The downhill trails are groomed every night before the hill
opens the next day.
“We pretty much corduroy everything so we’re running a tiller
every night when we’re grooming on the ski area,” he said.
According to Lallier, Quechee Lakes employs about 250 people
during the summer and approximately 100 in the winter
months. About 35 people are involved in the ski operation.
Lallier says the resort’s spectacular golf courses are the main
reason why Quechee Lakes exists. The two courses, which Lallier
notes are continually ranked in the top 10 in the state, are
the centerpiece around which the resort was built back in the
late 1960s and early 1970s.
“This place was really built for the golf courses. The ski area
made it a four-season resort,” he said.
Lallier says the golf courses are utilized in the winter to
provide cross-country skiing for the benefit of Quechee Club
members. Quechee Lakes has almost 20 miles of packed track
and groomed trails that traverse the golf courses as well as a
780-acre wilderness area that’s also part of the property.
The resort’s PistenBully Edge is used to groom and set tracks
on the golf courses.
“We pick very carefully where we put the cross-country
tracks because obviously that can do damage to the golf
course. We’ll go out there and corduroy a 16-foot swath and set
double tracks on the side of it, so we can cater to skate skiers
and also classic track skiers,” said Lallier.
“Many people also snowshoe in this area, so we try to pack
out a trail wide enough for all users to enjoy the trails during
the winter months,” he added.
Quechee’s wilderness area is a protected woodlot/wildlife
habitat with a network of hiking and biking trails that is maintained
and tracked for cross-country skiing in the winter, says
Lallier, adding that cross-country trail use is covered under the
member’s base dues.
In the wilderness area, a Ski-Doo Skandic utility snowmobile
pulls a roller that’s used to pack the snow and then a YTS
Ginzu Groomer drag is used to condition the trails.
“The Ginzu Groomer…has a scarifier bar, grooming comb
and track setter all in one, which the operator can select
and deploy one, two or all three depending on conditions,”
“We only groom and track this wilderness area after significant
snow events and typically just pack after the first couple
of storms to build up a base on which we then deploy the Ginzu
to set tracks,” said Lallier.
Like many other ski hills in the northeast, Quechee relies heavily
on snowmaking for its downhill operation, utilizing a low air
system of fan guns and tower guns that produces lots of manmade
snow to cover the trails with a durable base of snow.
According to Lallier, warmer temperatures in recent years
have made snowmaking more difficult.
“Our top elevation is 1,200 feet and all of our trails face south,
so early season snowmaking is a challenge,” he said. “We don’t
have a high-powered system … so with our low elevation and
south-facing terrain, we don’t even think about starting to
make snow until after Thanksgiving.
snowopsmag.com | SnowOps 37