Gunstock Mountain Resort prepares for new construction


June 10, 2009
The long-planned expansion to the Gunstock Mountain Resort beginner ski area got another step closer to completion as the Conservation Commission gave permission for construction last week.

"Is everyone happy with it at this stage?" asked commission member Chuck Coons at a meeting last week.

The answer was unanimously in the affirmative when the committee voted after a presentation by Doug Irving, representing Gunstock.

The project will create new beginner trails and double the resort's snowmaking capability. The project is expected to start in earnest this summer, with the groundwork being laid for the construction over the summer and fall. The new area is planned to open in time for the 2009/2010 season. The expansion of the beginner trails will include a new Quad lift to access the trails. The new trails will meet up with several of the beginner trails already in place including the Try Me and Misfire ski runs.

The expansion will update Gunstock's snowmaking technology, which will allow the resort to cover more of the mountain with snow more efficiently. This includes bringing snow to the farther reaches of the resort like the area around the Sidearm trail and focusing on the beginner trails. Gunstock will also be repairing roads and looking to improve drainage on the property.

"The new chair will be a little higher in elevation than the current one," said Irving.

Irving said that there were other factors they took into consideration during the planning stage. The resort decided not to culvert the area under construction as extensively as they had planned. Irving added that the entire plan was to give the resort more beginner terrain and to do that they had to make some concessions. Coons asked Irving if the Department of Environmental Services was satisfied with their plans.

"Yeah," said Irving, "I think they were satisfied. I think they understood the safety concerns we had. I think they appreciated how we got to what we have now."

Irving said the biggest concern for DES was that the terrain would not changed more than 200 ft. He added that the weren't able to do that without making some sacrifices, but the final result worked better for them because it is now more aesthetically pleasing than the previous design. Things like pipes and electrical transformers are more discreet. The changed plan also helps with controlling the temperature of the water in Gunstock's pond.

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