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Winter Update from Jon Schaefer


"Three yards and a cloud of dust"

Dear Catamount Ski Family,

As a Michigan-born ski area owner, it pains me to quote Woody Hayes, the all-time great Ohio State coach who used the term "three yards and a cloud of dust" to describe his offensive strategy. What he meant was that in order to be successful a team would have to commit to a play-calling strategy that would ensure that the play would gain at least 3 yards in order to advance. It also implies the relentless advancement of the ball until progress stops in a football tangle in the dirt.

Why is a Michigan-born, Massachusetts-based ski area owner quoting an Ohio State football coach who wrote the book in 1957? Because to us, the successful operation of the ski area is the continual advancement of the business.

Stagnation isn't an option.

Since we bought Catamount, we have been on a relentless drive to make it better. First was the lodge rehab, construction, trail work, ponds, snow guns, and a lift. Then, the zip line added more summer life, and the adventure park got a make-over. COVID tried to stop us, but we still advanced the ball, cutting trails and adding more snow guns.

The term also talks about our mentality of advancing our business for your enjoyment, whatever the obstacle. We could have rolled out the same-old or average lifts, configuration, and food and beverage programs for this winter, but we aren't wired that way. So instead, we fix what needs fixing, and we aren't content with aging infrastructure and programs, so we can just eek another season of life out of something that should have been retired years ago.

As we look at 2021, instead of taking a break and riding out COVID, we didn't advance just three yards, but instead went for a Hail Mary compared to our neighbors. We've built one lift, and another is about to jump out of the ground. Our team executed on making significant changes to our snowmaking pumping system and dredged our snowmaking pond. We've opened up and regraded massive sections of the mountain, we've resolved issues in layout, design, and function that should have been resolved decades ago, we added a tubing park and we've totally rethought the way we do our food and beverage. This work is for you and your enjoyment at our resort and recognition of the loyalty and the business that you have given us.

But, and this is a big but, we advanced, but we are still in the cloud of dust. All of the projects are at punch list levels, but we will open with the punch list still unfinished, but then we'll all go skiing, the work will get done, and ultimately Catamount will establish itself as the best southern New England ski area.

So when you get here, the team is making snow, grooming trails, building lifts, and working double-time to make this place unforgettable. Please thank them.


Jon Schaefer

PS: I guarantee you that when the dust settles, we are coming back for our three more yards in 2022 and that we've already purchased the pumping system that will double our uphill capacity, are beginning to plan and permit two additional snowmaking ponds, and are looking at adding more snow guns that will make the Catamount system one of the most dynamic snowmaking systems on the east coast.

Thanks for sticking with us. Three yards and a cloud of dust 

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