Southern Vermont skiing stalwarts Stratton and Okemo are making some improvements that skiers and riders will enjoy this coming ski season. Here’s a look at the work that’s being done or planned for these Vermont ski resorts for 2009 / 2010:
Stratton Mountain Resort
Glades: Thinning will open up lines in glades such as Test Pilot, Vertigo, Kidderbrook Ravine, Shredwood Forest, Moondance, Diamonds in the Rough, Cabin Fever and Emerald Forest. Skiers and riders will also discover natural "freestyle" features in select gladed areas.
Freestyle terrain: The advanced terrain park and superpipe move to the site of the US Open Snowboarding Championships on Sunriser Supertrail in the Sunbowl. Another addition is the creation of a full-length Jib Park on Lower Middlebrook with features to hop on, in and over.
Moguls 101: "Mogul Learning Areas" will be built on trails such as White Birch, Daniel Webster and Downtowner to help mogul newbies master the bumps.
Tubing: A new lift-served tubing park in the Sunbowl will be open weekends and holidays. Also lit for nighttime use.
Okemo Mountain Resort
Grooming: Okemo is purchasing a second Prinoth BR500 grooming machine. Okemo's first BR500 is affectionately referred to as "The Beast" by resort operations staff; it has a 24-foot-wide tiller and a 20-foot-wide blade.
Snowmaking: Mountain crews are reconfiguring their HKD tower gun snowmaking system to enhance resurfacing response time.
Halfpipe: The Ross Powers Superpipe is getting a makeover - increasing its vertical pitch by 13 feet and increasing its steepness to 16 degrees instead of 11 degrees.
Photo: Skiing down to the base at southern Vermont's Okemo Mountain ski resort.