Seven months have passed since any skiers have glided down West Mountain, but the North Country resort has been far from quiet.
“It’s been our busiest summer yet; we have done a lot of improvements,” said Spencer Montgomery, the mountain’s part owner and operator. “This summer definitely took it to a new level of activity.”
Montgomery anticipates guests will notice several improvements right away when the mountain opens early December.
“We can’t wait to show it off and [it's] the same every year," said Montgomery, who purchased the mountain with his business partners six years ago.
The first upgrade is a new chairlift to the top of The Face — which sits alongside the West Express lift to the summit that was installed only three years ago.
"Just like your car, technology has come a long way,” Montgomery said. “People expect to ride on the newer style lifts [which are] smoother loading, faster uphill, and more capacity.”
Replacing the old mobile snow guns is a mounted system and pump house. Rather than having to gradually open each trail to start the season, they now can make snow on every trail at any time.
"We will be able to put the snow down about five times as fast," Montgomery said.
The guns will likely get their first test next week once temperatures drop. Montgomery said the upgrades are part of an ongoing push to transition West Mountain into a full-fledged resort.
“For five years now it’s been exhausting but it’s also been a lot of fun; we’ve been running a ski resort and rebuilding it at the same time,” he said.
Once construction wraps up, a new $600,000 fresh food cafeteria is expected to welcome larger crowds.
“The cafeteria will be a big upgrade,” Montgomery said. “[It] hadn’t been upgraded or changed probably in 45 or 50 years."
Perhaps most vital to the mountain's future success is a several million dollar upgrade to the snow making system.
“What that will do is basically turn West Mountain, in my opinion, from a mom and pop mountain into the resort realm,” said Montgomery.
He hopes to work with a developer down the line to add a “ski and stay” hotel, and condos on the opposite end of the property.