At the busiest point in the season, Otsego employs about
150 part-time and full-time staff, and their grooming equipment
is by Prinoth.
“We groom every night,” said Bedells. “Grooming equipment
is the Prinoth Bison. Then we have a Prinoth Husky that
we use to run people down to the River Cabin, which is a little
warming hut on the backside of the mountain.”
One thing that continuously draws visitors year after year
is the view.
“Our lodge is set at the top of the ridge and the view is about
22 miles of the Sturgeon River Valley. Plus, you ski down before
you go up since the lodge is at the top,” said Bedells.
Another key to staying competitive as a ski destination is
to offer more than just skiing and snowboarding – an offering
that Otsego has gotten right. Not only are there 29 immaculate
runs for skiers and snowboarders to enjoy, but there are
also more than 6.2 miles of groomed trails for cross-country
skiing and snowshoeing, permitting guests to experience the
Sturgeon River Valley from a completely different but equally
As far as viewpoints go, Otsego certainly has a unique one
according to Bedells.
“This place has been around since 1939 and that’s when
they started building things here. So, there’s a certain motif
around the property. You have a lot of cedar and elk-style
buildings. You’re not looking at a behemoth resort. The main
lodge has been added onto 15 times, and the history of the
place is all over the walls here. It’s definitely a unique, quaint
spot,” he said.
The 2017-2018 season marks the first year in its 78-year history
that the Otsego Club and Resort will be open to the public.
Bedells is candid about the reasoning behind this momentous
“Over the past 20 years, membership has dwindled. It has
in golf during the summer, too. The younger generation just
isn’t staying in one spot anymore. We’re making the move
into the public realm in order to capture new skiers and new
customers. We have a long history of being a private but
unique ski club. Our hope is that we can still be that unique
spot but that we’re available for the public to experience as
well,” he said.
Given that all the necessary infrastructure is in place for
this change, the biggest challenge facing the Otsego Club
now will be switching from a private to a public mindset.
While the staff at Otsego have all along been big supporters
of the club going public, Bedells says there will be a learning
curve for everyone once the doors are open and the season
“You’re going to have a higher volume of people but you’re
going to try to give the same customer care as you would at
a private club. With private clubs, there are very personal
relationships established between staff and members. But
you’re just not going to be able to sustain that in the public
world. Most of my employees have been here at least a decade
so they’ve watched some of our skiers grow up. So, it’s just
adjusting that mindset,” he said.
Although no one can predict how the first public season
will go, Bedells and the rest of the Otsego team have high
expectations that happen to be based on the past. Osprey
Properties purchased Otsego back in 2007, leased it out in
2012 and obtained it back from their renters in 2017. In 2010,
the resort hosted a major international event that Bedells is
considering trying to replicate after a few public seasons are
under the resort’s belt.
32 January 2018 | snowopsmag.com