Investing in the Future of Fun

By Jann Wiswall

Holiday Valley has been busy all winter putting together expansion and improvement plans for summer 2014. The list of potential projects is long, as evidenced by the proposal made by Holiday Valley President Dennis Eshbaugh and Vice President of Finance David Trahan to the Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency on March 18. Holiday Valley has asked the CCIDA for sales tax abatement on the taxable costs of its projects.

The list presented to the CCIDA has not yet been whittled down to an official work plan, said HV Marketing Director Jane Eshbaugh. Some items may be put off until 2015 and some may be eliminated altogether. However, several projects on the list are certain.

Snowmaking and Slope Improvements

Holiday Valley will be adding 54 state-of-the-art automated snow guns along the slopes at Snowledge, The Wall, Morning Star and Crystal. These new guns make better snow more efficiently and help mitigate weather swings. Dennis Eshbaugh noted at the CCIDA meeting that the new technology powering the guns is the “future of our industry” and significantly improves the quality of the product for our customers.

In addition to the guns, Holiday Valley will be extending snowmaking pipelines to the Reindeer, Woodpecker, Firecracker, Cindy’s and Champagne slopes to provide better, more complete coverage in those areas.

Additional grooming and widening of several slopes is planned as well.

Mountain Bike Flow Trail

In cooperation with the WNY Mountain Biking Association (WNYMBA), Holiday Valley will be creating a two-mile mountain biking flow trail from the summit of the ski area to Sky High Adventure Park. The trail will complement the existing trail network in the adjacent state forest, which also was designed and planned by the WNYMBA. The new flow trail will be a winding route with banked turns that will be appropriate for beginner and intermediate riders, but challenging enough for experts.

Incidentally, the HV trail is one of four East Coast finalists in a competition sponsored by Bell Helmets that is offering prize money to support construction. The competition is voter-driven. You can vote for Holiday Valley during the East Coast voting window from May 5-18 at

Pool Complex Cabana

A new cabana for the swimming pool complex was on the list of projects last summer, but for a number of reasons was delayed until this year. The cabana will be a wood and glass-enclosed structure that will match the look and feel of the Champagne Sundeck.

HV Road Realignment

The largest project on Holiday Valley’s list is realignment of Holiday Valley Road. This involves rerouting the road up to the third tier of the current parking lot and coming back around to the main road at a point to be determined farther up the road toward the Tannenbaum area. The intent is to provide better traffic flow, more parking and improved pedestrian safety.

The resort has been working with engineers and the Town of Ellicottville’s Highway Department for several years to determine the best route for all involved. Holiday Valley Vice President of Operations Bonnie Koschir said the resort is looking into applying for a grant from the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council to help fund construction. The project likely will begin sometime in 2015.

Jane Eshbaugh says she will be announcing the full list of confirmed improvement projects within the next couple of weeks. We’ll keep you posted.