STRATTON MOUNTAIN - Strat ton Mountain has made some upgrades recently as part of $7 million capital investment for the upcoming seasson.

New gondola cabins, the latest HKD snowguns, new snowcats, two new glades, buses and bullwheels, grips, racks and rental gear arrived recently.

The projects follow the heels of last year's $10.5 million investment that touched virtually every aspect of the resort experience. Additional projects this summer, including new Village shops and restaurants, expansion of the Carlos Otis Clinic and the Patricia Kaltsas Performing Arts Center at Stratton Mountain School, bring that two-year total to more than $21 million.

Manufactured by Sigma, an affiliate of Leitner POMA, the 58 new gondola cabins feature a rubber mounted frame designed for a smooth ride. New cabins and cable replace the originals built in 1988; a new gear box was installed at the start of last season bringing the gondola project in at about $3 milllion. With a trip time of less than eight minutes, the Stratton gondola carries 2,400 people per hour and runs 7,580 feet from base to the summit of southern Vermont's highest peak with a vertical rise of 1,742 feet.

The mountain also spent $1.2 million on 350 high efficiency, low energy HKD snowguns bringing Stratton's fleet to more than 1,000. In addition to boosting firepower, these efficient new HKDs make Stratton's move from diesel to clean electric compressors complete, saving 60,000 gallons of fuel.

"It's a win for the environment, and our bottom line," said Snowmaking Manager Kevin Booth.


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This summer's snowmaking project also includes 20 new air/water snowguns for a total of 75 portable air/water snowguns.

"While these air water guns are not our go-to gun, they work well in the early season and for touch ups," explains Booth. "We just want to have as many tools as possible."

In addition to their 14 fan guns, Stratton also added two new Prinoth BR 350 grooming machines in the fleet, one of which is winch ready.

Two new Blue Square (intermediate) glades extend beyond the western boundary for a total of 125 acres of gladed terrain designed for all abilities ranging from the wide open Emerald Forest to the tight and tech nical double black runs like Squirrel's Nest.

There are also new shops including Lole, eateries and pub in the Village, restaurant expansion at mid-mountain, summer trail work, state-of-the-art sound and video in the Training and Fitness Center's cycling studio.