Winter was still hanging on by the tips of its fingers last Sunday in Westernville NY. It would be the last day of the 59th season for Woods Valley and the stage was set with beautiful spring conditions for the annual pond skim. I arrived just at the first chair and met up with the usual suspects.
We took a few laps and before long the firm conditions gave way to perfect corn snow. Coverage was edge-to-edge on all the main trails, with a few rollers and jumps remaining in the terrain park. The boys were getting adventurous jumping dirt gaps and going for grass slides. It’s just that time of the year to ride loose and carefree.
It wasn’t long before it was time for the main event, the annual pond skim. Woods moved the pond from Lower Timmy’s to Lower Copy Cat to accommodate the new deck on the main lodge. A crowd had now formed on the deck and all around the water signaling it was go time. Starting from Sting, participants would point it straight down hill and bomb it to the pond. Some never have a chance of making it.
Small kids with no weight and less experience often make it halfway across the pond before gently sinking down. The teenagers recklessly fly at the water and remind us it’s good to be young. The grizzled vets often well dressed give the best show though. With confidence three Woods locals link arm-in-arm, short shorts-to-shorts and blast across the pond. There was never any doubt they would make it.
I linked back up with the gang and we decided to watch the remainder of skim from the chairlift in between laps. It was still early afternoon and conditions were prime. At the end of the day the Woods family and staff lined up for the last chair, closing out the 2023 season. Before leaving, I caught up with Tim Woods ask him about the season.
Hello Tim! How did it go this year?
It was a late start. We were ready to go in November and even made snow mid-month. We just didn’t have any sustaining cold so opening day was pushed back to December 17. Looking at the 60-year trend, that is actually about average. The Christmas Holiday was really strong, January was also really strong.
February was the worst February I can remember in many years. Just attendance wise, snow wise, weather wise. The stoke was at an all time low. March we bounced, snow came in early and it felt like winter again. But March is short. All in all we’ll finish the year pretty close to last year.
What makes you proud?
Getting all our snow making trails covered, edge-to-edge. Maintaining stellar conditions through thick and thin. I’ve skied more this year than the last few years. The snowmaking system worked flawlessly and proved to be a great investment. The proof is all around us. 275 hours, 18 million gallons of water pumped. Our snowmaking rate has really been increasing.
What’s your second favorite ski area?
Phew there’s so many. I’ve been lucky enough to ski all around the world. Keeping it local I really love Sugarbush. When I lived in Boston, Glen Ellen was my go to place, Sugarbush North. That was a long time ago. I love Alta. Skied in New Zealand and got engaged on the Tasman Glacier.
Plans for the offseason?
Woods Fest on August 5th. We’re starting to book a lot of weddings and banquets, not just for this year but next year too. We are going to start doing regular food and beverages during the week during the summer. And of course entertainment.
No plans to do any lift install this summer. It’s a multi-year project. We just conducted a slope profile so it’s now time to get that in front of some engineers to plan the lift. We are looking at doing both chair lifts over the next few years, top to bottom. A realignment of the smaller chair, turning it counter clockwise. The top will be shifted to bring the towers out of another trail and to bring a new trail down the ridge that currently feeds the Valhalla and Valkyrie glades. It will be a fun trail.
We’re also going to bring snowmaking to the trails that are missing it. We have a bunch of pipe we are going to put in this summer, some replacement and some new. We want to add lights to Sting. We have done so many capital projects the last three years that we want to get caught up on the little things.
Working on a new website and POS system. Some kind of ticket validation at the lift. Creating the possibility of direct to lift purchases and tracking usage. The 3 year plan is to build a skating rink. We want to get into the pond hockey leagues at night and have open skate during the week for families.
Any preview of next season?
Next year is our 60th anniversary and it’s going to be a big year. We are trying to set this place up for the next generation. The facilities and the infrastructure everything is brand new. With a couple of new lifts this place is going to be dialed in for the future. I’m stoked for what’s happening locally in the market. We know, we live here, we know how great it can be. The one thing with covid is a lot of people rediscovered how great it is to live here.
Tim, thank you for a great season and a bright future at Woods.
4 comments on “Closing Woods Valley in Style”
Future so bright you gotta wear shades!
Awesome story. Closing day is always a little melancholy but can be tons of fun too. Pond skims are always a great show. Woods looks like a great place. We need to keep supporting places like this. Glad to see it thriving.
That’s pretty kick ass!
I would ski here, if it was closer…Love the view…very err…campy…