The Countdown Begins

It is amazing how much the pace picks up at the mountain in the fall. Once the leaves start changing the phone starts ringing. Everyone is shifting gears and I am eager to have the lodge busy with skiers and snowboarders, instead of me, Frank, Dylan, and the growing Whaleback Crew running around trying to make all of the pieces fall into place to be ready for Opening Day. (Which is planned for Dec 17th if mother nature permits.)

Since Whaleback is a small organization, we spend our summer focused on our summer operations. We certainly talk about winter, think about winter and even get some projects done in preparation for winter, but the vast majority of the work is done from September to December after the skate park is closed and packed away for next year.

This season there is even more to think about and work on, given mother natures fondness for curve balls. The hundred year storm, named Irene, blew through our region and made things look pretty rough around the base of the mountain. Frank wasn’t even able to reliably get into work for a couple of week. Gradually we are getting things cleaned up as we are working away at the other list of projects to do before opening. Season passes have to be sold, trails need to be cleared, the chairlift serviced, lights hung, snowmaking prepped, groomers serviced, staff hired and numerous other details. The amount of work is overwhelming, but somehow it gets done

Then finally, the temperatures drop and ready or not we turn on the snow guns and start making the Whale white. Snow covers the rough rocky terrain that the Granite State has to offer and we strap on our sliding implements to propel ourselves at impossible speeds and into impossible tricks. Snow sports are thrilling and exhilarating. This is why we do this, and we do it to bring together our friends our family our community.

So join me as we count down the days until winter really begins and we convene on our White Whale for some skiing and riding this season. See you at the Whale!


Spring=Roller Sports

As spring sets in at Whaleback and the signs of rebirth and new life are all around, it naturally makes me think of new life in myself. Needless to say winter is a very intense season for me and the entire Whaleback Crew as is evident from the lack of posts on this Blog. So part of my spring rebirth is to reflect, write, and think about the potential of the warmer months and what I want to accomplish in what in ski area terms is called the off season. What I think about is wanting to change that with roller sports.

For me, summer has always meant play and specifically playing on wheels in some sort of roller sport. I learned to ride a bike at age 3, when my cousin Amy would push me down the driveway on a bike until I learned to ride. From then on, I have spent each summer on some sort of wheeled apparatus and thus was my introduction to roller sports and a larger world of Sole Sports. (I prefer saying “sole sports” instead of “action sports” or “extreme sports” but this is my own name invented from a dislike of the names given to individual alternative sports like skiing, biking, skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, rock climbing and the list goes on…)

It wasn’t until I turned 7 and got into snow sports, specifically downhill skiing, that my Sole Sport career took a significant turn. I thoroughly enjoyed skiing, I was good at it, and it was readily available to me living in VT. For the past 29 years, I have spent each winter season on snow enjoying skiing all the way to the Olympics and then here to Whaleback. However winter ends snow melts and it is time to pull out the wheels and get rolling.

It is this passion that led to the partnership with Zero Gravity who has shared the same blend of summer and winter passions and has been actively running summer programs, operating summer roller sport facilities, and even building roller sports parks for everyone to enjoy for the past 17 years. This is the whole reason that we are in existence here at Whaleback to bring these sports together in one location with a common goal of sustaining our passion with the passion of others for winter and summer sole sports.

While some roller sports are considered “fringe” sports, specifically skateboarding, some are sports that are considered a right of passage, like riding a bike. More people bike in the US than ski, play golf, and play tennis combined. I believe that they have a lot more in common and that they are the closest siblings to the winter sports of skiing and snowboarding.

So as summer approaches and the snow melts, I am excited for the start of the new season and the start of new opportunities for self growth. Summer means continuing to participate in sole sports with my friends and my community. It means trips to the skate park for me and my children and passing along the joy of learning and growing as a person. It means new challenges and new tricks, and I hope to see you all enjoying summer with me at Zero Gravity Whaleback.


The White Whale

Wow, skiing/riding is fun but it is so much more fun when the snow falls in abundance from the skies. Today was an epic day. Patrol was dropping ropes and opening terrain throughout the day, and I saw many a snow covered happy face pouring through the doors of the lodge where I spent the better part of the day:( However, a busy day at the Whale is a good thing:) Check out our Facebook Page for a few photos of the snow and the start of Dec Camp.

Yeah it was in the teens and a little chilly, but the snow fell throughout the day and there were good tracks to be had on much of the open terrain. Also, the wind is supposed to pick up a little overnight which should fill things in again for tomorrow when it is supposed to be sunny and a little warmer.

So, my recommendation is to bundle up and head out the the White Whale for a little skiing/riding at your local mountain. See you at the Whale!


Opening Day

The energy in anticipation of Whaleback’s Opening Day is palpable. There has been so much going on over the past months, but the pace and excitement picks up a lot as the 18th draws nearer. Loyal customers have been filing into the pass office to get their passes, the Whaleback crew is all over the mountain inside and out getting everything ready for the season, the new Volkl/Marker demo fleet is in the rental shop, new cushy Nordica/Tecnica/Blizzard seat cushions are on every chair, their are freshly custom painted chairs on the line for everyone to enjoy, the smells of fresh made brownies and cookies filled the lodge, and even as I write this I can here the hum of the fan guns outside my office, so finally it is starting to feel like winter is here.

Mother nature has been on our side with decent snowmaking temperatures, with the exception of 50 degrees and rain on Monday. Since we had not yet pushed out our snowmaking piles, we did not suffer from the rain as much as one might expect. On the contrary, conditions should be great now that the groomer has pushed out those piles and with the several inches of fresh snow from a couple days ago it will be all the better.

I want to do a special shout out to Volkl for hooking me up with some sick new Bridges that I can wait to shred tomorrow, and also to Simple Energy for come through when we needed them. Whaleback is fueled by Simple Energy and that is the way we like it; friendly, local, and understanding our needs.

Time to get my nose back to the grind stone and finish a couple more projects before we open for the 2010 – 2011 season. I hope to see you at the Whale!



Heroic Efforts

I don’t think that Whaleback is much different that many small businesses, but I am amazed at the heroic efforts that it takes to pull off this undertaking of providing skiing and snowboarding for our community. Sometimes things fall into place as if it was meant to be, more often than not things fall into place because we are busting our butts, working ridiculous hours, doing whatever it takes, and only then does everything fall into place.

I would like to recognize the amazing efforts of my business partners, Frank and Dylan, who have been pouring their hearts into this place for over 5 years. There have also been NUMEROUS other supporters on so many levels; volunteers, employees, family, friends, sponsors, investors, and especially customers. I do hope that everyone joins us this season to enjoy the fruits of our collective labor with a little time on snow or perhaps just a fun time in the lodge/pub. Regardless, I will be happy to see you at the Whale!



What’s New?!

WOW has it really been so long since my last blog post. So much is going on these days that it is hard to keep current. Let’s see….

CORE Team Fall Training has begun and our Core athletes are working hard to develop their strength and fitness for the season ahead. We have already ascended Whaleback a number of times this year before the chairlift is open for operation and we have completed “deck of cards” several times thanks to our friends at Isport for that little piece of workout advice. Good work Core athletes and good luck this season!

Chair Lift Painting– Almost every new painted chair is online and ready for you this season. We will be attaching plaques and new SEAT CUSHIONS, special thanks to Nordica, Tecnica, and Blizzard, prior to the start of the season on Dec 18th. Yeah! I can’t wait to check out the new painted chairs from the driver’s seat- so to speak. Lots of great new designs and creative expression going on with the painted chairs be sure to check them out!

We have also been so busy with fall events in the lodge (check our wedding photos), prep work on the hill, and prep work behind the scenes (online sign up for camps and programs coming soon!) to get ready to open that I have to sign off for now. I can’t wait to see you this winter on the slopes at Whaleback! Thanks for reading my post. e


Your pass gets you more

Hi Folks. With just a few days left in our season pass sale, I wanted to let you know about our season pass holder benefits. Just this week we worked out a deal with Sugarbush Resort, Warren, VT, that will provide added benefits for Whaleback season pass holders.  (unlimited regular or family season pass holders qualify).  Benefits include 20% off lift tickets, Sunday through Friday, non-holiday, and a $179 Spring Pass that can be used from mid-March until Sugarbush closes circa the end of April.  This latter deal is perfect for Whaleback pass holders as Whaleback closes in mid March. Add that to the discounts offered by Golf and Ski, 10% off on all alpine skis, boots, bindings, and snowboard decks, boots and bindings; 15% off on all ski and snowboard apparel; 20% off on all helmets, goggles, poles, travel bags and tuning supplies; 50% off on all ski & snowboard tune-ups, and your season pass value just got a whole lot better.

Remember Whaleback season passes are on sale at 25% off until this Sunday, October 3rd, and if you purchase your pass before then you will be entered into the final round of our pass holder raffle madness. Our friends from Sugarbush have stepped up and provided a trip for 2 to Sugarbush (two nights lodging at the luxurious Sugarbush Inn and lift tickets for 2 days).  Random drawing on Tues Oct 5. So take advantage of our biggest discounts on season passes where you get the greatest value on local skiing & riding, great benefits from our partner shops and resorts, and a chance to win a fabulous prizes; all this from your local mountain, Whaleback.