The tops of most New England ski mountains are quiet places on a fall afternoon. This is not the case at Okemo Mountain Resort in Ludlow, Vermont this year.
Instead, the slopes were buzzing with trucks and heavy equipment – even helicopters – as teams of helmeted workers laid the foundation for the towers that will carry the new high-speed bubble quad and six-pack chairlifts to high speed Okemo. Elsewhere, teams moved trucks loaded with crushed stone and poured bridge abutments for a new trail connecting the two.
These two lifts not only improve the flow of skiers to and from the Gore Mountain side of the resort, but also take a lot of pressure off the Sachem Quad and Sunburst Six lifts at the bottom of the main mountain.
Previously, skiers staying in the Jackson Gore area had to take a four-wheel ski lift to the top of Gore Mountain, then ski the Summit Strip to Mountain Road. Following it through the main mountain, they could access the Sachem and Sunburst ski lifts at the base of the clock tower to get to the top.
This year’s changes move the four-pack elevator from Gore Mountain and replace it with a new 6-pack Quantum Six on Gore. The Gore 4-Pack is set up on Okemo Mountain where the Green Ridge Triple once provided mid-mountain access to Summit Lodge. This replacement quad is now renamed Evergreen Summit Express.
A new trail connecting the two ski lifts departs from Mountain Road, starting at its intersection with the Heaven’s Gate Trail and taking skiers directly to the base of the new Evergreen Express. Skiers will no longer need to descend to the base of the Clock Tower and its more crowded ski lifts to reach the summit and trails of Okemo Mountain.
These changes had long been considered by Okemo, but the huge expense of installing a pair of elevators was daunting. The long lift lines at the Sachem and Sunburst lifts only got worse, with congestion largely caused by Gore skiers and Clock Tower skiers having to use the same lifts to the top of Okemo.
Now, problem solved, skiers can look forward to a less crowded season this year.
Okemo is now part of Vail Resorts, along with the New Hampshire ski areas of Crotched Mountain, Mount Sunapee, Ragged Mountain, Attitash, and Wildcat. These, along with Stowe and Mount Snow in Vermont, are all included in various economy passes.