Going up? Magic Mountain expands uphill offerings

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Going up? Magic Mountain expands uphill offerings

Fri, 11/24/2017 - 8:04am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Hiking up a mountain just to ski down it used to be a necessity, but recently it's become fashionable. Ernest Hemingway reputedly said skiing was ruined with the invention of the ski lift, when in his day you needed seal skins to climb up to the Alpine glaciers. And now Magic Mountain in Londonderry is embracing the machismo experience. Magic Mountain received its share of attention over the last year since new ownership brought new life to the southern Vermont ski area.  The Wall Street Journal recently called it one of “The Five Best-Kept-Secret Ski Resorts in the US.”  New lifts, increased snowmaking, improvements to the base lodge, and a renewed commitment to a classic, throwback Vermont ski area experience for its guests continues to create a buzz that has skiers and riders counting down the days for their first run of the new season.

Perhaps what Magic is equally known for is its place in the Alpine Touring revolution. During the area’s “quiet” years, skiers flocked to its slopes to explore its celebrated steep terrain on equipment used mostly on European and western US slopes. With Magic’s reopening back in the late 1990s “uphillers” were welcomed while many other resorts were formulating policies to limit access. Magic even recently expanded its welcome mat to uphillers with its “Hike One, Ride One” offering. For those that skin to the top of the summit Red Lift, they can receive a token for a free lift ride that same day. Magic’s uphill policy is published on its website magicmtn.com/mountain

Today, Magic continues its pioneering approach to this fast-growing segment of skiing by announcing its partnership with Salomon as the first southern Vermont ski area to offer a full-service AT equipment demo and rental center featuring the Salomon QST line. There will also be AT snowboard rental equipment featuring Weston split boards.

Ski Magazine says the Salomon QST 99 ski “zips along with a surprising dampness… So hard snow and high speeds don’t faze it. Light-touch rippers will welcome its quickness, but its easy-to-pivot shape and unmistakable lightness make it a good fit for slower speeds as well.” The QST 99, as well as the Salomon QST 92, QST Lumen 99, and QST Lux 92, all mounted with Salomon Guardian 13 bindings, will be available for rental and, if the guests wish, to purchase.

In addition, Magic will offer new programs out of its Learning Center to introduce skiers to uphill travel and guided gladed, sidecountry and backcountry tours. Uphill Clinics will be offered on January 20th, February 10th and March 10th.

According to Greg Maino, Communications and Events Director of the Catamount Trail Association, “What Magic is doing should be a pretty big deal here in Vermont. They are embracing uphilling to the point where they are willing to add equipment to their rental fleet and start building resort programs that promote and capitalize on this new and growing experience. I think this is a great opportunity. Magic is helping to lead the way.”

Three race series events will call Magic home as early as this December.  Winter Wild kicks of its series Sunday, December 17 at Magic (winterwild.com).  Called “an uphill event with a twist”, this series was recognized in 2010 by the New Hampshire Governor’s Council on Physical Activity for significantly contributing towards healthy lifestyles. Also returning to Magic is the NE Rando Series on January 6th.

"Long before other resorts hopped on the ‘uphilling’ bandwagon, Magic was a pioneer over ten years ago, publishing a formal pro-skinning policy” says Jonathan Sheffitz, NE Rando Series founder and director.  “Magic has been hosting the NE Rando Race Series since 2008-09, once the oldest such race in existence anywhere in North America." (http://nerandorace.blogspot.com).  A special promotion with the WMAC Dion Snowshoes Series race the next day will combine athletes’ cumulative times from both events for special prizes (dionwmacsnowshoe.com). Look for expos, demo days, and special events throughout the season at magicmtn.com/events

“Uphill travel, whether it be on skis or split board, is ideal for connecting with the mountain and your surroundings in a unique and soul enhancing way” says Leo Tso of Weston Snowboards.  “Split boarding has seen a dramatic rise in participation on the East Coast. Uphill on resort terrain is a great way to eliminate the risks associated with backcountry travel.”

Geoff Hatheway, Magic’s President is a firm believer in what makes his ski area unique. "Magic is now a growing recreational resource to our community and customers. No doubt we're a bit unconventional and counter-cultural here, so we enthusiastically embrace unique ways to get up and down this challenging mountain which enhances Magic's spirited, sport-centric vibe. New Alpine Touring and snowshoe events and offerings fits with that mindset, and our volunteer community has been so helpful in making these unique opportunities happen."  So look for the uphill trend to grow and for this southern Vermont ski area to help lead the charge.

About Magic Mountain
Magic Mountain is an independent ski area in Londonderry Vermont with a unique mountain experience. Magic combines unmatched challenging ski terrain in southern Vermont; a “throwback” experience without soul-crushing crowds; and, a laid-back, welcoming ski community culture. New capital from its SKI MAGIC LLC ownership group is targeted to fix what has held Magic back from reaching its full potential: more efficient snow-making coverage and more accessible, reliable lifts for all skier types, including beginner and learn-to-ski. SKI MAGIC has an initial 5-year plan to bring Magic to ongoing operating profitability which will help employees, local home owners, local businesses, and most importantly, its growing family of skiers and riders who want Magic to succeed and be their year-round mountain adventure for generations to come.

Source: November 21, 2017 Londonderry, VT--Magic Mountain