The Baldy "Eye on the Mountain" Guest Blog
Enjoy our latest guest blog, written by long-time Mount Baldy local resident Sandra (Sam) Smith. Sam gives her thoughts and observations of the Baldy Mountain Resort pre-season preparations. Look for Sam during your visit to the resort this winter!
I am a full-time resident at Mount Baldy, and have been here every winter since 1968. I post as “eye on the mountain” on my independent blog for the Baldy Community.
New General Manager Andy Foster brings a fresh approach to Baldy management, leading, listening, asking questions, and showing a realistic vision for Baldy moving forward. It’s a good thing he likes a challenge, because he has faced many already, and he is still smiling. Andy is living full time at Baldy, and recently proposed to his long-time girlfriend Ploy – she said yes – and they have a new puppy.
I took some heat last winter for expressing concerns about what was being said about new subdivision development. When Andy came on board, he very quickly found out that the real estate development required more time and work before construction could commence. Work continues on regulatory and planning stuff – no new construction by BMR yet.
The area for proposed mini cabins has been logged, along with a patch in the middle of each of the proposed lots.
Part of Andy’s approach is not to announce things until they are complete – or he is confident that they will be completed soon. That is a little bit of a challenge for me, as my regular readers are always looking for news.
I keep looking for tidbits to post, and have some updates for you.
- Baldy resident and paramedic Kevin has expanded responsibilities – some new, some old. Once again he takes on the challenge of looking after the lift operators, and finding replacements when someone doesn’t show up for work. Kevin has experience in food and beverage, and has assumed responsibility for the lodge café and bar.
- Kevin has been around for a long time, and has seen what works and what doesn’t. He will announce more later, but I am pleased to know that his food plans include fresh inhouse baking and faster service.
- Kevin and his team have been working inside the lodge – there are some changes, and a return to some of the previous layout that was more efficient. The bar has had a positive change – I can’t post photos, but the reveal is likely in about 6 weeks.
- I can’t post what I thought of last year’s colour, but thankfully the bar has been repainted, and the memorabilia is going back up – including the historical photos of the grand opening of the Baldy Tee and ski patrol photo that were on display in Buy Low last year.
- There is a cozy corner again, but the pool table has not returned. Bar hours will be fairly close to what has worked well in the past.
- Sharon, Maria, Janice and friends – your favourite table is back.
- Michael’s wedding table did not survive last year’s renos intact, but the materials have been incorporated into the improvement I can’t tell you about…..
- Kevin has Terry looking after the ski patrol this year, but of course is available to help if needed.
- Another project Kevin has on the go is improved mapping and signage for the snowshoe trails.
- My readers know that I don’t like the trailers in the parking lot. Apparently, the leases are for more than a year, so we are stuck with them for another season.
- The Snow Sports Centre is a great location near the magic carpet, and with washrooms. During receivership, the marmots moved in, and it will be a major project to de-tension, clean, re-insulate and use again. It appears unlikely that will happen this year, so another year of rental shop in trailer town.
- As much as I would love to see Lee Mounsey back at Baldy, she has committed to another season at Whistler/Blackcomb. Fortunately, she is working for Baldy pre-season – working on ski school programs and staffing, and doing school bookings.
- Changes to Ladies day – concerns from last year are being discussed.
- Your website concerns have been heard – stay tuned.
- There would not have been a usable ski area for BMR to purchase had it not been for the efforts of Matt over several years – lean times, receivership times – and he was not paid for all of his hours. As Mountain Manager – he looked after everything, without much to work with.
- In my blog, his code name has been MMT – man of many talents. This year, MMH is the new name – man of many hats. Without the title, he has resumed responsibility for many things. Lifts, grooming, ski school, rental shop, ticket office, working with the snow removal contractor, and persuading the highways contractors…..etc etc
- Matt and his crew have a lot of the lift maintenance and testing complete, however there is more to do, and the current project involves spending the days in the cage working on towers.
- The safety work has always been done, but you will notice a few extras this year, including seat repairs and new rubber on the footrests.
- Kevin’s crew moved inside while the fire hazard was high, but they are back out brushing now – maybe it was the wet spring, but some of the brush that was cut last year has had exceptional growth and is being re-cut now – lower parts of Dividend, Shaft, Ponderosa and Powderkeg.
- BMR has previously posted about the early summer work, including thinning trees on some of our favourite powder haunts – including Maverick and Honky Tonk.
- The side x side was a versatile important piece of equipment for the mountain operations. It was stolen this summer. The police have been given video of the break in, and names believed to be associated with the images, but the machine has not been recovered. A $3000 reward has been offered, but no results. Insurance for operations like this have a fairly high deductible, so to replace it is money strait out of the pocket.
- As a former manager of this ski area, I am always interested in the goings on. I am finding the mountain a much calmer happier place to be this fall. I am enjoying getting my own stuff done, and not worrying about what is going on with season prep.
- You may not be getting the social media hype that you were last year, but rest assured, preparations for the season are on track, and there is solid planning underway for future improvements.
- A return to the 5 day a week operation makes sense for a lot of reasons. Bring on “ Big Pow Thursdays” – do you still have one of the Big Pow shirts?
- All indications are, including from the weather guessers, that we have a great season coming up.
- A lot of past members of the Baldy team are a bit like Westjet employees – they care. Familiar faces will be a part of the season success. Even “Swan” came back after six years – now a journeyman plumber, he has done some plumbing in the lodge and is currently with the brushing crew. He told me he was happiest when working here.
- I try to touch base with the BMR team fairly often, and post updates regularly on my independent blog.
Sandra (Sam) Smith