Stratton Mountain Resort

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Stratton Mountain Resort
Stratton Mountain
Location Stratton Mountain, Windham County, Vermont
Nearest city Manchester (village), Vermont
Vertical 2,003 ft (611 m)
Top elevation 3,875 ft (1,181 m)
Base elevation 1,872 ft (571 m)
Skiable area 625 acres (253 ha)
Runs 97
Longest run 15,840 ft (4,830 m)
Lift system 1 high speed gondola, 4 high speed six packs, 3 quads, 1 triple, 1 double, 3 carpets
Snowfall 180 inches (460 cm)
Snowmaking 93%
Website http://www.stratton.com/

Stratton Mountain Resort is a ski area located on Stratton Mountain in Stratton, Vermont.

History[edit]

Stratton was established in December 1961 with three double chairlifts and a three-story base lodge. Although the mountain was top notch, the access road was a disaster. It was paved in time for the 1962-1963 season. Stratton added two T-bar lifts in time for the third season. A big expansion took place for the 1964-1965 season when the Snow Bowl was opened, bringing a double chairlift and over 30 acres of terrain. Another double chairlift was opened and the base lodge was expanded for the 1966-1967 season.[1] In the early 1970s, following development of the initial terrain, Stratton began to develop a new beginner area; this opened in 1972 with additional trails, though plans for a new lift were not realized.[2] In the late 1980s, Stratton constructed new terrain to the south of the main mountain, and dubbed it "Kidderbrook."[2] The expansion included a new quad chairlift, and was planned to be a starting point for potential additional terrain and housing in the area, though this never occurred.[2] In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the ski area constructed several new high-speed six-person lifts,[3] and in 2007, the Kidderbrook Quad was removed and sold, as it was underused and Stratton's parent companies were in financial trouble at the time.[2] From 1985 to 2012, Stratton hosted the Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships; the premier open snowboarding event in the country. In 2013, after a 27 year run at Stratton; the event moved to Vail, CO.

Early Years[edit]

Lift served skiing debuted on the northern peak of the mountain when Stratton Mountain ski area opened with 3 double chairlifts (installed using a then-unique helicopter method) in December of 1961. Designed by Gene Gillis of Sel Hannah's Sno Engineering firm, the area also sported a three story base lodge.

While the facilities were top notch, the muddy access road was called a 'tank-proving ground' by the press. The road received much needed pavement in time for the area's second season.

Stratton's uphill capacity was improved for its third season with the installation of two T-Bars.

A sizable expansion took place the following season, when 30 acres of terrain, served by a new double chairlift, were opened in the new Snow Bowl.

1966-67 saw an expansion of the base lodge, as well as the installation of another double chairlift. The Grizzly Bear and Polar Bear trails were added for the following season.

The Sun Bowl was developed for the 1968-69 season, adding a new base area, 5 miles of trails, and a new double chairlift.

An additional two chairlift expansion was planned for the 1971-72 season, however Stratton became one of the first ski areas in the state to run into trouble with the new Act 250 law, when residents of Winhall forced the ski area to first overhaul its sewer system in advance of potential increases in skier vists.

The Main Line pod was partially developed in the early 1970s, however development was halted prior to the installation of a chairlift.

Snowmaking was expanded to the summit circa 1974.

Also in 1974, James Sunday was paralyzed after a fall while skiing at Stratton. In a landmark decision three years later, Sunday was awarded $1.5 million by a jury. The decision resulted in significant price increases throughout the ski industry, due to skyrocketing liability insurance costs.

Moore and Munger, Inc. Ownership[edit]

Late in 1979, Stratton purchased nearby Bromley and assumed its multi-million dollar debt. Stratton's debt was now reportedly up to $7 million. Moore and Munger, Inc. came to the rescue and purchased Stratton in early 1980. During during the 1980s, Jake Burton found an ally in Stratton, when it became the first ski area to allow snowboarding. In addition to this, Stratton also became home to the first snowboard school, and would start hosting US Open snowboard races in 1985. Stratton would later become home to the first half pipe and formal terrain park on the east coast.

In the mid 1980s, in conjunction with the expansion of Stratton Village, the lift network at Stratton was modernized. Four new Poma chairlifts were installed in 1985 and 1986, replacing aging Heron-Pomas.

In the fall of 1987, Moore and Munger, Inc. sold Bromley to the owners of nearby Magic Mountain. The following year, the famous Gondola was installed to the summit of Stratton.

Victoria USA, Inc. Ownership[edit]

In the spring of 1989, Victoria USA, Inc., a Japanese sporting goods company that owned Breckenridge, purchased Stratton. Later that year, the Kidderbrook area debuted.

Intrawest Ownership[edit]

Intrawest purchased the ski area from Victoria USA, Inc. in 1994 and quickly started another round of new lift installations, eventually rolling out four new high speed six pack chairlifts. This project was named the "URSA" project after the latin, bear, which represents their logo.

With the installation of these new high speed chairlifts, the fixed grip quads of the area quickly lost popularity. With its parent company facing some tough times, Stratton removed the often-idle Kidderbrook chairlift following the 2006-07 season.

Intrawest announced $6.5 million of projects for the 2013-2014 season, including new snowcats, improved snowmaking, two new glades, and base resort improvements. The aging gondola cabins were replaced the summer of 2014.

Mountain statistics[edit]

Stratton has 97 trails over 670 acres (270 ha) of skiable terrain, 93% of which has snowmaking.[4] 42% of the trails are rated as easy, 31% are intermediate, and 27% are advanced.[4] There are eleven lifts, which can transport 33,528 people an hour.[4] The mountain's base is at 1,872 ft (571 m) and the summit is at 3,875 ft (1,181 m) for a vertical drop of 2,003 ft (611 m).[4] Stratton has an average annual snowfall of 180 inches (460 cm). Stratton also ranks in the top 10 (SKI Magazine) for snow, grooming, lifts, terrain parks, service, lodging, dining, on-mountain food, apres and nightlife.[4]

Trails[edit]

Stratton has 97 trails covering over 625 acres (253 ha) of skiable terrain.

Easier More Difficult Most Difficult Experts Only Terrain Parks
Lower West Meadow Bear Bottom Big D Upper Grizzly Bear East Byrneside SBX
Mike's Way Black Bear Franks Fall Line Stevek Parkway
Old Number 8 Get My Drift Liftline Cut Through Upper Spruce Sunriser Supertrail (Park)
Upper East Meadow Interstate Lower Spruce (m) Lower Slalom Glade Tyrolienne
Upper Wanderer Janeway Junction Lower Switchback World Cup (m) Big Ben Park
Upper West Meadow Lower Grizzly Bear Polar Bear Bear Down Suntanner Halfpipe
Work Road Upper Drifter Rimeline Free Fall
Cabot's Run Beeline The Chute Upper Down Easter
Craig's Run Betwixt Upper Liftline Vertigo (g)
Daniel Webster Duck Soup Upper Slalom Glade Free Fall Gully (g)
Detour East Byrneside Upper Standard Kidderbrook Ravine (g)
Drifter Link Lower Drifter Upper Switchback Squirrel's Nest Glade (g)
Ethan's Alley Lower Standard Upper Tamarack Why Not (g)
Flukey's Run Number 6 Lower Liftline Moon Dance (g)
Grizzly Access Snow Bowl Alley Upper Kidderbrook Test Pilot (g)
Hemlock Spillway Upper Middlebrook Shred Wood Forest (g)
Lad's Legacy Suntanner Cabin Fever (g)
Lower East Meadow Tink's Link Dancing Bear (g)
Lower Tamarack White Birch Diamond in the Rough (g)
Lower Wanderer Yodeler
Mark's Run Busters Trail
Old Log Road Gentle Ben
Old Smoothie Lower Down Easter
Overpass Rick's Catch 22
Runaway Rising Star
Underpass Shooter
Yodeler Express Shortcut Big Ben
Tyrolienne Shortcut Gentle Ben
91 Sunbeam
91 Extension Sun Bowl Express
Big Ben Sunriser Supertrail
Churchill Downs Tree Top Way
Home Run Way Home
Lower Kidderbrook Eclipse (g)
Lower Middlebrook Buckshot (g)
Main Line Emerald Forest (g)
Solstice Way Moonbeam (g)
Downtowner
Stage 1
Village Walk
Daniel's Web (g)
  • (g) – gladed trail with trees
  • (m) – trail with moguls regularly when conditions provide

Lifts[edit]

Lift Name Length Vertical Type Make Year Installed
Summit Gondola 7,379 ft 1,742 ft Gondola Poma 1988
American Express 3,238 ft 658 ft High Speed Six Pack Doppelmayr 1995
URSA Express 4,620 ft 1,340 ft High Speed Six Pack Garaventa CTEC 1999
Sunrise Express 4,502 ft 1,122 ft High Speed Six Pack Garaventa CTEC 2001
Shooting Star 3,305 ft 798 ft High Speed Six Pack Garaventa CTEC 2001
Snow Bowl 4,877 ft 1,380 ft Fixed Quad Poma 1986
Solstice Fixed Quad Poma 2001
South American Fixed Quad Poma 2001
Tamarack Fixed Triple Borvig 1977
Villager 1,073 ft 155 ft Fixed Double Poma 1985
SMS Poma 1,726 ft 572 ft Platter Lift Heron-Poma 1971

Past Lifts[edit]

Lift Name Length Vertical Type Make Year Installed Year Removed Notes
Betwixed Double 3,235 ft 649 ft Fixed Double Borvig 1982 1995 Sold to Magic Mountain, replaced by American Express
Grizzly Double 4,765 ft 1,317 ft Fixed Double Borvig 1977 1999 Replaced by URSA Express
Kidderbrook Quad 6,285 ft 1,476 ft Fixed Quad Poma 1989 2007 Sold to Jay Peak and Mont Saint-Sauveur
Lower T-Bar 2,455 ft 373 ft T-Bar Hall 1963 1976
North American Double 4,500 ft 1,125 ft Fixed Double Heron 1961 1985 Replaced by North American Quad
North American Quad 4,380 ft 1,173 ft Fixed Quad Poma 1985 1999 Replaced North American Double
Snow Bowl Double 4,900 ft 1,386 ft Fixed Double Heron 1964 1986 Replaced by Snow Bowl
Standard Double 3,256 ft 644 ft Fixed Double Heron 1966 1995
Sun Bowl Double 4,773 ft 1,113 ft Fixed Double Heron 1968 1986 Replaced by Sun Bowl Quad
Sun Bowl Quad 4,639 ft 1,110 ft Fixed Quad Poma 1986 2001 Replaced Sun Bowl Double, realigned and turned into Solstice
Suntanner Double 2,800 ft 650 ft Fixed Double Heron 1961 1995
Tamarack Double 3,499 ft 569 ft Fixed Double Borvig 1976 1977 Converted to triple
Teddy Bear Platter Lift
Tyrolienne Double 1,700 ft 315 ft Fixed Double Heron 1961 2001 Replaced by South American
Upper T-Bar 1,580 ft 302 ft T-Bar Hall 1963 1978 Sold to Bradford, MA

Future Projects[edit]

Before the 2013/2014 season, Stratton announced that it was planning to replace the Summit Gondola cabins and cable for the 2014/2015. The new cabins will fit twelve people, an upgrade from the current eight, and travel faster due to improved aerodynamics of the cabins. As well, the cabins will feature upholstered seating, which will replace the plastic seating of the old cabins. The cabins will also sit farther away from the towers, making the gondola able run at wind speeds above the current 25 m.p.h. limit. Stratton also plans to replace the Snow Bowl lift with a High Speed Quad Lift for the 2015/2016 season. The aging base lodge will also be renovated in the near future.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Stratton". New England Ski History. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Stratton Mountain". New England Ski Area Expansions (New England Ski History). Retrieved 19 February 2011. 
  3. ^ "Stratton Mountain Resort". Skilifts.org. Archived from the original on 19 February 2011. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Stratton Mountain Resort". Skitown. Archived from the original on 19 February 2011. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 

Coordinates: 43°06′51″N 72°54′24″W / 43.11417°N 72.90667°W / 43.11417; -72.90667