Magic Mountain making major snowmaking expansion

LONDONDERRY, Vt. (WCAX) Magic Mountain recently received Act 250 approval for a snowmaking project that will double the size of its existing pond. It adds to the growing number of improvements new owners are making at the Londonderry ski area.

Winter may still be months away, but for officials at Magic Mountain it's never too early to start thinking snow. "These are two major investments that really kind of secure our future," said resort president Geoff Hatheway.

He's standing in front of what will soon be a $9 million gallon snowmaking pond that will allow the ski area to cover over 60 percent of the mountain. Nearby, newly purchased poles for a fixed quad are getting ready to go in which will get many more skiers and riders on that snow. It's a $2 million investment that has now received Act 250 sign-off from the state.

"We are surrounded by some really great resorts like Okemo, Stratton, Mount Snow and Bromley and things of that sort, but we are different. We are unique. We bring a different type of person here," Hatheway said.

The mountain was purchased in 2016 by a group of local investors who say the projects are essential for the future. Other improvements include renovations to the base lodge and an additional lift.

"It is definitely good for the business," said Melody Anderson, who works in nearby Chester, a small town lined with shops on the way to the mountain. "People who are on vacation with their family, and that is just one more thing that draws them into the town."

"We all benefit," said Pat Budnick, who owns a motel just down the road. "I don't know anyone in town who doesn't share their guests. You know, if they are looking for a place to eat, I send them down here, I send them to the Stone Hearth. I send them to MacLaomainn's, to keep the business in town."

Magic dubs itself as a "throwback" mountain with no lines and a family vibe. And the owners say it will stay that way while positioning the business for the long haul. "Small places, independent places like us are few and far between, so to be able to put this type of money in, do these two projects here in the state of Vermont and keep a place like Magic alive, it's really something special," Hatheway said.

Work on both the lift and the pond is already underway and mountain officials say both projects will be complete before the snow flies.