Eaglecrest is prioritizing snowmaking and other offseason projects as a way to overcome challenging weather conditions and deliver a reliable winter product. Thanks to last season’s efforts we enjoyed 73 operating days on the upper mountain despite low natural snowfall and an unseasonably warm end of March.
Take a look at everything we’ve accomplished this offseason to improve your winter experience and add value to your season pass or lift ticket purchases!
Eaglecrest’s trail crew has been cutting brush and mowing the tall grasses all over the mountain, laying down a nice vegetative mat for natural and manmade snow to fall on. So far this offseason the guys have tackled Sneaky, Sourdough, Ego, Otter Slide, Williwaw, Motherlode, Cheechako, Lower Hilary’s Nugget, Porcupine Learning Area, Lower Nordic Loop, and the Benches Glades, Bear Trap, and Troll Glades between Ptarmigan towers 12 and 15. They’ve also cut new ski lanes through Hilda Glades, removed alder and willow along the Summer Road from the dam to the bottom of Easy Bowl, grinded stumps on Williwaw, and they’re not finished yet. Look out for other hidden surprises!
This is all extremely hard, but necessary work so that we can hold and maintain snow on the slopes, especially with early season and low snow conditions. If you see Kanaan, Brian, Paul, Arnie, Riley, or Coleman, on the mountain this winter, be sure to give them a huge thank you for their efforts!
DRAINAGE, DIRT WORK, & SNOWMAKING
Every year Eaglecrest starts out snowmaking on the Porcupine Learning Area to ensure Youth Programs and Holiday Camps start on time. A huge part of that is building and shaping what we call “The Beach”, a flat learning area for beginners to get accustomed to their equipment and balancing before progressing to the chairlift. The junction of the trails Muskeg and Dolly Varden at top of Porcupine Chairlift, another heavy snowmaking area, usually requires 10 to 15 feet of manmade snow depth. This offseason Mountain Operations staff have constructed rock walls with soil fill so that both areas will be ready for action with significantly less snow.
Water drainage is another tough challenge in the Porcupine Learning Area. When temperatures rise, snow melts and rain may fall, leading to water flows that erode our snow surfaces and depths. This offseason Eaglecrest’s Mountain Operations staff have been re-shaping slopes and digging trenches, berms, and culverts to re-route water so that we can better preserve the snowpack.
These drainage and dirt work projects are byproducts of Eaglecrest’s larger snowmaking vision. Collectively, they will greatly reduce to the amount of time and snowmaking resources required to fill in the Porcupine Learning Area. It’s now our goal to concentrate all of Eaglecrest’s 20 snow guns on the main mountain after only a few days with half the fleet on the Porcupine Learning Area.
The snow guns are prepped and ready for deployment. Last winter we brought a new pump house and water pipeline online to make snow all the way to the top of Hooter Chairlift. This summer we extended the pipeline all the way to tower three of the Black Bear Chairlift. Being able to fortify high traffic areas in higher elevations will really help with early season and low snow terrain openings.
Dirt work has also been done on the slope side of the Porcupine Lodge to ensure a flat level surface for the ski racks. This will improve the guest experience and limit the slip hazards for our first timers during icy conditions.
TERRAIN PARK STAGING
Eaglecrest hasn’t had a true Terrain Park in the past few seasons due to low natural snowfall on the lower mountain. This winter we have a plan! We stashed box and rail features near the base of Ptarmigan Chairlift. In the event of low snow, we will leverage our manmade stockpiles and put together a fun park along the Sneaky & Sourdough runout.
NEW ONLINE STORE & PRODUCTS
This summer Eaglecrest upgraded its point of sale system, which is the foundation for a wealth of ski area improvements to make life easier for both guests and staff. Most notable is the powerful and user-friendly new online store. We are still working through some initial growing pains, but the feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive. If you have any issues, please call or email us for assistance.
Eaglecrest is also now offering several new products for the 2019-20 winters, including a Season Pass Renewal Discount, the Flex Pass, and Hilda Dam Cabin rentals. Learn more here.
The new point of sale system has also allowed Eaglecrest to step in the 21st century of ski area operations and analytics with the installation of RFID gates and scanners for our chairlifts. The upgrades and valuable data will help improve Eaglecrest’s overall winter experience and offerings. Pass holders will enjoy the convenience of heading straight to the lifts, and ticket window lines will be shorter. All Eaglecrest guests will now be able to track their total vertical feet of skiing and snowboarding each day and throughout the season!
HILDA DAM CABIN
The Juneau Community Foundation and Eaglecrest are pleased to announce the grand opening of the Hilda Dam Cabin, a public use cabin built by the Juneau community foundation and donated to Eaglecrest to own and operate. Construction of the cabin was a priority project of the Juneau Community Foundation’s Parks, Trails & Recreation Fund and has also been a long-held goal of Eaglecrest. Overnight rentals go live in October.
NEW LOGO & RETAIL ITEMS
Following the guidance of Sealaska Heritage Institute, this summer we brought back a new version of Eaglecrest’s original formline logo. Visit the Eaglecrest Ski Shop to pick up shirts, hats, stickers, and more!
EAGLECREST SUMMER DEVELOPMENT PLAN
Eaglecrest’s board of directors and staff are pursuing the development of summer operations in an effort to ensure the ski area’s long-term operation, maintenance, and financial sustainability.
- Fish Creek Lodge deck resurfacing!
- Porcupine Lodge exterior stairs!
- Locker modifications. More family lockers!
- Finalization Old Tower Bar recreational site license!
- Webcam Repositioning & Snow Stake Camera!
- New Rebuilt Gear Box for Porcupine Chairlift!