Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Great Snow

Last Sunday (Dec 17th) it was -25 w/ -40 wind chill.  This past Sunday on Christmas Day, it was +40 degrees with over an inch of rain.  What a strange clash of extremes...and a what a huge challenge. Huge props to our snowmaking and grooming crew.  Thanks to their efforts, the snow conditions are excellent right now.  We turned on the snowguns Monday night and did some extra grooming and we are so glad that we did.  Come and experience it for yourself and join us this week...and bring some family and friends.  The snow was so good today, I needed a Bent Paddle Cold Press and Madd Jaxx!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

It's about time...right?

The crew turned on the snowguns this morning around 8am and they have been going strong ever since.  We love that the wind is finally out of the west and that the temps keep dropping.  The winds are a little strong for our taste right now but we are not going to complain.  The guns should be on for several days in a row which is ideal.  Still way too early to predict an opening date.  It's going to be very white at Welch Village at this time tomorrow!  It would be a good idea to get your skis and boards ready.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Snowmaking resumed last night

Not the best snowmaking conditions last night but our crew spent the night making snow anyway. The temperature never got below 28-29 degrees under a thick blanket of clouds.  If it would have cleared off just a little that would have made a big difference. It appears that winter finally arrives Tuesday of next week.  Right now, it appears that we will be blessed with great snowmaking weather for several days in a row. Opening day at Welch Village should happen sometime late next week.
Stay tuned...

Monday, November 21, 2016

Opening Update

Keep this in mind when reading this. No one wants to ski at Welch Village this weekend more than I do.   Ok, there is maybe one person maybe who wants to ski this weekend more than 88-year old grandfather Leigh Nelson.  You probably know where this conversation is headed...

Although our snowmaking crew did an incredible job in the past two nights with challenging conditions, we will not be opening for the season anytime this week.  We are now hoping to open sometime between Dec. 2nd-4th.  We want to share this news with you now so you can go ahead and make your plans for the upcoming weekend.

Here is a summary of where we are at:
  • Even though we had 20 degree temperatures for a couple of nights, we also had to deal with winds from the east. When the wind comes from the east, it's hard to use the guns on our key opening weekend slopes because the guns are located on the west ends of the runs (Lookout, Fowl Play, Heidi's Hollow, Harley's Hollow etc).  When we have just an east wind of just 5mph, the snow blows out of the guns and then right back into the guns. 
  • With some wet and warmer weather arriving the next couple of days, we will save the snow we have already made by not grooming it and leaving it in piles.   
  • The new erosion control ditch for the new terrain park area and beginner slope requires more snowmaking than previous years.  It takes more snow to fill that ditch than it did a couple of years ago.
  • We are committed to providing our guests with a quality skiing/riding experience on opening day with more vertical, high snow quality, and chairlifts to ride in addition to just a rope tow.
I took a hike this morning and you will see that our crew has done an amazing job in a short amount of time.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we can add to this soon.  Remember, all of this hard work by our crew comes at the end of an historically warm November.  

We give thanks for this brief window of snowmaking that we did receive.  We wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving and we can't wait to open the slopes of Welch Village for all of you very soon...

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Snowmaking has started!

Our crew officially started making snow Saturday around 2pm or so.  The snowguns were still on Sunday morning but the conditions are starting to become a challenge.  The winds are switching around to the east which poses some issues and the temperatures are rising.  The forecast for the next week doesn't look that great but we will be ready to make snow if we get the chance. We will continue snowmaking operations as long as we can today and hopefully can resume operations again this evening.  We are concentrating our efforts right now on Lookout, Long Way Home, Fowl Play, and the terrain park area but there are snowguns running in other locations as well.  It's still too early to project an opening date.  We'll know a lot more on Monday or Tuesday.  Stay tuned....winter is back at Welch Village!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Mountain Bike Park Master Planning this week

Scott Linnenburger from Colorado based Kay-Linn Enterprises is here this week designing our master plan for mountain biking.  This time of year, Scott is able to really see our terrain and acreage with all the leaves off the trees. And Scott likes what he sees!  In just 2 days, he has covered just about our entire property and he is very impressed with what we have here and the possibilities for mountain biking.  If you like mountain biking, know someone who likes mountain biking, or would like to get into mountain biking yourself one should be excited.

On a winter side looks like the weather really changes by the end of this week.  We'll let you know asap when snowmaking starts!


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Before winter starts...some big news about summer!

The snowguns are ready on the hill and we are making final preparations for another winter at Welch Village.  But before we start skiing & snowboarding, we want to announce some exciting plans in the works for next summer and beyond...

We have contracted with Scott Linnenburger & Kay-Linn Enterprises out of Boulder, Colorado to develop a 5-year Mountain Bike Park master plan for Welch Village.  Our goal is to turn Welch Village into a premier mountain biking destination for all ages & ability levels.  Scott has played significant roles in the development of Trestle/Winter Park, Tamarack, Bike Granby Ranch, Powderhorn Mt and countless other MTB trail systems. Scott will be here in mid-November to design a mountain bike park and trail system for us (approx. 20-25 miles+).  We will not construct everything right away.  Right now, we are guessing that we will build about miles in the first year and go from there.  If business warrants, we will keep building.

We have also agreed to hire MN based company Trail Source to build the trail system, skills parks, jump parks, and overall bike park facility.  Tim Wegner, founder/owner of Trail Source has played a significant role in either the design or construction of places like Cuyuna Lakes, Lebanon Hills, and Elm Creek as well as several trails in the Duluth Area.

Our mountain bike park will include chairlift-served, gravity-fed, flow trails as well as some cross-country single track. We also plan to offer skills parks, pump tracks, and jump parks.  Again, this will all be part of a 5-year plan that still needs to be developed.  Right now, the chairlift we are most likely to use will be our newest chairlift, the quad on Lookout.

Our goal is offer our mountain biking guests a "miniature version" of the services that we offer our winter guests.  We are talking with local bike shops about offering a variety of rental full-suspension mountain bikes and fat bikes.  And because of our close proximity to the Cannon Valley Bike Trail, our bike retail partner will most likely offer rental bikes for paved trails as well.  Right now, the plan is be open Friday-Sunday only.

In addition to bike rental, we will offer some sort of mountain bike instruction services like kids camps, women's camps, and MTB camps for all ages & abilities. There will also be some sort of food and beverage service as well as some live music on occasion.   All of these plans are still the very beginning stages.  They are more like ideas than plans at this point. 

I spent most of the summer getting acquainted with mountain biking myself.  It didn't take long for me to fall in love with it. My wife and I now both own full-suspension mountain bikes and each of our three daughters have mountain bikes.  Our kids enjoy mountain biking almost as much as they enjoy skiing, almost.

We took one weekend mountain bike trip as a family to Detroit Mountain in Detroit Lakes, MN.  If you like mountain biking, I suggest you visit.  They offer chairlift-served gravity trails, great single track for all ages, and awesome skills parks.  They are located in the center of MN lake country and very close to Zorbaz and their super macho nachoz.

Below is a brief photo summary of me and my family's summer of mountain biking.  It will give you a glimpse of what to expect when we move forward with mountain biking here at Welch Village.   Stay tuned, we will provide updates over the winter.

The youngest Bailey, age 6, in the Detroit Mt. skills park.

Thank you Detroit Mt. GM Jeff Staley(far left) for getting us hooked this summer!

Bailey tearing around the rollers of the Detroit Mt. skills park

One of the many wooden features of Detroit Mt downhill trails.

Loading my bike on the chairlift at Detroit Mt.

Yours truly Detroit Mt. skills park

My daughter Camryn (10) Memorial Park Red Wing, MN
Alexis (8) at Lebanon Hills MTB Trail
My wife Jamie riding Memorial Park Red Wing, MN
Doing "research" with Nate Lindholm, WV Mountain Ops Manager

Banked turns at Carver Lake in Woodbury

MN Mountain Bike Series Race at Memorial Park Red Wing, MN

Our old NORBA MTB trails made brought back to life thanks to 4k Spartans

WV Ski School Manager Troy at Lebanon Hills

Fat bike Ride to top of Lookout

Fat bikes look good at Welch Village don't they?
Yours truly at Carver Lake in Woodbury, MN

Friday, March 11, 2016

87 Days On Snow

For those of you who think that this winter was too short and you were not able ski or ride as much as you would have liked....think again.  Welch Village co-founder, owner, and my grandfather, Leigh Nelson (age 87), spent his 87th day on snow at yesterday.  Thank you to our Ski School Director Troy Carpenter for taking this photo quick.  Grandpa usually takes just a few runs a day.  It's important to him that he rides every chairlift that is running that particular day.  He also likes to test the snow conditions to see for himself how the snow is skiing and what the conditions are like.  So before you say things like, "I'm too old to ski" or "This winter was too short, I didn't get a chance to use my season pass", think of Leigh and this photo.  At age 87, he is still a die-hard skier.  He regularly skis with my three daughters, his great-grand daughters.  I plan on taking a few runs with him today myself, on his 88th day on snow.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Plenty of Snow

We have a deep snow pack still.  Very deep in many locations in fact and we also have snow reserves (big piles) we can use if need be.  I took several runs today and the snow conditions excellent.  Conditions are exceptional on runs like Bakkelyka and Lookout especially. Tomorrow it's supposed to be 50 degrees and sun.  Rest assured, it takes many 50 degrees days to close us down.  We are not going anywhere anytime soon!  We will need to move a little snow around on top but we will be just fine.  In fact, my friend Tom Novak with Novak Weather is telling me that next week the weather pattern is showing signs of getting colder and more wintery. Join us tomorrow for a great spring skiing day.  Stick around to hear Tim Mahoney at 4pm in the Main Chalet.