As Ski Sundown welcomes its first riders and skiers of the 2013-14 season Friday afternoon, 14 of 15 trails are set to open.
"We've really invested heavily in our snowmaking system and it's paying off in dividends," said owner Bob Switzgable. "We're thrilled to be open this early with this many trails."
That investment involves 180 snow guns, which with colder temperatures this week, are working around the clock.
"We really maximized this week’s cold weather to launch with a sizable base and a quality product that we know our customers expect and appreciate," said Chris Sullivan, Mountain Operations Manager.
The New Hartford-based ski area, some of which is in Canton, will open from 2 to 10 p.m. Friday. Festivities include games, giveaways, and drink specials in the Last Chair Tavern. The Welcome Center, Snowsports School lessons, Rentals and Repairs, Snow Sports Shop and food and beverage service in the lodge will be fully operational.
By early next week, the mountain expects to open the final trail — Gunbarrel.
"We’re usually the first ski area in the Northeast to reach 100 percent open, and our snowmaking team is committed to and excited about upholding this tradition,” Sullivan said.
This year Sundown is introducing several new features, including:
- A new 300 foot long conveyor “carpet” lift in the learning area
- A reconfiguration of trails the revival of the S’noWay trail, which adds intermediate terrain to the learning area
- A new beginner terrain park
- A new and improved website that features a video of the day showing current conditions on the mountain
- Free NASTAR racing three times a week: Tuesday nights with the CT Industrial Ski Council adult race league, Thursday nights and Sunday afternoons.
A new Intro to Racing program on Thursday evenings for adults age 18 and over will coincide with the NASTAR racing.Another new program is Intro to the Terrain Park for budding freestyle skiers and snowboarders ages 8 and older.
Sundown also plans more than 20 special events this year. One of the first is Park sessions with Team Nordica's Luke "Lupe Hagearty," who grew up in West Hartford. From 2 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 22 to Tuesday, Dec. 24 he will be at the park for sessions, photos and tossouts.
Another popular event introduced last year was Girls Rock the Park, which introduced women and girls of all ages to the terrain park. This year the event returns from 1 to 3 p.m. on Jan. 11.
Ski Sundown is located at 126 Ratlum Road, off Routes 44 and 219, in New Hartford. Learn more: