Stratton, VT

Click on a lift’s name for picture.  View in fullscreen↗

91 thoughts on “Stratton, VT

  1. Collin March 13, 2018 / 7:07 pm

    URSA, Shooting Star, and Villager are top drive lifts. The rest are bottom drive.

    Like

  2. smacpats April 4, 2018 / 6:29 pm

    North american was taken out when they put in ursa in 1999, because they no longer needed it (would’ve possibly been too much uphill capacity, and flooded the slopes in the middle of the mountain). Here’s the 1999-2000 trail map- https://skimap.org/data/213/260/1283542263.jpg

    Like

  3. somebody January 4, 2019 / 9:03 am

    Kidderbrook was a top alpha drive. At the bottom of kidderbrook the single pole for the alpha return still stands, and at the top the two concrete supports for the drive have been built over by a wooden deck that is used in the summer.

    Like

    • Ryan Jacobsen March 13, 2019 / 12:00 pm

      What was the reason for the removal of Kinderbrook? I remember it being very windy and cold at the top

      Like

      • Teddy's Lift World March 13, 2019 / 1:03 pm

        It was very underutilized in its later years after Shooting Star was installed. It was a very long ride that was useless with Shooting Star right next to it. It only ran on certain weekends and holidays. Intrawest made the smart decision to sell it and make some money off of it that could be used for future investments. Shooting Star almost never has a line. Just imagine what it was like before 2006. Nobody rode Kidderbrook. There was no legitimate reason to ride it except to lap Kidderbrook or to avoid non-existent lines at Shooting Star. Hope that helps.

        Like

        • Collin Parsons March 13, 2019 / 1:14 pm

          Shooting Star was never intended to replace Kidderbrook. It was built to act like a two stage lift with the Sunrise Express below it. With detachable access out of the Sun Bowl they did not want to put even more people on URSA, so they added Shooting Star to allow anyone on the Sunrise Express to continue to the summit without waiting in line. Having that direct access to the summit via the two high speed 6 packs resulted in the Kidderbrook Quad becoming very underutilized. It rarely ran, so Intrawest decided to remove and sell it and it’s now somewhere in Quebec.

          I don’t see it as a high priority to replace because it’s pretty quick to just take the two detachables to the top as it is. Then again I’ve never been to Stratton on a powder day when the runout would be totally awful. If they added some more trails out there, then maybe it would make more sense to replace it.

          Like

      • skitheeast March 13, 2019 / 2:46 pm

        When Shooting Star was constructed, Intrawest was cheap and bought a shorter lift instead of having to remove Kidderbrook and install a longer lift. In their defense, they were spending a lot of money at Stratton that year. With Shooting Star in place, Kidderbrook was only used on weekends and holidays (like South American/Solstice are today). In 2005, Intrawest was in bad financial shape and sold part of the lift to Jay Peak to use for their existing quads and sold the rest to Mont Saint-Sauveur in Quebec.

        Like

        • Maxim Adelman February 27, 2021 / 9:13 am

          Main issue with removing Kidderbrook is that if you ski any of the glades over there (Ravine, Test Pilot, etc) you have to do the long ski out to the bottom of Sun Bowl, which is a PITA. Hope they bring it back soon.

          Like

  4. Tijsen January 5, 2019 / 6:33 pm

    Snowbowl Express has 98 chairs, URSA has 86, Amex has 65,

    Like

    • Tijsen January 8, 2019 / 5:23 pm

      Also both solstice and South American have an uphill capacity of 2400. Amex has 13 towers, Sunrise has 15, Ursa has 14, Shooting Star has 12, Gondola has 27.

      Like

  5. Skiz November 24, 2019 / 12:13 pm

    Skiing there today, looks like snow bowl is getting a indoor area around their grip bay, and URSA was or is on breakdown.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sam Altavilla November 24, 2019 / 3:49 pm

      I noticed Ursa was shutdown for a noticeable amount of the weekend as well. I hope it’s not another major mechanical problem.

      Liked by 1 person

      • skitheeast November 24, 2019 / 11:22 pm

        They will not run the lift tomorrow, likely due to mechanical issues. Hopefully, they fix everything now so it works the rest of the season.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Tijsen November 26, 2019 / 1:15 pm

          They were doing a lot of work on it over the summer. Don’t think at this rate URSAs going to last much longer

          Like

  6. Somebody December 14, 2019 / 8:39 pm

    I did a lot of digging in the internet archive and found this page from 2001 with some really cool information. There’s also some (very low quality) pictures of the installation of sunrise and even a video (although the video did end up being a letdown with not much action, but still cool regardless)- https://web.archive.org/web/20010813191034/http://www.stratton.com/resort_guide.cfm?get=3&subpage=260

    I also found this picture of the old sunbowl quad during removal from a completely different source altogether. Shockingly, despite the fact that it was June, some of the snow from the halfpipe still had yet to melt-

    Like

    • Collin Parsons December 16, 2019 / 2:01 pm

      Wow that’s the only photo I know that exists of the lift in it’s original location. I think relocating it to build Solstice made no sense. It’s too long and the Sunrise Express has more than enough capacity to handle all the traffic on it’s own.

      Like

      • Somebody December 16, 2019 / 5:04 pm

        Solstice only exists for the very rare occurrences when Sunrise breaks down. Outside of that and the two holiday weekends, that chair pretty much never runs. I guess they figure that having the quad there is less of a hassle than the logistical problem they’d have otherwise. It’s quite a shame though, it still has quite a bit of life in it and would be a nice expansion lift to the lookers left of Kidderbrook.

        Like

      • skitheeast December 16, 2019 / 9:00 pm

        Solstice only exists where it does because Stratton needs a backup lift for Sunrise Express should it ever be down (they do not want to shut down the entire Sun Bowl). Back when Big Ben Park existed, I used to use this lift for park laps as the entire run from top to bottom on the lift was a terrain park. With them bringing Big Ben Park back this year, I am curious to see if it goes back to that status as a terrain park lift.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Collin Parsons December 16, 2019 / 9:15 pm

        I just think that where Solstice ends makes no sense. It’s just as long as the Sunrise Express yet serves less terrain and runs at less than half the speed. I think it would’ve been better if they just left it where it was and built the Sunrise Express parallel or moved it to the Main Line route so it would be shorter.

        Like

  7. Sam Altavilla December 31, 2019 / 9:18 am

    I am amazed about how much Stratton seems to care about their lifts this year. On Sunday night, every single chair was parked on each detachable lift in order to prevent ice building up on the line. I have also noticed some of the controls on the older lifts (Solstice, South American, Tamarack) have been refurbished. Another thing to add is the increased lift speed on a majority of the detachables: Sunrise, SBX and Shooting Star were easily running 1000 this weekend, Ursa and Amex at about 950, and the gondola at around 990. Pretty damn impressive.

    Like

    • Tijsen January 6, 2020 / 12:13 pm

      I think Stratton was one of the only mountains to get any detachable running 2 days after the ice storm.

      Like

    • Collin Parsons January 6, 2020 / 6:08 pm

      Last Friday they ran URSA at 925 fpm. My experience is admittedly limited, but I’ve never seen that on a weekday before.

      Like

      • Sam Altavilla January 7, 2020 / 6:26 am

        I have worked a few days up there during the week and have to say they’ve been good running it north of 900, or at least when i’ve ridden it.

        Like

        • Tijsen January 21, 2020 / 1:56 pm

          Yes, Ursa now typically runs around 900-950 on a Friday, but usually still runs at a slower 800-900 on mon-thurs.

          Like

    • skitheeast February 24, 2020 / 8:58 am

      Stratton also seems to be running their “backup” lifts more often this year. South American and Solstice used to only run during the 10 peak days every season or when their respective primary lifts went down, but I have seen them operating on many weekend days.

      Like

  8. Scott March 25, 2020 / 7:44 pm

    Would be great if Shooting Star started at the bottom of Free Fall instead of its current location.

    Like

    • skitheeast March 26, 2020 / 9:57 am

      The lift Shooting Star effectively replaced, Kidderbrook, started at the base of Upper Kidderbrook and ended at the summit.

      Like

      • Scott March 26, 2020 / 10:37 am

        Agree. Just saying it would be a much better alignment if they put the bottom terminal at Free Fall. You could then ski the Kidderbrook area without having to go to the bottom. Could even cut a small trail from lower Upper Kidderbrook to the base of Free Fall.

        Like

  9. Sam Altavilla August 13, 2020 / 2:13 pm

    According to Green Mountain Control Systems on Facebook, Tamarack is in the process of getting a new 150 HP AC motor and a new variable frequency drive from ABB. That’s on top of a new drive control cabinet. Makes me wonder if this is to up the chances of resale if/when a replacement occurs, or just to keep the lift running solid for the next few years.

    And if they were to sell it, where would it end up? I can’t picture any resorts nearby that would want it, but I could be wrong.

    Like

    • skitheeast August 13, 2020 / 6:35 pm

      The usual suspect (Magic) does not seem to need a new lift within the next few years, but I am sure a smaller regional player in the Northeast could use a new lift for a low cost.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Somebody August 13, 2020 / 8:20 pm

      A few places that might want it:

      – Bromley (to replace Plaza or East Meadow)

      – Smuggs (expansion to Upper Morse Mountain)

      – Pico (replace outpost or perhaps something to do with interconnect)

      – Tenney (summit lift)

      – Black Mountain NH (replace summit double)

      – Loon (replace east basin)

      – Saddleback (supplement Rangeley, or expansion)

      – Sugarloaf (replace Bateau)

      These are the best candidates, but none of these seem all that likely. Tamarack is a 43 year old Borvig. The fact that they are doing anything to it tells me that it’s going to stay around at stratton for a few more years (or maybe will end up at another Alterra resort. maybe replace j1 at june mtn?)

      Like

    • Sam Altavilla August 14, 2020 / 7:21 am

      It appears that the lift is also getting new partek triple chairs.

      Like

    • reaperskier August 14, 2020 / 7:46 am

      I think Whaleback could get it to replace their summit double.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Somebody August 23, 2020 / 9:38 pm

      Just why?

      Like

      • Sam Altavilla August 23, 2020 / 9:41 pm

        You know, I actually dont mind the change, the old safety bars sucked anyway.

        Like

        • Somebody August 23, 2020 / 10:44 pm

          I just don’t see why they did it. As I said in a previous comment in this thread, it’s a 43 year old borvig that no resorts really want and it is due for replacement. IMO it would’ve made more sense for Alterra to put new chairs on a lift that’s going to stick around for a while longer.

          Like

        • Sam Altavilla August 24, 2020 / 11:04 am

          I agree with your point, but we have no idea whether they did this for looks, or they did this for some other reason, such as chairs/grips failing NDT. I know that it wouldn’t make sense to put new chairs on a 43-year-old lift, but they might not have had a choice.

          Like

  10. Michael August 24, 2020 / 7:50 am

    SOMBODY- maybe Stratton has shown you with their upgrades that your supposition of eminent replacement is premature.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sam Altavilla August 24, 2020 / 11:13 am

      Good point. My little theory is that Stratton won’t do the Tamarack upgrade until Ursa is upgraded in some form. Because Ursa is already a workhorse for upper mountain access, putting more traffic onto it with a high-speed quad will just make it worse. The liftlines get pretty long even with just Amex feeding into it, and when Shooting Star goes down, forget about it. Besides Ursa was built in ’99 making it 21 years old, and in my opinion, it appears that it only has a few seasons left granted they don’t make any major upgrades. The upgrades/changes to Tamarack make me think that Stratton is going to let it live a while longer until they find a solid solution.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Somebody August 24, 2020 / 1:53 pm

        The problem with giving more capacity to Ursa is that it overcrowds the trails. Skier density is already dangerously high on trails like black bear. IMO it would make more sense to add an expansion lift than to upgrade Ursa.

        Like

    • Somebody August 24, 2020 / 1:12 pm

      Stratton ski patrol all but confirmed the upgrade would happen in the next couple years in conjunction with a new hotel replacing liftline lodge. My guess now is that COVID may have delayed their plans a few years.

      Like

      • skitheeast August 24, 2020 / 3:56 pm

        I will confirm this, as I have heard this from Alterra/Stratton people who do not work at ski patrol as well. COVID has delayed most Alterra large capital projects by at least one year.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Sam Altavilla August 24, 2020 / 7:08 pm

          I am a volunteer at the mountain and the last that I heard, they were supposed to do the mid-mountain upgrade/expansion first, but obviously everything was delayed. Still though, I don’t think it was slated until the summer of 2021 anyway because the mountain biking was prioritized.

          Like

        • skitheeast September 28, 2020 / 12:41 pm

          When Alterra took over, each resort submitted a list of projects they wanted money for. Stratton’s exciting ones were 1) Snow Bowl, 2) Summit Restaurant, 3)Tamarack Replacement, 4) Mid-Mountain Expansion. Snow Bowl obviously happened right away, but the Summit Restaurant was sent back to the drawing board because the existing plans were considered cheap and not good enough for what they are hoping to be the premier dining and wedding location. Remember, Stratton is internally considered the Deer Valley of the east coast and Alterra will not commit funds for anything but what they consider the best. As such, the Tamarack replacement will not occur until they have a suitable hotel brand willing to partner on a Liftline Lodge replacement, and that is considered a couple of years away contingent on increasing summertime crowds. Therefore, the updated plan has the Mid-Mountain Expansion as the likeliest candidate for Stratton’s next big project, with the other two happening sometime in the near future.

          Liked by 1 person

  11. skitheeast September 28, 2020 / 1:09 pm

    The last master plan I can find for Stratton is their 1999 one, which has a ton of approved projects that I will list below:

    Completed:
    Grizzly removal, North American removal, Tyrolienne removal, URSA detachable six-pack, Shooting Star detachable six-pack, Sunrise Express detachable six-pack, South American fixed quad, Rick’s Catch 22 trail, Rising Star trail, Sun Beam trail

    Revised:
    Snow Bowl detachable quad (originally supposed to extend all the way down Cabot’s run), Kidderbrook removal (originally supposed to instead be upgraded to a detachable quad), Solstice fixed quad (originally supposed to be a detachable quad), infill trails on either side of Free Fall (now roughly glades Free Fall Gully and Vertigo), infill trail between Polar Bear and Black Bear (now roughly Diamond in the Rough), two new trails west of the Meadows from Work Road to Lower Wanderer (now roughly West Pilot), two infill trails from Drifter Link to Lower Wanderer west of Cabot’s Run (now roughly Moonbeam and Cabin Fever), infill trail between Upper Wanderer and Mike’s Way (now roughly Mike’s Cut-Through), four new trails south of Kidderbrook (now roughly Test Pilot)

    Outstanding:
    Tamarack detachable quad

    The Snowbridge community was also originally named “The Bridges” while the Solstice community was originally named “Valley View”.

    It is amazing to see how many of the trails ended up becoming glades and how a couple of the lift replacements ended up as shadows of their approved form.

    Like

    • Sam Altavilla September 28, 2020 / 1:14 pm

      All of the completed things were part of their turn-of-the-century capital upgrade known as the “Ursa Project”. This included massive snowmaking upgrades as well as the three Garaventa six-packs. They had a page on their website circa 2001 dedicated to it if I remember from Wayback Machine.

      Like

    • Sam Altavilla September 28, 2020 / 1:19 pm

      I have never heard about the Snow Bowl lift being extended all the way to Cabot’s but now that makes total sense considering Cabot’s is dead straight and in line with the rest of the lift. It almost seems as if when they cut the trail they were planning to replace the lift, which is funny considering that the trail has existed from day one. Wonder why they never built the original double in that alignment.

      Like

    • Somebody September 28, 2020 / 2:56 pm

      They also planned on building a few trails south of Kidderbrook, which never came to fruition. I like to think that the Kidderbrook replacement has just been on hold but realistically it’s not coming in the near future.

      Like

      • skitheeast September 28, 2020 / 8:37 pm

        It makes no sense to fully build out Kidderbrook without a lift there. It is a pain to traverse down Lower Kidderbrook, especially in any sort of ungroomed or wet snow, so it would likely be underused. It is crazy to think that the Kidderbrook quad was only sold due to Intrawest running low on cash, and there is a very good chance that it would otherwise still be here today and primed to be upgraded by Alterra.

        Stratton has acknowledged that they need more terrain for weekends, but I have never heard anything about an actual expansion, just about possibly adding a few infill trails and better spreading skiers around existing terrain. The former top terminal is now used for weddings and other ceremonies, but that is likely temporary and will presumably be moved over to the new summit lodge and restaurant when that is built in the next couple of years. If a Kidderbrook pod is truly developed with a new lift and trails, it would likely be at least 5-10+ years in the future after they address their more pressing concerns.

        Like

        • Somebody September 29, 2020 / 5:32 pm

          I agree with you @SkiTheEast that more kidderbrook terrain wouldn’t happen without a lift over there. There’s no sugar coating it, Lower Kidderbrook just sucks. But I have my doubts that the fixed grip quad would still be there if it weren’t for intrawest’s cash problems. After shooting star went in, it was used far less than even the snowbowl FGQ, and was hardly at all popular. As far as I know the mountain also likely had less skiers at the time, which made it even less utilized. Keeping it around as a fixed grip probably didn’t make much sense.

          As for Sam’s expansion idea, I floated a very similar one a few months ago: https://liftblog.com/2020/03/10/alterra-capital-plan-includes-new-lifts-and-expansions-for-2020-21/comment-page-1/

          I agree that it’s a missed opportunity that there’s no lift there, and would be some really nice terrain to have now. It’s probably a pipe dream, but oh well. Hopefully we’ll get it at some point.

          Liked by 1 person

  12. Somebody January 17, 2021 / 3:52 pm

    This is a pipe dream but it’d be really cool if they had a more wind resistant lift for the 20+ days a year that are like today with some (or all) of the existing summit lifts are on wind hold. Could also be utilized on normal crowded days to alleviate lines.

    Yellow are spots where they could put this potential T-bar, red are existing lifts:

    Like

    • Tijsen February 7, 2021 / 9:23 am

      The issues with these is that you can’t have trail intersections cross a tbar liftline and the ones on North American would serve useless since it is almost always closed to the public. They could run a second lift next to Ursa since that area is not as windy as rest of the mountain using the old grizzly lift line and starting where it used to start (where the snowguns are stored) and have it end at the chute trail, and maybe do some ground work to make that pitch on chute more intermediate friendly, and it would be perfect for serving the bear trails and tamarack. It would also heavily relieve pressure off ursa.

      Like

    • skitheeast February 25, 2021 / 3:43 pm

      Having t-bars all over the place causes there to be a lot less area to actually ski. Also, URSA has really good wind performance, so I am not sure how many people would even want to go to the summit if it is so windy that URSA is down. The only place I could see them adding a T-bar is Frank’s Fall Line because of its usage for racing and the recent trend of having t-bars for racers on specific trails. However, SMS chose to remove the T-bar on what is now Dino’s Drop because they preferred taking a high-speed lift with Snow Bowl Express for World Cup, so it seems as though they would rather take URSA than a theoretical Frank’s Fall Line T-Bar.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ne_skier February 25, 2021 / 5:07 pm

        I’m no expert on Stratton (Anyone who skis there please correct me if I’m wrong) but part of the reason that the SMS was removed was that it was used rarely for mogul competitions on World Cup, and a T-Bar on Franks/North American would be used much more frequently, therefore eliminating that issue.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Tijsen March 1, 2021 / 11:50 am

          Yes you are right. They actually originally added it for the World Cup they hosted in the 70s and SMS continued to use it for slalom training and later Freestyle and it started to become used less and less and the freestylers didn’t mind so much as they would typically hike the short venue anyways. There have been talks about SMS installing a T-Bar on North American but I’ve heard permitting issues since they would have to widen the trail.

          Liked by 1 person

  13. Tijsen February 7, 2021 / 7:58 am

    Did a LOT of digging and found what we could expect between now and 2023/28 (depends how much Vermont let them expand masterplan time frame). Stratton requested a masterplan renewal and update from their 2013 updated one in 2018, which already included getting a new lift for kidderbrook, Snowbowl(already done), and some condo developments. In 2018 they added bike trails, summit lodge with 200 seats, mid Mtn expansion with 100 seats, and a Tamarack replacement within 2 years (I think it was supposed to happen this summer but it fell through with covid).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sam Altavilla February 7, 2021 / 11:59 am

      Good find. I have a few notes.

      Tamarack replacement will not happen until the development surrounding Lot 1 is completed. My bet is they spend this upcoming summer finishing and polishing off their bike park plans, as that was originally targeted for 2020 if my memory is correct.

      The only way that a lift will get installed on the old Kidderbrook alignment again is if they built another wind fence. That area near the summit gets slammed with crosswinds, hence why Shooting Star goes on hold frequently. I think the reason they have held off on putting a lift there is so they can figure out the logistics behind it.

      I still view that ambition as a secondary project that is focused on after they wrap up most of their other development. I cant see them prioritizing a KB replacement until Ursa is revisited, which it will have to be if Tamarack goes high speed. The lift already has enough traffic as it is…

      Like

      • skitheeast February 7, 2021 / 12:46 pm

        Kidderbrook also needs the Summit Lodge to be completed for it to be reconsidered. They use the deck on top of the old top terminal for weddings in the summer, and that is a decently large chunk of their summer business (which is more critical than winter business). That deck is temporary until the Summit Lodge is built.

        Also, I am not sure how serious they are about Kidderbrook anyway. Upgrading it to a detachable quad has been on their master plan since the 90s, but it fell out of favor when Intrawest decided relatively last minute to have Shooting Star be a separate lift and not the second stage of Sunrise Express. That decision allowed them to justify removing Kidderbrook altogether in 2007 when Intrawest needed cash. Keeping it on updated master plans costs them basically nothing and allows them to have increased flexibility should they decide to want the lift in the future.

        Liked by 2 people

        • skibumbarnes February 7, 2021 / 1:09 pm

          I see the comeback of any lift being put where the old Kinderbrook Quad (or somewhere near it) very on edge. As you said, its been on their master plan since the 90’s, almost 30 years! You would think they would eventually get to it, but its been 30 years… and shooting star pretty much replaced Kinderbrook. Besides, Shooting Star doesn’t even get that busy in the first place, so if they were to put a quad or just any lift in general where Kinderbrook is, one of three things, I assume, would happen. I feel like the left side of Strattons trails would either become very busy, very uncrowded, or the lifts would never have a lift line. Either way, I still think a Kinderbrook detachable doesn’t make any sense, as like I said, Shooting Star pretty much replaced it..

          Like

        • Tijsen February 7, 2021 / 4:22 pm

          It was taken off in the mid 2000s during the time intrawest was under financial trouble and it was added back on in 2013. And yes, the new lodge needs to be built first which is happening within 3 years depending the order they choose for their 3 current priorities.

          Like

        • Tijsen February 7, 2021 / 4:36 pm

          The purpose of putting a detachable on kidderbrook is to relieve pressure off of both Sunrise (which now gets pretty atrocious lines too) and Ursa. Relieve pressure off Sunrise by eliminating the need to go all the way to the bottom to lap the few trails there and the quite popular glades. It would relieve pressure off of Ursa by attracting more of the advanced skiers who would lap Ursa for the blacks over there. Shooting star would still have a purpose of serving as a connection to the summit from top of Sunrise, as it was intended, and also to lap (not many people do but its something) upper black bear, upper middlebrook, and bear down.

          Like

        • skitheeast February 7, 2021 / 9:29 pm

          I am by no way saying that a Kidderbrook detachable lift is not a good idea, it is. I am merely stating that they have so many higher priorities, both from the customer and management’s point of view. Stratton’s number one complaint from customers for years has been the lack of available seating during peak lunch hours. The base lodge renovation a couple of years back was a good start, but it in no way was the whole solution. Mid-mountain and Sun Bowl renovations, plus an entirely new Summit Lodge, are simply viewed as higher priorities by management. Additionally, there are a couple of other non-dining projects that are more pressing than Kidderbrook. Given that one large project is completed every offseason at most, by the time Kidderbrook arrives at the top of the priority list, it will be more than five years down the line, and it is hard to know exactly what the mountain will look like and need at that point in time.

          Like

        • Somebody February 7, 2021 / 10:07 pm

          Things going for a Kidderbrook HSQ:

          – The main mountain is overcrowded as is. Ursa, Snowbowl and Sunbowl all build lines of people who would consider skiing Kidderbrook if there was a lift there. Lines aren’t the only problem either. You can’t just keep upgrading Ursa until it’s a 7,000 pph 12 pack because the skier density coming down is already as high as it can really be. The sheer amount of people swerving makes me fear for my life skiing that short stretch from the top of the mountain to the top of Polar Bear.

          – The current Kidderbrook terrain is horribly serviced. From the bottom of Free Fall, you are traversing well over a mile just to get back to a lift, at which point you wait in 2 lines. A lap legitimately can take 40 minutes.

          – Could be a wind resistant option on super windy days.

          Things going against a Kidderbrook HSQ:

          – The current pod doesn’t warrant a lift. It’s 2.5 trails and 2 (albeit large) tree runs. They need to expand over the other side of the ridgeline to make it worthwhile.

          – The terrain usually doesn’t open until January or February, and closes in mid to late March. That’s a short season. Granted, if there was a lift there, they probably would prioritize it more, but they might be spreading their snowmaking too thin at that point.

          – It’s a niche lift for Stratton. Even Ursa and Snowbowl have blue options. Kidderbrook you’d have to go all the way out to Black Bear, which is well into Ursa’s pod, and already an overcrowded sh*tshow. This lack of intermediate terrain could easily lead to low ridership.

          – If they didn’t handle wind well, it’d be closed often

          Will this lift ever happen? I don’t know, possibly in a decade or two. I’ve given up on waiting for it since I’m hoping I’m going to have moved west by then.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Tijsen February 8, 2021 / 10:12 am

          Yes true they would need more terrain there. They own all the land between top of kidderbrook to fire tower and from the fire tower down to the bottom of upper kidderbrook. There is a “Conservation Area” at the top which i assume is an area where they can’t remove trees without giving trees back (hence why they had to relocate the upper wanderer entrance when they had to clear trees around the top) so they could have some trails begin below the conservation area and branch off of kidderbrook. Also if they add a expansion they will also have to increase snowmaking capacity, thats just the way it works. I know they want to replace one of their original air compressors from the 90s when intrawest did the snowmaking system overhaul with a more powerful and efficient one, so that may be able to help as they are more limited by air capacity rather than water capacity.

          Like

      • Tijsen February 7, 2021 / 4:31 pm

        For Tamarack as far as I’m concerned in 2018 they changed the lot 1 scene to not have the hotel and instead be an extra parking area, and the hotel will go where the current black bear lodge is (The only thing they are waiting on now to finish the lot is acquiring off mountain property for the employees), so I could see that happening this summer, or they just get a separate FG lift for the part to get across the road. For Kidderbrook, yes they need to figure out what to do with Ursa but, the purpose of the Tamarack replacement is to better utilize the pod of green terrain there for beginners in hopes of pulling the beginners who would lap amex to tamarack, so I doubt there would be too much traffic from tamarack heading to Ursa.

        Like

        • skitheeast February 7, 2021 / 9:40 pm

          If Black Bear Lodge becomes the site of the new brand name hotel, I would be surprised for two reasons. First, it is less convenient and, from what I have heard, all of the big brands want ski-in/ski-out. Second, it would be a big blow to the real estate division, who have been pushing for this project for years and wield considerable influence at Stratton after years of real estate development. Liftline Lodge was acquired for the sole reason of developing a new flagship hotel at the mountain, not to expand Lot 1.

          Like

        • Tijsen February 8, 2021 / 10:05 am

          In the master plan it lists: remove liftline lodge for extra parking spaces, and on the masterplan map it has black bear highlighted and tagged “Stratton Mountain Inn Site”

          Like

        • Somebody February 8, 2021 / 12:31 pm

          “Stratton Mountain Inn” was what the Black Bear Lodge was before rebranding around 10(ish) years ago. I’d take a guess the “Stratton Mountain Inn site” has something to do with that?

          Like

  14. Tom White February 9, 2021 / 5:48 am

    A simple solution for wind is, have short lift towers so the chairs are below the trees. This is what Cannon did when they built the quad that replaced the twin T-bars. The original Kidderbrook lift was often a long cold ride. A detachable is certainly needed. If I recall, only the upper half would need to be low. To me, the biggest plus for bringing back a lift is, spreading out skier traffic. There’s much good terrain back there, a lift makes it more useable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sam Altavilla February 9, 2021 / 6:52 am

      And it also eliminates the painfulness of the Lower KB runout which absolutely sucks with the weekend crowds on it. Anyone who enjoys skiing KB Ravine, Vertigo, Test Pilot, or literally anything over in that neck of the woods knows how beneficial a detachable would be out of that area.

      Like

      • Tom White February 9, 2021 / 7:05 am

        I’m a skier and it’s a very long runout. Sometimes I’ve into the woods on skier’s left. The runout must be a real pain for riders.

        Like

    • Tijsen February 10, 2021 / 11:15 am

      They could also have the lift hug the skiers left side of the trail so its closer to the trees from the side that the wind comes on. They did a similar thing with snowbowl and it drastically helped with wind.

      Like

  15. Tijsen February 12, 2021 / 12:23 pm

    Found this document of the 1999 masterplan, which includes basically everything they wanted then.

    Click to access Exhibit%20128%20Overall%20Sub-Watersehd%20Map.pdf

    Looks like they wanted a cld4 for the mainline pod and a cld4 for VILLAGER of all lifts too, and a very sizable expansion by kidderbrook. So far they have completed about over half of the lift updating they wanted but looks like they stopped with lifts in 2001 and started real estate with the commons and other sizable real estate until the housing market collapsed, and Intrawest finally got back to work in 2014 with the cabins and other smaller details. It would be a pipe dream if they can pull this off eventually. It would be incredible if they could eventually pull this off… 10 detachable lifts

    Like

    • Max Hart February 12, 2021 / 1:06 pm

      That Kidderbrook expansion looks unbelievable.

      Like

      • Tijsen February 12, 2021 / 1:31 pm

        Yeah. I’d assume if they would do it now they would have to remove a trail or two from that as test pilot is there now but if they pulled that off it would be incredible.

        Like

    • Raynor March 9, 2021 / 6:40 pm

      I wish they started the Snowbowl quad down at the snow bridge like the master planned calls for. The area they put the base terminal of the new snowbowl quad could be the worst area ever. When lines get long and you come down spruce, lift line or World Cup and want to go to the base lodge, you have to dodge people waiting in line. Even where the old quad started would have been better. Really wish it was down by the bridge at the bottom of the Cabot run trail.
      On a side note, I don’t think Stratton will see any new lifts until the Mountain Bike park, summit lodge, mid-mountain lodge rebuild and the new hotel are all built.

      Like

      • Tijsen March 16, 2021 / 7:42 am

        To be honest for the circumstance, it was the best they could have done. It would have been much worse if moved to snow bridge because a; less room there, and b; it would cause issues regarding lines on the lower wanderer side, and c; it would cause a very large amount of traffic to go down lower wanderer as an escape route to get to the base when they find out the line is bad. Where the old quad would have been would have caused a blockage of Old Log Road AND Cabot’s because of the longer terminal length and the lift maze.

        Like

  16. Rimeliner March 9, 2021 / 6:07 pm

    I am skiing at Stratton this week for the first time in six years. I noticed that Upper Wanderer’s original entrance was abandoned, and that Wanderer Shortcut has been abandoned. Does anyone know the reason for these changes? I thought it might have something to do with the fact that the new Snowbowl HDQ ends closer to the summit that the old FGQ chair did.

    Like

    • Raynor March 9, 2021 / 6:43 pm

      The state of Vermont said whenever land they used for the new lift, new entrance, the Same amount of land had to be given back to the state / national forest land. There are signs now saying this area is not part of the resort. Just some more pain in the butt rules the state of Vermont make ski areas jump through

      Like

      • Peter Landsman March 9, 2021 / 6:54 pm

        Maybe the State of Vermont but the US Forest Service is not involved at Stratton.

        Like

      • Calvin March 9, 2021 / 7:14 pm

        Not USFS, but State of VT. It’s not useless “pain in the butt rules”; it’s to protect habitat of an endangered bird, the Bricknell’s Thrush which only nests in certain types of forests at high elevations.

        There was some clearing associated with the construction of the Snowbowl Quad. As such Stratton must give equal acreage back to nature.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sam Altavilla March 10, 2021 / 5:22 am

          Spot on, the signs at the old entrance of U. Wanderer explain that it was part of a land agreement and that part of the trail had to be reverted back to its original state.

          Like

    • skitheeast March 9, 2021 / 8:09 pm

      Wanderer Shortcut has been abandoned for roughly 15 years, and I am not sure why. Upper Wanderer’s entrance changed in order to construct Mike’s Cut Through.

      Like

      • Sam Altavilla March 10, 2021 / 5:21 am

        Wanderer Shortcut had been abandoned in favor of the trails Mikes Way and Janeway Junction. Wanderer Shortcut was used before the creation of the Meadows, as there used to just be one long trail called Wanderer. Wanderer Shortcut became too much of a burden rather than a benefit, since it dumped more skier traffic into the intersections of Mikes Way, Janeway, and the Meadows.

        Like

        • skitheeast March 10, 2021 / 2:55 pm

          The Meadows existed alongside Wanderer Shortcut for years. Wanderer Supertrail was “replaced” by the Meadows in the 1980s, while Wanderer Shortcut did not go away until ~2005. I understand their logic for removing the trail to reduce traffic, but they have really just forced more people onto Janeway Junction and it gets incredibly icy.

          Like

        • Somebody March 10, 2021 / 5:53 pm

          I’ve skied Wanderer Shortcut in the last few years. (At least nowadays) it’s quite narrow, only really wide enough for one skier. I understand why they closed it, and don’t think making it legal would do much, since it’d be an ice sheet 10 minutes after opening. My strategy is to just point the skis straight down Janeway and not turn until I’m 1/8 of the way down Meadow.

          Like

      • Tijsen March 16, 2021 / 7:48 am

        It was removed from the map the same year kidderbrook was taken out and tamarack heights was built. I wonder if it had to do with one of those

        Like

    • Tijsen March 8, 2022 / 8:38 pm

      I found in some files that the official reason why Wanderer Shortcut was abandoned was in favor of the Kidderbrook area expansion that was permitted in 2003. They needed an area of 1.9 acres to allow trees to regrow within the “conservation area” to compensate for the trees that were going to be cut for the new trails in the conservation area.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s