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Major Expansions Move Ahead At Okemo, Waterville Valley

Expansion at Waterville

Expansion announcements from Okemo Mountain Resort in Vt. and Waterville Valley in N.H. indicate the difficult economic times of the past few years may be becoming more distant.


Tack on an outstanding 2012-2013 eastern season, and it’s full steam ahead with Timber Creek at Okemo going ahead with a $200 million initiative, and Waterville Valley getting the green light on some 44 acres of added terrain.


Vermont state officials granted Okemo an Act 250 permit, clearing the way for Timber Creek, owned by Ted Rossi. The longtime Okemo skier from Connecticut began the 2,000 page application process for South Face Village during the economic downturn seven years ago.


“I have worked with Ted for several years on this project,” Ludlow, Vt. Town Manager Frank Heald told SnoCountry.com. “This will create jobs. Rossi and his partners have spent lots of money to be ready when the demand comes.”


South Face Village will connect to the existing resort. “It’s a continuum for Okemo,” says Heald. “Skiers can go from one area to another, and have great views.”


For the township, South Face Village will use Ludlow’s sewer facility, an expenditure that will generate funds for capital improvements. They will also partner with Ludlow to mitigate traffic concerns.


The new base area will include two ski lifts, seven trails and a 208-unit residential community that will be able to house about 500 people. The developers envision trail openings in 2014-2015, with groundbreaking on the units to occur a year later.


The long-term, 268-acre project will be built in phases. The Rutland Herald newspaper reported that up to 50 per cent of the parcel will be preserved for wildlife habitat protection.


“Ted has spent lots of time here,” added Heald. “These are smart developers with well-placed and well-funded projects. These are not speculators.”


Okemo will not pay for construction of the new ski village, but has reportedly agreed to run the lifts and make the snow when the project is finished.


Meanwhile, the Waterville initiative marks its first trail expansion in more than 30 years. The U.S. Forest Service approved the request after a series of public hearings regarding the addition of 44 acres of beginner and intermediate terrain on Green Peak. New glade trails and a high-speed quad adjacent to the existing ski area are also planned.


Waterville Valley’s s Elizabeth Klein told SnoCountry.com it will be “a multi-million dollar expansion” undertaken by the ownership group which is led by the New Hampshire-based Sununu family.


Field engineering will begin shortly on the Green Peak expansion area and construction is scheduled to start in 2014. Plans call for a new high-speed, four-person chairlift to reach the summit of Green Peak, and will incorporate eight new trails to connect and run parallel to the existing trail network.


There will also be 12 acres added in a new glade area. In addition, the layout will comfortably enable skiers and riders to progress from the ranks of beginner and novice as they seek appropriate terrain challenges.


Illustration: Waterville Valley improvements


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