Wednesday, June 21, 2017

June 21 construction update & MTB instruction

When it's not raining, Trail Source is making great progress on the trails.  "Air Bear" our Blue/Black jump trail is nearly complete. "Joy Ride" with its huge berms, rollers, and roll-able table tops is looking spectacular.  If the weather cooperates, we are still hoping for a mid-July opener.  If we get more thunderstorms and rain....we'll see.  Our lift operations crew has completed the building of the entire upper chairlift platform and have even moved the platform in two giant pieces to the top of Lookout.  Early next week, after the Spartan Race people leave, we plan to start building a small skills area in front of the main chalet.  Finally, today I was able to show our first MTB instructor Griff the trail progress and possible teaching areas.  With the help of people like Griff, we are planning to offer a limited amount of MTB lessons this summer and fall.  Next year, we plan to offer even more lessons.  Our goal is offer a diverse menu of lessons for all ability levels similar to what we offer with ski/snowboard lessons in the winter.  Stay tuned for more updates coming very soon on lessons and MTB park construction efforts.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Chairlift bike carriers arrive | MTB trip up north

Today our brand new Deason Built MTB carriers arrived and they are pictured below.  Click Here to see a youtube video of what these look like while in use.  Our setup will be slightly different but very similar to what you see here.  Also, Tony or Financial Controller and Nate our Mountain Ops. Manager accompanied me this past weekend on a quick 2-day trip where we rode both Spirit Mountain and Detroit Mountain Recreation Area.  If was really fun to ride with these guys and see the other chair-lift served MTB parks in the state.  Both of these operations do a fantastic job and I highly recommend visiting both of them at some point.  We can't wait to become part of the MN downhill bike park family very soon....

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

More Blue Trail Work; Planning the Black trail

Thanks to the great weather lately, work is progressing well on Air Bear the blue/blue+ jump trail. More berms and more jumps have been sculpted in the dirt and they get bigger as you progress down the trail!  The overall landscape in and around this trail is just beautiful inside the canopy of trees and big ferns.  We are blessed to be able to offer our guests another way to use this property  This trail should be nearly complete within a week or so.  Next week, work should continue on Joy Ride the green trail.  This morning we walked the flag line for our first black level trail.  For those of you familiar with Welch Village, this trail will start at the very top of our property and come downhill first through the woods on skier's left of Long Way Home and then at some point travel through the woods on below the #1 quad chair and along the right side of Jon Jon/Sweeny.

More updates coming again soon.  Also be on the lookout for an email from us soon detailing exciting season pass options for both summer and winter!


Thursday, June 1, 2017

June 1st MTB Park update

It was a very wet week last week and not much progress was made on trail building efforts.  We received about 8 inches of rain in our area. However, this week has been great so far and the forecast ahead looks even better.  Work is progressing well on the blue jump trail which will be named, "Air Bear".  See our FB page for the name origin.  I rode the top of Air Bear today and it was awesome. It's a trail that you would see out west in the mountains.  Big berms, jumps...and then more berms and jumps.  Once open, I can see this trail becoming the favorite of avid mountain bikers.  Oh yeah, very little peddling and a chairlift waiting for you at the bottom.  The green trail is about 1/2 complete and that trail looks great too so far.  A few of us have been flow testing the first blue and the green as its being built which is really fun.  Stay tuned for more updates in the coming days on more building and....special MTB season pass announcements! Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

MTB Park Construction in Full Swing

Trail Source began trail construction just 2 days ago and already it's starting to look like a Mountain Bike destination at Welch Village.  Right now, work is being concentrated on the first green trail.  This green trail will also feed the first two blue trails.  Even though this trail is just getting "roughed in" right now, it looks just awesome already and I want to start riding it.  This trail will be really fun for all ages and all abilities with it's rollers, berms, wide single track design, and optional jumps.  For those of you who are familiar with Welch Village, these trails begin in the Leapin Liz area.   Again, this first phase this will take a couple of months to complete.  Still targeting July to open things up! Be ready for a steady diet of updates as our new MTB park project comes to life...

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Mountain Bike Park Construction begins next week!

Today we had the final walk through of the first downhill mountain bike trails that will be built this spring.  We are hoping that construction will start next week.  Today's group included Tim and Warren from Trail Source along with Perry, Nate, Johnny O, and myself from Welch Village.  It was a really exciting morning to say the least.  We followed the ribbons left behind from the concept designer Scott Linneburger who tied all the ribbons to the trees back in November.  In the photos, ribbons tied to trees DOES NOT mean these trees will be cut down.  It just means that this is the general line of the trail itself.

The first green trail we construct will be unlike any other mountain bike trail in the Midwest.  It will cater to beginners and experts of all ages and weave and turn a significant portion of our property.  There will be berms, rollers, optional jumps, and other features with beautiful views of multiple valleys and bluffs in the Cannon and Belle Creek Valleys.  We also walked some of the blue trails today which will feature the ability to generate more speed if that's what you want and larger jumps and features.

In the coming days and weeks we will be sharing the actual trail maps with all of you which will include our plans to phase in the overall Welch Village Mountain Bike park conceptual plan over the next few years.  By mid-July this summer, we hope to open operations with four downhill, gravity-fed, flow trails (1 green, 2 blue, 1 black) and an uphill switch back trail for those of you who desire the workout of climbing the hill without the aid of the chairlift.

Work will also begin very soon in construction of wooden platforms at the bottom and top of the Lookout Chairlift.  The chairlift bike carriers themselves have also been ordered!  Click Here to see a video that shows the vendor we chose to transport your bikes safely to the top of the hill.  Our staff will help you load the bikes if you need them to and we will have staff unload your bikes before you get off the lift yourself.  The lift will run slower than in the winter to enable bikes to be loaded and for guests to walk off the lift at the top.

We are also fine tuning our MTB rental and retail plans with Valley Bike and Ski as well as the food and beverage options.  Just like the winter, you will be able to enjoy your favorite craft beer, a burger, or even some ice cream after a day of mountain biking.

Here are some pictures of our final walk through hike this morning...stay tuned for many more updates coming soon!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Spring Hours

So here's the deal.  As much as I would love to spend the next 3 days arcing turns on the white corduroy at Welch Village, the fact of the matter is I would be doing it at basically an empty ski area.   Even with my own kids on spring break this week, we decided to shut down operations Tuesday-Thursday this week.   Why? A very good question and I will do my best to provide some answers.

Weekday attendance, especially evening attendance, has virtually come to stand still. It's been like that for weeks now.  It's a challenge for us (and every Midwest ski area) in March because can still offer great conditions however, most skiers just stop coming and their minds have clearly moved past winter and are waiting for spring.  Yesterday was one one of the best days of the season by far with fresh snow and blue sky all day.  Originally, we had decided to close Monday too this week. However, with the fresh snow...we decided to stay open on Monday.  Even on a day like yesterday, we had a very small crowd in the morning followed by literally a few people in the afternoon.

Thank you to the few of you who are still visiting us on weekdays and enjoying our snow and slopes. I completely understand your frustration when we close like this for just a couple days.  However, please know that these decisions are difficult to make and we make them with best intentions in mind. If we close for a few weekdays now, it might enable us to stretch out this season for another weekend or two.  Again, if enough people still want to come skiing and weather allows, we will stay open as long as it makes sense to stay open.

In years past, our loyal and long-time pass holders will tell you that we have rarely done this.  We are usually the ski area that stays open no matter what.  Other ski areas in are market this year have shut down their operations in recent weeks. Yet...we stayed open. Even when it's 20 below on a Tuesday in January, we are open.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.  We'll see you Friday.

Yesterday, I spent a few runs with grandpa during his 85th day on the snow this year.  He is looking forward to skiing his age (88) this weekend. If you see him Sunday, give him a high five on skiing his age for yet another season.

Friday, March 10, 2017

We are still open...for now

We will keep the ski area open as long the weather (and guests) allow.  By guests, I mean you.  People who like to ski and snowboard.  This is your last change to enjoy winter so make the most of it now. This will be your last chance for 7 months to enjoy our snow.  Snow that we have made for you.  The snow is fantastic right now everywhere. I recommend taking a couple of runs on Dud's Dream.  There are no bumps now, just groomed goodness.  It's really fun to arc some big turns on Dud's right now.

Every run is open.  Winter is still here.  We are 100% open.  Thank you to all of you who are still showing up to enjoy the slopes with us.

Pond Skip Saturday is tomorrow.  It's also 80's day at Jaxx. We will have two fire pits going and Jason our chef will have burgers and brats grilling outside (and Greek Gyros on the spit)!  It should be a great day and weekend.

P.S.  We are in a Winter Storm Watch on Sunday!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Still skiing - March 8th

Despite another streak of 60+degree days, severe thunderstorms, and a couple days of extreme wind, we are still skiing at Welch Village. In fact, at this point, we haven't had to close any runs! I took a few runs today, the snow conditions are still great. We still have tons of snow. The snow on Bakke and Lookout are the best. The east side slopes are exposed to more sun this time of year so the snow is a little softer over there.  How long will we stay open?  As long as we can.  Right now, staying open until March 18th appears to a lock.  Can we stay open past that...maybe...that's up to Mother Nature. At this point, we plan to be 100% open for this coming weekend, and that includes the Back Bowl.

Pond Skip:  Yes, we are still having it this Saturday at 1pm.  It won't be the first time we have had the pond skip with temps in the 20's.  We are not taking the risk that the weather will change so we are not moving the date.  We also have a great band scheduled that can't change the date. So..if you want to skip the pond (or watch), Saturday is your chance! See you then..

Proof that it's still winter at Welch Village: