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Tom Meyers, Outlook from the Summit
With winter sports very much on the radar, MOTT caught up with Tom Meyers, Director of Marketing for Wachusett Mountain Ski Area in Princeton. Wachusett offers 26 trails for all levels of skiers and snowboarders, 100% snowmaking coverage, a ski & snowboard school, and a strong dedication to environmental programming. Tom shares his thoughts on the season so far, visitation, and good things to come – all year long – at one of Massachusetts most beloved mountains for recreation.
Let’s start with the perennial question this time of year: how are Wachusett Mountain ski conditions in the winter of 2017?
This season has been very good so far, primarily thanks to our major snowmaking expansion this past summer. We doubled our snowmaking pumping capacity which allowed us to make more snow quicker whenever temperatures allowed. Last season was very disappointing so we are pleased this winter started out strong – with good snowmaking weather and some well-timed natural snow. Now, we are hoping it will end strong, as well. While we had two really good snowstorms in early February, we have really relied on our snowmaking to carry us through most of the winter so far. It’s always a challenge when people don’t see snow in their backyards to remind them we have snow on the mountain.
March is always good for some late-season snowfall, so combined with all our snowmaking efforts, we expect to operate into early April. One trend that has been especially noticeable this winter is the number of new skiers and snowboarders we have seen. Last year we won the Conversion Cup from the National Ski Areas Association for having the best program in the US to convert beginner skiers into lifelong enthusiasts. This year we are continuing to see that pattern with a significant increase the number of beginner lessons we have sold.
You get a lot of visitors from Massachusetts and the New England states. Do you get skiers from far-away places too?
Being so close to Boston, we get visitors from throughout the US, as well as many international visitors who are in the city for school or business. That is particularly noticeable on the weekends when the Ski Train service helps bring many visitors to the mountain who may not have their own transportation. The train runs every Saturday and Sunday from North Station to the newly-built “Wachusett” Station just 10 minutes from the mountain.
We are approximately 1 hour away from a population base of roughly 8 million people between Boston, Worcester and Providence so that gives us an excellent opportunity to provide a ski experience for many folks who may not be able to travel to northern New England. On any given weekend, you may hear half a dozen different languages spoken as you walk around the mountain. While approximately 95% of our customers are from New England, over the years we’ve seen skiers and snowboarders from places like Argentina, Brazil, Ireland, England, Germany, Mexico and China, to name a few.
Wachusett Mountain has developed cool programming in the off-season with festivals and concerts in the summer and fall. What kind of visitors do you attract when it’s not snowing?
We have a long history of hosting special events throughout the summer and fall, especially in September and October. Our longest-running event is AppleFest which will this year be celebrating its 34th year. KidsFest is not far behind with its 27th annual event planned this fall. We’ve introduced other newer festivals in recent years like BBQFest, Farm Fresh Fest and a Food Truck Festival which we added last fall. There are also many fun activities going on Labor Day and Columbus Day weekends, anchored by our popular retail sales from MTNside Ski & Ride Shop. Most weekends we also operate our popular SkyRide, a scenic chairlift ride to the summit. From May through August, we also host a wide variety of private functions like weddings, proms, trade shows and company outings.
Thank you Tom!
For more information on Wachusett Mountain, visit wachusett.com!
Photo credit/source: All images courtesy of Wachusett Mountain