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06/07 Blue Hills

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Author Post
wanderingskis
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Posted: Jul 25, 2006 - 5:05 PM GMT

As most of us may know, on July 8th, 2006, governer Mitt Romney signed the document allowing operation of Blue Hills for the next 25 years. In the past few years of Blue Hills under the care of Ragged Mountain, little money has been put into the area. This was because it was being run on a year to year lease option and Ragged Mountain did not want to put in a big amount of money only to take the risk of the area closing the next year. Now that new owners are being found and the lease has been granted for 25 years, improvents should not only be expected by the skiing population of Blue Hills, but demanded.

It is now time to make a transition. From worrying about Blue Hills, to discussing future expansion or renevations you would like to see, as well as why you would like to see them.

It is in my personall opinion that because of Blue Hills being granted these leases and expansion permission, that the area may become a little more busy, because of this, expansion is needed in several places.

First off, you can't ski without snow (). New snowmaking is definatley needed for if not most of the trails, all of them! The snowmaking now is extremely limited to 5 old fan guns, 3 of which do not work. Secondly, being a lift attendant/ski instructor at Blue Hills, i know from first hand expierience that the chairlift can be slow at times. This is because it is a beginner hill and some people riding the chair lift aren't that familiar with it. But trust me, that thing can fly. But aside from that a new chairlift (maybe a triple?) might be necessery considering the bigger crowds that are possible in the future. Also, to accomodate these crowds, a new lodge is an absolute necessity. The one there now is small, old and run down and could use some expansion/upgrades. This is all for me for now. Any other suggestions from anyone on this post are more than welcome!!!

-Joe
summitchallenger
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Posted: Jul 25, 2006 - 5:18 PM GMT

You've hit the big things, Joe.

My observations:

-Secure water source for snowmaking.

-Get the other snowmaking trails up and going. I only saw that really two trails had snowmaking.

-Lodge: ditto.

-Lift: ditto. I'd also work on the beginner area.

-Add more night skiing.

-Beer's Bluff: clear it and use it.

-Vandalism: I really don't know what to do about this. It seemed like a few knuckleheads just couldn't get enough graffitti on the lift or anything.
jtdon
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Posted: Jul 25, 2006 - 6:46 PM GMT

I looked back and counted 3198 responses relative to the Blue Hills!! I can't get a response from DCR or the Senators who amended the budget to rescue the Blue Hills and I can't find the 2007 budget anywhere so I hope it is true. Any hard confirmation would be appreciated. Improvements:
1. Maybe discounted water from the MWRA for snowmaking.
2. Chairlift improvements!!
3. Regrading a couple of trails.
4. Lodge improvements.
5. Lighting.
"The longest journey starts with the first step"



Rick
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Posted: Jul 26, 2006 - 1:06 AM GMT

Trailside Condos


....just kidding
wanderingskis
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Posted: Jul 26, 2006 - 1:44 AM GMT

yeah Rick...you wish haha
dotguy78
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Posted: Aug 06, 2006 - 7:40 PM GMT

Well, I'm moving at the end of the month so BH will no longer be the closest hill to me. But here are a couple of suggestions for the new owners:

-- SNOWMAKING. This is the place's biggest failing. To an extent it depends on getting a better water source, IIRC they are buying water from the town of Canton(?) right now, which is expensive. In the past there were issues with unpaid water bills to the town. It seems that since DCR is in charge of the Quabbin and Wachusett reservoirs, there should be some way to get them a deal. A retention pond seems out of the question due to space restrictions.

-- Trail clearance. Beer's Bluff should be cleared and opened, with a cutover to the bottom of Big Blue to avoid interference with the lift loading area. The lighting on the lower end of Sonya should be fixed which would allow this to open. Lover's Lane and the Chute should likewise be cleared.

-- Terrain park: either put some rails and ramps in, or stop advertising that there is one. Rocks and dirt do not count as a terrain park, IMO

-- Facilities: at the very least, paint and new carpet for the lodge. If there is some extra cash, it should be expanded/replaced, and have lockers and larger restrooms.

I don't think that lift capacity/speed is that much of an issue, it's a small hill and it would be very easy to have too much lift for the downhill capacity.

To respond to someone on the old thread, the budget line item did not make any provisions for expansion at all, however it DID explicitly state that DCR will expect improvements in line with making it a more attractive operation, and requires the bidders for the contract to submit plans to that effect. So they may be open to the idea of cutting some new trails.
ILOVE2SKI
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Posted: Aug 06, 2006 - 9:18 PM GMT

Pretty much all that was said before... and the area under the lodge for racers is just a mess. I'm a guy and I think it is disgusting, I can only imagine what the girls think.

So Ragged won't be owning it next year???

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ILOVE2SKI
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Posted: Aug 11, 2006 - 3:34 PM GMT

Quote:


So Ragged won't be owning it next year???


Anyone know?


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sledhaulingmedic
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Posted: Aug 11, 2006 - 6:06 PM GMT

I have seen no confirmation of the legislative aproval for a lease of the property and still no confirmation from DCR. If someone finds a source, please provide a link or cite the source.

If a lease becomes available, there "should" be a bidding process to go along with it. It would be interesting to see who might step up to the plate.

A rehab, or rebuild of the lodge is should really be a top priority. (Not that I care, but the family, school-group orientation requires it.

The chair needs replacement. (higher towers and grade the trail beneath so it can be skiable with less than 4' of snow.)

Improvements to the beginner area.

A second chair up the skier's right side (to give access to more vertical that's not as steep.).

Lighting upgrades!

Polecats everywhere. (Although less likely if the current operators continue on, as they have a lot of relatively new guns.)

A retention pond would be great, but where would it go? On top of 138?

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wanderingskis
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Posted: Aug 13, 2006 - 5:02 PM GMT

There is some room over behind the Trailside mueseum where a retention pond could be built. However i dont think that this would be an option... the state would just make up some stupid reason why they cant build one. And yes... Beers Bluff (trail under lift) should absolutley be cleaned up and used as a trail again. As for the chute and lovers lane...i dont think they will do much to them...maybe some trimming of small trees...nothing much though.
sledhaulingmedic
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Posted: Aug 14, 2006 - 1:35 PM GMT
Edited: Aug 14, 2006 - 1:48 PM GMT

Quote:
There is some room over behind the Trailside mueseum where a retention pond could be built. However i dont think that this would be an option... the state would just make up some stupid reason why they cant build one.


More importantly than State law is the Law of Gravity. The hill does not drain to that side. Even if you could put a pond there, it would not recover the water.

Also, the MWRA is "In charge" of the resevoirs, not the DCR. The Town of Canton owns the pipes that provide the supply to the ski area. This has actually improved significantly when they upgraded the size of the main (which I believe was only a 6" main) back in the mid 90's.

Quote:
And yes... Beers Bluff (trail under lift) should absolutley be cleaned up and used as a trail again. As for the chute and lovers lane...i dont think they will do much to them...maybe some trimming of small trees...nothing much though.


Beers' Bluff has been skiable consistently only part of one season in the last 13. It takes a huge amount of snow to cover as it stands and the lift is too low for almost half of the length of the trail. (Oh yeah, and the snowmaking pipes on that side of Big Blue that were used to feed the guns have been out of service for about 8 years.)

The Chute (or Shoot) depending on which trail map you look at, could be regularly skiable with minor attention. The biggest issue are the guy wires from the telephone poles (and a couple of exposed pipes.) Unlike under the chair, it doesn't take much snow to ski).

Adding terrain would be nice, but the biggest issues are making the place more presentable and consistently open.

For your view pleasure, my tracks in The Chute (from this February).

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wanderingskis
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Posted: Aug 14, 2006 - 11:05 PM GMT

Quote:

The Chute (or Shoot) depending on which trail map you look at, could be regularly skiable with minor attention. The biggest issue are the guy wires from the telephone poles (and a couple of exposed pipes.) Unlike under the chair, it doesn't take much snow to ski).


Where did you see a trail map where it is spelled the shoot??? Can u send a link? id like to see it!
sledhaulingmedic
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Posted: Aug 15, 2006 - 4:25 AM GMT

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Where did you see a trail map where it is spelled the shoot??? Can u send a link? id like to see it!


I can only see it in my foggy memory, probably dating back to a time before Blue Hills had a web site, when there was a patrol shack at the top of the first set of stair from the parking lot, when Dan was a patroller, not a memory kept alive by a placque in a boulder to the right of the unloading ramp, when there were two J-bars in operation at the hill and when "Beers" was the name of the operators, not just a favorite apres ski beverage...

I wish I still had a map from then. It would be good for a chuckle.


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wanderingskis
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Posted: Aug 15, 2006 - 3:59 PM GMT

yes that would be Blue Hills back in the day for you! I remember not too long ago (4 years tops) seeing a trail map near the lodge. It was a map of the trails painted on a large piece of plywood. It was kinda funny seeing that it was really innacurate. Dont know what ever happened to it?
sledhaulingmedic
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Posted: Aug 15, 2006 - 7:37 PM GMT

There were some old trail maps and signs in the old patrol building. Unfortunately, they likely went to the landfill with the rest of the building.

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Bkroon9175
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Posted: Aug 17, 2006 - 4:20 PM GMT

What is the bottom line with the Blue Hills this year? Will it open? and who will run it? Does anyone know? I would hate to see it sit dormant.............
strato
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Posted: Aug 17, 2006 - 4:53 PM GMT

Quote:
What is the bottom line with the Blue Hills this year? Will it open? and who will run it? Does anyone know? I would hate to see it sit dormant.............


I thought the current lease has one more ski season to go, then all bets are off...
sledhaulingmedic
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Posted: Aug 17, 2006 - 6:45 PM GMT

Quote:
What is the bottom line with the Blue Hills this year? Will it open? and who will run it? Does anyone know? I would hate to see it sit dormant.............


Quote:
I thought the current lease has one more ski season to go, then all bets are off...


There has never been a lease. There has been an operating permit for a single season. Maybe I'm splitting hairs here, but that is the case. Whether or not an operating permit was granted to the current operators (Endriuna) or not is unknown.

I has been reported here on SJ that the Senate version of the budget included the provisions for a 20 year lease. This has yet to be confirmed with any reference to a published article or link to an official site. Inquiries from DCR have gone unanswered.

The status is still unconfirmed/unknown.


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Bkroon9175
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Posted: Aug 18, 2006 - 4:22 PM GMT

I learned to ski there and at Heavenly Hill in the 60's (boy that sounds like a long time ago. and My kids learned there when they were in elementary school. I hope it remains open.


Davev
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Posted: Aug 18, 2006 - 4:53 PM GMT

Wouldn't it be nice if the Ragged folks let us know what is up with BH..

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