"My focus is taking what we already have, and maximizing that."
Stuart, as always good interview. I really enjoy these podcasts as they are in depth and informative. I’m a native Utahn and until the advent of the IKON pass I had only skied solitude when Warren Miller premieres handed out free day passes here. Oh have the times changed. Few things that stood out to me in the interview.
1. Increased snowmaking. Probably the highlight of the interview for me. In the age of climate change all resorts need this and solitude is certainly one of them.
2. Crowding. Amber did an interview with our local paper before the season started and she basically said that she wants to see the place more crowded. Which I found odd. But then she reiterated that in her interview on the podcast. I find it odd and a bit unnerving that a resort head would openly embrace this. Look at a-basin. They are doing the opposite. Amber is basically saying “come one, come all, and oh by the way, we aren’t planning on adding more capacity.” Really bad look if you ask me.
3. After hearing her take on buses, I’m even more for the gondola in neighboring LCC. She mentioned that buses legit cannot handle all of the people coming to from the resorts. So..to the anti gondola crowd listen up.
4. Eagle lift needs to be replaced. It’s old but accesses some of the best terrain on the mountain. Time for a new lift here. Sooner the better.
Great interview! Great to see a Vermonter making it to the top post! It reminds me how lucky I was to have an awesome and extremely effective first boss and see things done and work well the right way. I've never been to Solitude so I'm unqualified to comment too far, but it seems like she has the right ideas and the mountain has no choice but to gentrify. She might be an easy target being from 'away' with any unpopular changes, but hopefully she can (if not already) win the community over with trademark Vermonter unpretentious, down-to-earth leadership combined with great communication.
Ahh Solitude, home of fruit booters who thought only an ikon pass was enough and not a home pass to Brighton or Alta/bird.
Fact of the matter is that its been a mountain that always lacked a culture and identity compared to the other 3. On top of having the worst snow conditions, its just a mountain that nobody is thrilled to be at.
Personally I start my weekends at 8 at Solitude and then head over to Brighton at 9 and thats really has been all its good for. Just my warm up for Brighton and by that time its almost skied off anyways...
The mountain definitely needs to focus on snowmaking, it doesn't have the tree cover to keep the snow around like Brighton does. A missed opportunity, that Im glad you touched on, is having a baby terrain park again. Its never going to compete with Brighton but Brighton's most popular park by far is Pee Wee which is just meant to keep the masses off of the others which really only cater to a top % of riders. I know for sure there are ton of people and families that would pick Solitude over Brighton if they could nail down an accessible park. My suggestion is maybe putting off of the runs of sunrise? Thats the only terrain that would conducive to a park run I would think.
But for now it remains only a mountain for Gen X who like plain oatmeal, drive a toyota highlander, and enjoy chalky mogul runs and wide open groomers to complete their very vanilla existence.
Ms. Broadway seems to exude many of the great aspects found within Vermont's skiing legacy - grounded in history, respect to culture, caretakers of the land, and modest. Your interview gives a brief view as to why Win Smith is likely so smitten for her qualities and abilities. There are certainly "hot heads" within the eastern ski community, but, as heard in Ms. Broadway's interview, I often find more unique and refreshing cultural components in the north country than I do "Connecticut Mikes" (although Connecticut Mike was able to provide us a memorable evening at Smugglers Notch a few weeks ago). This fact has always given me hope that the industry has a future grounded not only in elitist, tribal manifestations but one that is propelled through our shared experiences of making turns in snow.