End of Season Recap

2024 Employee Photo

As the second season of Snowriver draws to a close, I felt it fitting to spend a bit of time reflecting on what made it particularly challenging, exciting, unique, and memorable. It's a season I won't soon forget and one I hope not to relive anytime soon. Despite the challenges, we still spent over 100 days on snow, skied powder, raced, danced to live music,  and made the very most of the cards we were dealt.  I'm already looking forward to doing it all over again next season, though hopefully with a different hand.

A Season of Improvements

This past season was the true unveiling of our vision for the future of Snowriver Mountain Resort. As we draw the curtain on our opening act and move into the next phase of improvements I think it's important to reflect on just how many things were touched by our team as we worked to improve the overall experience of visiting the resort. Here's a list of everything I can think of:

  • New Voyageur Express High Speed 6 passenger chairlift
  • Complete renovation of The Lodge at Jackson Creek, Including:
    • All 46 of our lodging units;
    • The Lobby Bar and all common areas;
    • The Legacy Restaurant with a new elevated menu;
    • Dudley's Tavern;
    • The pool, sauna, spa, and locker rooms.
  • Complete renovation of Gabbro Grille, including a relocated and enlarged stage for performances
  • Updates and improvements to many facilities including:
    • New carpeting throughout the entire Black River Chalet;
    • New siding for the Jackson Studios and Sugar Maple Chalet;
    • New and improved LED exterior lighting for chalets and The Lodge;
    • New patio outside Jack's Bar and Grill.

While we won't be biting off quite as much as we did for this season, the team and I can't wait to start on our summer projects in preparation for next ski season.

A Season of Snowmaking

We all know that Mother Nature and her accomplice El Nino have given us quite a challenge this year. We started our snowmaking campaign last fall on October 29th, a reasonably normal timeframe to get the system up and running. Despite the on-time start, the temperatures we encountered for nearly the entire month of November were well above average, delaying our opening to December 3rd. Once we got open at Black River Basin, temperatures remained abnormally high at 11 degrees above average for the month of December, with record-breaking highs on many days. 

Unfortunately, Christmas Day and the few days following it were among the warmest of the month, and the 27th became the warmest day on record with a high of 46 degrees. We lost nearly all of the snow we had made so far and were forced to close the ski area for two days during what is typically the busiest period of our year. Thankfully, temps dropped back into their normal winter range, so we had enough time to get some terrain reopened in short order. From there our crew started the entire process over, remaking snow across the entirety of our two ski areas. 

Weather chart

Fortunately, a week-long mid-January cold snap allowed our crews to crank out an enormous amount of snow before temps rose back into the abnormally warm range. It was at this point that we reached our greatest amount of open terrain, which we were able to maintain for a few weeks until we set yet another record high of 52 degrees on February 9th. This marked the third time we experienced significant losses in our snowpack in a single season. Despite this punch in the gut, our team buckled down to remake snow across much of our terrain for a 3rd time. 

The 23-24 season will be one I'll remember for a long time to come. It was the first time in my career that I've been forced to make snow every month of the winter season from October to March. The snowmaking team deserves a huge thank you from everyone who skied this year. Their physically strenuous and mentally exhausting job stretched over nearly 20 weeks, more than double a typical season. All in all, we spent over 200% more on snowmaking this season than last year. The investment made by our team and by our ownership resulted in 110 days of skiing and riding , more days than any other resort in the UP. I'm incredibly proud of these efforts and am thankful to those of you who joined us on the slopes we worked so hard to hold onto!

A Season of Gratitude

After looking back on the countless ups and downs of this season, I'm filled with immense gratitude for our outstanding team. Working around the clock from late October through April 1st, they've labored to ensure every aspect of our resort runs smoothly, embodying dedication and resilience in the face of challenges.

Our snowmakers braved the elements to cover the slopes in a solid base of snow, providing the material for our groomers to sculpt the perfect canvas for skiers and snowboarders, transforming the mountain into a playground of pristine runs. Behind the scenes our team of mechanics kept all the equipment running throughout the season, supporting our operations staff in creating a seamless experience for our guests. Our food and beverage staff fuel our guests' adventures with warmth and hospitality, crafting delicious meals and beverages that bring joy to tired bodies and hungry bellies. And let's not forget our product sales staff, who share their passion for the mountain lifestyle with every guest, ensuring they have what they need to make the most of their time on the slopes. And after a long day, our guests return to their rooms that have been meticulously cleaned by our top-notch housekeeping and custodial team. 

Together, these individuals form the backbone of our mountain community, each playing a vital role in creating the extraordinary experiences that keep our guests coming back year after year. Their dedication, professionalism, and unwavering commitment inspire me daily, and I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to work alongside such a remarkable team. As we round out the season, let's take a moment to express our heartfelt appreciation for our ski area team. They are the true heroes of the mountain, and I am honored to stand beside them as we work to uncover the full potential of this special place. 

"I'll see you next year, 

same time, 

same place."

-Warren Miller