It’s been a decade since I left my post as the Director of Communications for Sunday River, but a season doesn’t go by where I imagine what current successor in my former role might be dreaming up for messaging for the day. It usually happens on my morning walk as I look from my neighborhood to the slopes for signs of white trails and/or snowmaking guns and continues as I make my way up Skiway Road to my office and scan the parking lots. And as one might imagine, there are days where I thank my lucky stars that I am not sitting in that old chair because on a on a rainy or warm—or worse, both–December (or pick any month during the ski and ride season) morning it’s no fun wondering how to be forthright and still get hundreds of potential guests excited about taking some turns.
In the office today, as we looked toward the limited terrain but hopeful that the snow guns were blasting, I found myself giving my old spiel about how the mountain operations crew and resort heads truly do strategize about how to use their resources to create the best possible guest experience. I was trying to help our rental agent, Kirk, prepare for possible unhappy guests checking in for the upcoming holiday period, only to find that sometimes holiday miracles just don’t happen.
But what I was saying was not a load of BS (as I had formerly been accused many times). In any typical year the lack of a bounty (or heck, even a few inches of the white stuff) by now is no biggie. Sunday River really does have one of the most powerful snowmaking systems on the planet, thanks to huge investments over many years and a practically unparalleled supply of water. But when the cold temperatures remain elusive, it presents a new set of challenges all together: every possible window of snowmaking must be maximized and every opportunity to expand terrain must happen in order for those hundreds of guests to enjoy their experience.
So if an owner or guest is upset because the trail outside their window is not covered in white, it must be kept in perspective. While Sunday River wants it to be everyone’s Happy Place all of the time, sometimes it needs to make it a Happy Place for as many people as possible.
It may be ten years since I sat at that desk and tried to be clever about getting people to the mountain, but time has not changed the resort’s commitment to the snow. That I know. I hope you all enjoy the holiday season and are able to enjoy your turns.