Well the end (of this season) is here. As sad as it is, we all knew it was coming eventually and while it's always a bummer to say good bye to so many wonderful people from staff, passholders & guests, I know that we'll be doing it all again less than a year from now. And that makes me happy.
This first season certainly was one I'll never forget. I mean not only was it our first season here at Granite Peak but it was one of the more difficult ones to operate due to this never ending pandemic that seems to have cat like 9-lives.
I can't say enough about everyone that made this season possible. As I said in one of my first blog posts, we knew going into this season that teamwork was going to make the dream work. I'm not just talking about our employees but teamwork between guests, passholders and our staff to ensure that we all kept each other safe while we had fun.
A guest the other day came over to me and said "Thank you for a great season, the weather really didn't do you any favors."
I chuckled and said actually I have no issues with Mother Nature this yea. SHe was a blessing. He was puzzled.
Sure we could have certainly used more snow, (we are after all skiers and snowboarders and there is never enough) and the snowmaking temperatures weren't ideal early on, but if you think about it we dealt with 10 days of extreme cold and that's it. Just about every weekend and even most weekday temperatures were nice. I think we dealt with 3 days of rain (and that was last just last week) and it was relatively mild with little wind or temps forcing us inside. For the most part we could spread everyone out across our buildings, decks and tents which helped us operate comfortably.
Next year though she needs to deliver the snow!
I came in this season and made quite a few changes simply as an outside operator looking at our facilities, trail layouts, and lifts to determine what I perceived as the best use of our space, terrain and lift operations given the pandemic. It was a lot to take in immediately and yes some of you voiced your concerns, objections and displeasure but once we got going I think in the end many of the changes we implemented worked out quite nicely.
I have been able to meet so many wonderful people as well over the course of the season from the Decksters, to the Ravinos, to the parents of the GPST, my son's friends, and so many more who have simply shown me the midwest charm that I remember from my days in Ohio. Thank you for welcoming me and my family.
Are all the changes we made this season permanent? No. Will some stay? Sure. I don't want to comment just yet on what exactly will stay. Ownership and I still need to work through some capital discussions that will impact decisions but it is in the best interest of all guests and I think some of the framework is there to make 2021/2022 exciting.
We threw a wrench into normal operations this season. THE SELL OUT. For the first time ever we stopped selling tickets on 19 days this year! Advanced tickets were mandatory for weekends and day visitors certainly utilized this our advanced ticket program well. THIS WILL BE SOMETHING WE KEEP. We do anticipate continuing the advanced ticket program and mandatory for weekends. Passholders will never have to worry about this but we wish to create a culture and experience that everyone can enjoy without feeling that the resort is oversold.
The team here is fantastic. There are too many to name individually but to come in day in and day out wearing a mask, reminding guests to wear a mask, keeping themselves safe, and taking extra precautions is extremely tiresome. They did it graciously and I'll be sad to see so many of our seasonal team leave after today. I'm confident most of them will be back and know I'll see them at our staff party in a few weeks.
Imagine volunteering your time to ski patrol. Now imagine doing it during a pandemic. Yeah. I have nothing but the utmost respect for all First Responders but these men and women top my list. Thank you for doing what you do.
To move in the midst of a pandemic, start school two days after moving here, and completely take on a whole new life is extremely taxing to say the least. My wife has been a rockstar, she supported our decision to leave our beautiful home in NH, found a new job immediately and took a bigger role in solo parenting of our youngest boy Logan while I was at the resort.
Ronan though has brought much such joy and reflection that this was the right decision for our family. To be frank I didn't know how he would take going from a 2000' vertical to a 700' vertical mountain. Skiing is life for this kid 6 months out of the year and beyond.
He embraced it Granite Peak and pivoted his skiing and his hunting out every little thing to jump and slide across. This is now his playground. Watching him progress throughout the season has been nothing but pure joy. I think he is more recognizable than I am to our staff! His desire to continue to learn to ski and also learn the day to day operation of the resort at the age of seven gives me the utmost excitement about his future. He literally asked for a job next year.
We just got back from a quick midweek trip out west. We skied Keystone and 8" of fresh powder on day one, tons of steeps, bowls and moguls at Breckenridge including making it to the top (picture below) and all the back bowls of Arapahoe Basin. Going skiing with friends is fun. Going skiing with a 7 year old is a work out. 9am - 4pm three days in a row. 45 minute lunch break each day that's it. 60,000' of vertical over 3 days. I need a vacation from my vacation! But it was so fun.
Thank you everyone for a LEGENDARY ski season.
Next year is going to be ..... off the hook.
STAY SAFE. BE WELL. HAVE FUN.
P.S. I'll keep this blog going throughout the summer with updates and more so check in with us occasionally!
General Manager, Marketing Guy, Skier, Husband, Father, Friend of the Outdoors.