(Photo courtesy of year-round mountain local Mark Clement)
We are indeed a locally owned and operated independent ski resort… say that ten times fast. And you’ve probably noticed there is A LOT of consolidation in the ski industry right now. Some of Vermont’s most renowned ski resorts have sold to out-of-state corporate parents. We’re not trying to throw shade here, just pointing out that when you support our mountain, you also directly support our community.
Not only that, but our founder, Ralph DesLauriers, and his children own and operate this resort we all call home. Ralph is quite the visionary. He had the audacity to dream of a place where folks live, work and play year-round nearly 60 years ago, and that vision lives on today.
Ralph saw this thicket of woods in a glacial bowl at 2,100 feet (without a road up to it at the time) and had the audacity to dream of it becoming a family friendly/accessible to all ski resort for the local every day working person and school children, which was a pretty atypical target demographic at the time for Vermont ski resorts. This is why he quickly installed the night lights (now converted to LED’s to reduce our carbon footprint) because he knew extending the skiing and riding lift hours would allow the working person to come after work and school buses to unload school children 4 afternoons a week.
The After School Program remains one of our proudest vocations to this day. We have taught 10s of thousands of school children to learn to ski & ride with us – mostly from Washington & Chittenden Counties – over the last 50 years or so and are looking forward to that number climbing into the 100s of thousands in the next 50.
We are also proud of our partnerships with incredible organizations like Vermont Adaptive, the CHILL Foundation and Unlikely Riders, all focused on reducing physical, mental, financial and/or societal barriers to make Bolton Valley welcoming and inclusive to all. Supporting their work is important to us and will continue well into the future.
The legacy and foundation we’ve built together over these last several decades is something we’re very proud of. It’s a foundation we are excited to continue building upon into the future. As you’ve likely noticed, ever since the DesLauriers’ re-purchased Bolton Valley with local investors in 2017, we’ve been hard at work on several projects around the resort. Some were simply overdue “deferred maintenance” but there’s also been some really exciting and new growth happening.
We’ve really grown our operation these last few years to turn summer back “on” as it was when the DesLauriers owned it the first time around. From our vibrant Downhill Mountain Bike Park, summer camps and lessons/programs that mirror winter to the newly thriving wedding and summer hotel business, with new outdoor pool, we’re quickly returning to that year round Vermont mountain resort of years past.
Additionally, under the leadership of Lindsay DesLauriers, we’ve been VERY busy investing in some behind the scenes infrastructure projects across the resort that may interest you… 😉 Probably most important to mention here would be improvements to our snowmaking capacity and efficiency, the new and improved Timberline Lodge (and The Ponds across the road), a rather substantial hotel renovation and the newly installed outdoor pool, which opened this summer and has already been a massive hit for hotel guests and mountain locals alike.
Returning back to our roots as a Vermont resort for year-round adventure (and weddings) in the mountains and continual improvements to the skiing and riding guest experience in winter is our focus and our passion.
And while we’re talking about snowmaking, we think it bears pointing out that while we certainly aren’t immune to the challenges of climate change, we are doing everything we can (incrementally within our means) to get ahead of those challenges as we grow into the future. Beyond just increasing our snowmaking capacity, we are also focused on our impact in the community we call home. Upon their return in 2017, the DesLauriers family were quick to make environmentally sustainable improvements by replacing our diesel compressors in snowmaking with electric compressors, displacing 25,000 gallons of diesel fuel with the much cleaner grid energy supplied by our friends at Green Mountain Power. If you don’t know, from a sustainability lens, we are awfully lucky to have them as our utility, that’s for sure!
Additionally on the demand side, we converted our old night lights on the slopes to energy efficient LED’s to further reduce our carbon footprint while we’re skiing and riding at night. On the supply side, we’ve been involved in projects to restore the production from the wind turbine at the top of Vista Peak (which was dormant for many years previously) and a newly installed solar array at the bottom of the access road (down Route 2 a little ways on an old DesLauriers tract of land – the old driving range for those of you that remember that far back). And the electrification continues with our recent delivery of electric snowmobiles for our mountain operations team. We were the first delivery of Taiga’s cutting edge snow machines this past April and can’t wait to put them to use this winter. You’ll quickly appreciate the quieter drive bys of our lift mechanics and patrol, but also the lack of fumes! And our local watershed will certainly appreciate the lack of fossil fuels that can otherwise find their way into our streams and lakes any time any of us drive our cars or gas-powered lawn equipment for that matter.
We’re not trying to claim any sort of hero status here and we know we have more work ahead of us than behind us on this front, but we’re committed to doing better when and where we can long into the future, because this place is important to us.
We wanted to share all of this with you because we’re very proud of where we’ve been, but even more excited about where we’re headed. And we hope you’ll consider joining us. At Bolton Valley, we are members of this community and stewards of this land, and we look forward to continuing to grow together; in concert with each other.
We hope you’ll consider supporting these efforts by choosing to have fun with us this winter at Bolton Valley. If that sounds good to you, just be sure to lock in your season pass before midnight on Tuesday, September 6 when pass prices go up.
Thanks for your consideration and we’ll hope to see you on the mountain again soon!