When Jim Wiseman bought what would become Swiss Valley Ski & Snowboard Area in 1968, it consisted of a dilapidated farmhouse and seven rope tows. A mere day before opening, five of the tows were condemned. But Jim remained undeterred, forging ahead with a humble inventory of 122 pairs of rental skis. Today, that number has grown to 2,000, in addition to 500 snowboards, which plunge down 11 runs and a 225-foot peak that also allows guests to test-drive the equipment and practice their yardstick skills. The terrain parks, one of which was added in 1997 to reflect the resort’s devotion to freestyle skiing, greet visitors with new challenges such as tabletops, high spines, grind rails, and pyramids.
Whether skiers tackle the stunt-ready equipment or seek out beginner lessons, they’re guaranteed fresh powder thanks to Swiss Valley’s expert method of snowmaking. The technology ensures enough snow for winter fun, as long temperatures allow and no salt giants attack the slopes. After their frosty jaunt, visitors can warm up in the fireside lounge, dotted with a freestanding and picture windows that overlook the snowy terrain.
As your ski-lift chair nears its drop-off point, you keep your tips up as instructed, nod at the friendly lift operator, and plant your poles in the hard-packed snow as the chair's momentum propels you forward. You now find yourself at the very top of Hemlock, a black diamond run at Timber Ridge Ski Area. In spite of the run's experts-only status and the pillowy mounds of snow that cover it, you brace yourself with a lungful of cold mountain air and point your skis toward the Timber Ridge lodge far below. Gravity pulls you into a graceful slalom through the lily-white layer of powder, leaving a wake of fresh arcing tracks that follow your skis all the way back to the bottom of the lift.
This sense of freedom is a constant every winter day at Timber Ridge Ski Area. Hemlock is joined by a diverse array blue and green runs, welcoming skiers and snowboarders of every experience level. Read below for a by-the-numbers tour of the ski resort:
1961: year opened to the public, with one rope tow powered by a '49 Chevy
50 cents: cost of first lift ticket
60 wooded acres
2 types of snow cover: man-made and natural lake-effect
2 terrain parks
0 abominable snowmen in residence
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Work Hard Play Hard whisks urban professionals away on day trips and social events aimed at making the most out of their Saturdays. In the winter, this means ski and snowboarding excursions to Midwestern resorts such as Cascade Mountain, Chestnut Mountain Resort, and Devil's Head Resort. After pickup at one of two designated spots in the city, a well-appointed coach bus transports guests to the slopes as they snack on granola bars or nap in their plush seats. Each destination welcomes participants of all experience levels with range of courses from beginner-friendly bunny slopes to challenging terrain parks and black-diamond trails. Besides transportation, lift tickets, and equipment rentals, Work Hard Play Hard also offers lesson packages for those wishing to polish up their yeti-chasing skills.
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