Progression. Innovation. Development. Since Holiday Valley’s genesis, these are the nouns we use to describe the resort. Every off-season, it’s all hands on deck - from management, to Mountain Operations, to Food & Beverage - to make a concentrated effort to make an already stellar product even better. When you speak in terms of national recognition, resorts like Snowbird, Mammoth Mountain and Okemo are names you hear often. But you’d be shocked at how many people across the North American continent know, and love, Holiday Valley.
Last year, Holiday Valley (and to be completely honest, the entire east coast) were put on a Code Red high alert. When November came along and it was still 80º, no one panicked. Winter would come, fast and furious. But winter didn’t come, and even if you count what we had as winter, it was bad. But props to everyone at Holiday Valley - management, Mountain Ops, instructors, parking attendants … everyone - for keeping calm and weathering the storm (or lack of). Honestly, I still had some really good days on-hill last year. Shoutout to the snowmakers and groomers for saving the day in early January.
ANYWAY … this winter is going to rule and it’s going to snow a ton!
Appealing to skiers and snowboarders of all ages and ability levels, Holiday Valley’s strategic geographic location draws visitors from metro areas like Buffalo, Toronto, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. If you’re on the western edge of Ohio, you can drive 20 hours to Colorado ... or 5 to Ellicottville. If you’re in metro Toronto, you can jet down the QEW and be here in less than 3 hours, all the while experiencing a ski town vibe that rivals those of our West Coast counterparts. From snowmaking, to lodging, to customer service, to apres, Holiday Valley and Ellicottville provide it all.
NEW FOR THIS SEASON
If you’ve been to Holiday Valley, you’re aware of the road that takes you up the hill, past the Main, to Yodeler and beyond. A drastic change occurred last season, when the $4 million overhaul rerouted the road to open up a significant number of parking spaces closer to the lodge - not to mention, eliminating people from having to cross the road.
Access to the resort improved, and now that the kinks have been worked out - the flow of traffic in and out has gotten much better. And to boot, there’s a new entry/exit with a pedestrian walkway when you drive into the main parking area. JD Northrup Construction, Salamanca’s Dr. Green Lawn and the Holiday Valley Landscaping crew outdid themselves, as it looks awesome.
The addition of 38 more HKD Impluse Snowmaking guns is also in progress to the tune of $1.2 million. Already in place around a large portion of the resort, almost all of the manmade snow around Holiday Valley will come courtesy of HKD’s blistering snow assault. This year’s lucky recipients of these high tech guns are Cross Cut and Northwind. These guns are ready to upgrade with automation in the near future, where they use on-hill weather centers to calculate temperature and humidity levels, allowing snowmaking crews to flip a gun on or off - with the simple tap of a computer. The resort now boasts over 600 snowguns, giving it some serious firepower if Mother Nature decides not to dump any Lake Effect snow on us.
The Inn at Holiday Valley, located right at the base of the hill, received new furniture for the decks, outdoor seating areas, a redecorating of the Presidential Suite and a resurfacing of the pool.
Holiday Valley Realty, which used to reside at the entrance to the Wildflower condos, has been moved to the old Burger King building on the corner of Route 219 and Holiday Valley Road. The building is currently getting a facelift, but is open for business. Ever the creative types, Holiday Valley will utilize the drive-thru - so when you come to check in to your place, you won’t even have to leave your car.
Night skiing is getting tweaked a bit as well. On Mondays and Tuesdays, the lifts will close at 9pm, while Wednesdays through Sundays will remain open until 10pm. And great news for you night owls - the night ticket will begin at 3:30pm this year, a half hour earlier than the traditional 4:00pm start time.
JOHN HARVARD’S BREW HOUSE
Half the fun of hitting a ski resort is the apres! After a strong day on the slopes, a cold beverage is the perfect way to end it. John Harvard’s Brew House, home to over 20 beers on tap, has views of the slopes and a (very cool) concrete bar. Bartenders will ask you how your day on the slopes went, all the while keeping you satisfied with drinks and food.
“The food and drinks are excellent, but nothing makes a good apres experience like an awesome bartender,” said Franco Brady, Holiday Valley’s Director of Food & Beverage (of CenterPlate). “The brick oven (for pizzas) is always hot, and the views of the slopes - especially when they’re lit up at night - complements the experience so well.”
John Harvard’s square-shaped bar allows you to communicate with other visitors and swap stories. Or, if you’ve got the family, there’s tons of additional seating. Your favorite beers are all on tap, including seasonals from Ellicottville Brewing Company and Southern Tier Brewing.
MOUNTAIN COASTER / TUBING PARK
Two very underrated activities at the resort are the Sky Flyer Mountain Coaster and the Tubing Park. The coaster, located at Tannenbaum, takes you up the hill in a two-person sled and then loops and twirls back down through the trees. Bonus? You control the speed with two hand brakes.
“The coaster is a huge hit,” says Jane Eshbaugh, Marketing Director at Holiday Valley. “Parents can ride with their kids (as long as the combined weight is under the limit) and it’s a great time, especially at night. If you’ve done the coaster and want to experience some more high-speed thrills, the Tubing Park is for you.”
The Tubing Park, located just a short drive down Route 242 east of the village, has 22 lanes with quality snowmaking to match. When it’s super cold, put those goggles on - because you’re going to go fast, Ricky Bobby.
There’s a special vibe around Holiday Valley and Ellicottville that’s validated by the ever-growing number of people who come to visit. Also, fair warning from a local kid - when you come, do NOT mention El Nino in any shape, size, or variation. (Thanks in advance.) Instead, let’s focus on the predicted La Nina … according to the Farmer’s Almanac, we’re in for a GREAT, snowy winter this year! I’ll cheers to that!