Q: What should every first time visitor to Okemo know?
A: Every first-time visitor should know that they made the best possible choice in coming to Okemo. Okemo consistently wins awards and accolades in categories across the board. It has been family-owned and operated by the Mueller family for more than 30 years. Tim and Diane raised their two children on these slopes and they know what it takes to make families happy. It is no coincidence that this passion, dedication and experience has resulted in the success that is Okemo Mountain Resort. It is the second-most visited ski resort in the East and 15th nationally. It’s no secret that Okemo provides a superlative winter vacation value and experience for every visitor – regardless of their ability or love for snow.
Oh, and that the Belgian Waffles at the Waffle Cabin come with a chocolate drizzle OR without. 🙂
Q: Top 10 things about Okemo in the winter.
10. family owned and operated for 30 years
9. alternative activities: mountain coaster, zip lines, snow tubing, ice skating, snowshoeing, etc.
8. Slopeside lodging and dining (amount, caliber and variety)
7. Parks and Pipe
6. Terrain (amount and variety)
5. Family-friendly (welcoming to multigenerational family members)
4. Guest Service
3. Snow Grooming (Proprietary practices make it the best)
2. Snowmaking (97% coverage)
1. The snow quality
Q: Favorite après ski food and drink – what and where?
Families love S’mores in front of the fire in Okemo’s Jackson Gore Inn lobby; a favorite apres ski snack that everyone can enjoy … slabs of chocolate and graham crackers are served with a table-top campfire and fresh marshmallows for roasting to golden perfection.
Q: For those who want to take a break from the slopes for the day and head off the mountain – what would you recommend?
A: In addition to all the skiing and snowboarding on the mountain, Okemo Mountain Resort offers some fun activities for every member of the family. Okemo’s Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster is a roller-coaster-like attraction that allows riders to control their own speed as they glide down rails that twist through trees and corkscrew loops. Sawyer’s Sweep Zipline Tours give participants a winter perspective from 50 feet up as they cross suspension bridges, rappel from platforms and soar along seven ziplines. There’s also ice skating, snow tubing, snowshoeing and Nordic, indoor golf, swimming in the many pools, spa services, or relaxing by a fire. In the village of Ludlow, located at Okemo’s doorstep, there’s great dining and shopping. Southern Vermont is a great place to explore and Okemo is the perfect hub from which to launch adventure in any season.
Q: Best part about living/working in VT?
A: The best part of living and working in Vermont is the people. Vermonters are genuinely friendly and helpful people. There’s an authenticity that visitors recognize and embrace as being old-timey and quaint. Sure, it’s a throwback to a simpler time but there is something very special about being part of a community and knowing that your neighbors are looking out for you.
Q: Most challenging part about living/working in VT?
A: It’s the weather that poses the greatest challenge. The weather in Vermont can be a blessing and a curse. It is the weather that gives us verdant hillsides in summer, brilliant fall foliage and snow-covered slopes for skiing and snowboarding in winter. In a state with such a rich agrarian history and culture, we are obsessed with the weather and eternally optimistic about it. The weather impacts the very livelihood of many Vermonters… and it can be kind or cruel, like when Tropical Storm Irene destroyed homes and property, or when a lack of snowfall and unfavorable snowmaking conditions impact the economy of an entire community. On some level, we’re all farmers and the weather determines our harvest.
Q: Anything new for Okemo this winter?
A: There is so much capital investment that goes into maintaining and growing a four-season resort like Okemo … so much that people don’t see outwardly, but that improves their experience overall. Some of the more evident improvements this winter were: three new gladed areas that added 16 acres of tree skiing and riding to Okemo’s expansive terrain; two new grooming machines, including another Prinoth 500 horsepower Beast and an agile Prinoth Bison Park Cat; 42 new HKD Snowmakers SV-10 tower guns added to Okemo’s snowmaking arsenal; an additional Waffle Cabin at Jackson Gore, so the sweet, siren smell of beguiling Belgian waffles now tempts skiers and riders at both base areas.
Q: Anything you would like to add?
A: Okemo Mountain Resort continues to receive accolades and win awards for snow surface conditions, family programs, lodging and dining. Okemo is a top pick with numerous peoples’ choice polls and top-ten lists.
The 2011 SnowEast magazine reader survey declared Okemo number one in the East in the favorite grooming category. Okemo earned the second spot for Vermont ski resorts and made the top ten in the East for snowmaking.
In the most recent SKI magazine reader survey, Okemo once again made the East’s top ten for snow quality (tenth) and grooming (fourth).
Huffingtonpost.com recently listed Okemo as one of New England’s Best Ski Spots for Families
Fodors.com recently listed Okemo in its “Best U.S. Ski Resorts for Families” roundup. Okemo was one of only five resorts named and one of two eastern resorts listed.
In August, Okemo was ranked number two in the Family Vacation Critic list of Ten Best Family Ski Resorts. Okemo was one of only two eastern resorts named in the countdown.
In March, About.com announced that Okemo Mountain Resort had been selected as the 2012 About.com Readers’ Choice Award winner for Best New England Ski Resort. Now in its fifth year, the About.com Readers’ Choice Awards honor the best products, features and services across more than a dozen categories, ranging from technology to hobbies to parenting and more, as selected by its readers.
In Oct. 2011, Forbes.com listed their top picks in an article and slide show titled “10 Best Ski Resorts for Families.” Okemo Mountain Resort claimed the fifth position in the top-ten list and Okemo was the first eastern resort named.
Lodging and Dining
Okemo Mountain Resort’s Jackson Gore Inn earned the RCI Gold Crown Resort designation for 2012. RCI presents this award to eligible properties in recognition of superior resort facilities and services. RCI selected The Jackson Gore Inn to join the prestigious group of affiliated resorts based upon a 12-month compilation of exchange guest assessments which included resort quality, service delivery, and overall vacation experience, as well as an evaluation of resort facilities, amenities and guest services.
Green Hotels in the Green Mountain State Okemo Mountain Resort’s Jackson Gore Inn was designated a Green Hotel in the Green Mountain State by the environmental business partnership between the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and the Vermont Small Business Development Center. This designation is based on the Inn’s voluntary commitment to sound environmental excellence through the placement and achievement of high environmental standards.
Coleman Brook Tavern, located in Okemo Mountain Resort’s Jackson Gore Inn, has been honored with the Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence. Coleman Brook Tavern is one of only four Vermont restaurants to receive the Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence, and one of 833 worldwide.
Thanks to Bonnie MacPherson, director of public relations, who has been with Okemo for seven years for taking the time to answer our questions.