Mount Snow Plans 900 New Housing Units

04/26/10 7:34AM By Susan Keese
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(Host) The owners of Mount Snow say they plan to redesign the resort to look more like an authentic Vermont village.

As VPR's Susan Keese reports, it's a trend in the ski industry.

(Keese) Peak Resorts has spent  $12 million dollars on improvements since it bought Mount Snow from the now-defunct American Skiing Company.

Much of that has been on cleanup, fresh paint and improved snow making.

But Peak Resorts partner Dick Deutsch says that's just the beginning. He's standing by the lifts at the mountain's main face, looking toward the  base lodge and clock tower.

(Deutsch) "We're going to be replacing these buildings first. You're probably standing right now where the town green's going to be."

(Keese) Deutsch refers to the main base area as a ‘mishmash of early 1960's architecture.' What his company has in mind is something more traditional.

(Deutsch) "What we're trying to do is remodel our rebuilding process around the rural towns and villages that you find in southern Vermont. We're modeling at least our main base around the town green concept that you find in Newfane and Townshend."

(Keese) The company also hopes to build some 900 units of resort housing over the next two or three decades.

Peak Resorts says the project would cost millions, but it's too soon to say how many. It's all part of a long-range master plan the resort has just unveiled.

Deutsch says he hopes to apply for conceptual approval under Act 250 this summer.

Laura Sibilia is Executive Director of the Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce. She says the local response has been enthusiastic.

(Sibelia) "Between the towns' planning and Mount Snow's planning, I feel like this is absolutely a win-win-win."

(Keese) The towns of Wilmington and Dover - where Mount Snow is located - have been working on becoming less dependent on Mount Snow for economic stability.

A few snowless winters and years with little investment by the resort's former owner helped launch the towns' collaborative economic efforts.

Randy Capitani, who publishes the local Deerfield Valley News, says those efforts are even more important in the light of Mount Snow's plans.

(Capitani)  "It's not enough to offer the same type of room that was offered 20 and 30 years ago. It has to be upgraded for the demands of the modern traveler. WIFI, critical, cell phone, those types of things."

(Keese) The region currently has limited cell and high speed Internet access. Capitani says if local amenities don't continue to improve, the benefits of Mount Snow's plans could backfire and lure tourists out of town.

But Parker Riehle of the Vermont Ski Areas Association says it fits in with a trend toward village development at Vermont resorts.

(Riehle) "It's great news for Mount Snow and for that region and it really speaks volumes to the solid forcasts for that resort as well as for the ski industry in Vermont overall.

(Keese) Within the village concept, Riehle says each area has its own style: In Stratton it's the Austrian theme, in Stowe, a western influenced stone and timber look, on a Vermont scale.

Riehle says Jay Peak, which has opened a new hockey rink and finished one of two new hotels, has drawn on its own ski history for its architecture and décor.

For VPR News, I'm Susan Keese.

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