movement based drills and skier alignment methods.  The program's goal is to use smaller coach to athlete ratios than typical race programs.   Coaches will mix free ski drills, gate section drills, full course sets, and time trials in order to maximizeresults for each athlete and provide more individual attention. The program will also incorporate a great deal of video analysis enabling coaches to focus on how each athlete's movements create speed and efficiency on race day.

Welch Village is hoping that mother nature helps this fall in enabling them to concentrate more snowmaking efforts towards getting race hills like Lookout and Dan's Dive open sooner than in year's past.  When cold temperatures arrive this fall, Welch Village's snowmaking crew will be ready.  In fact, for the first time in many years, a Thanksgiving Race Camp is planned for the weekend of Nov. 29-30. If weather permits, this will allow all Welch Village guests to enjoy steeper terrain as early as possible.

Registration for the D-team, USSA team, and the new Race Academy opens on October 1st.  Registration for all race programs can be done via the Online Store.

Monday, September 15, 2014

New Shop Taking Shape

It's not as sexy as a new chairlift or new slopes but it's a huge improvement nonetheless.  Our new state-of-the-art maintenance shop is really taking shape this week as rafters are being set with a crane and the building will soon be partially enclosed.  You will see in the pictures below that the new road to Madd Jaxx also continues to take shape.  The leaves are beginning to show signs of turning down here and we will begin moving snowguns around very soon.  If you are planning to attend the Hoigaard's Tent Sale this weekend stop by and say hi at our booth.  

Monday, August 18, 2014

Breaking News: Big Sky, Grand Targhee, and Lutsen programs finalized for 2014/15

We are pleased to announce that we have finalized our Member Benefit Programs with our partner resorts:  Big Sky, Montana - Grand Targhee Resort, WY - Lutsen Mountains, MN.  We are proud to offer our members benefits at these resorts and we thank our resort partners for offering exclusive opportunities like this for our season pass holders.

To view the full Big Sky Exclusive Package offers Click Here.  The benefits at Targhee and Lutsen will be virtually the same as recent years.

In a couple of weeks, we will release a new fall lineup of season pass options which will enable you to take advantage of all Member Benefits including exclusive offers at our partner resorts, exclusive discounts on lift tickets and rental for your guests, and more.  Watch for our new "Flex Passes" which will provide a series of flexible membership options to fit your life style and schedule.

Stay tuned for more information on our new fall passes as well as fall events, D-Team Picnic, Ski Swap, and more!