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Nordonia Hills -- Winter's setting in and Boston Mills and Brandywine Ski resorts are already well into another season on the slopes after experiencing their earliest opening since 1996.
The resorts' new general manager Josh Boyd said he's excited to be a part of BMBW, which has a long history with Peak Resorts Inc. Boston Mills was built in the early 1960s and Brandywine followed about 10 years later. Boyd was previously the general manager of Wildcat Mountain in New Hampshire.
"It's certainly been a change of scenery, but I'm really happy to be here," he said. "They're great areas of success, so it's important that we continue to focus on that success."
The biggest change to BMBW is the association with Alpine Valley in Chesterland, another ski resort about 30 minutes northeast of BMBW, which Boyd also manages. Season passes or lift tickets purchased at BMBW are also valid at Alpine Valley.
"Now, they have the potential to ski at Boston Mills or Brandywine in the morning or Alpine Valley in the morning and drive to the other one and ski in the afternoon," Boyd said. "We feel it adds a lot of variety and a lot of value to our season pass holders and also our ticket guests."
Boyd said the company invested about $2.5 million for new lifts and snow-making equipment at Alpine Valley but also made a lot of changes at BMBW. One of the main upgrade projects BMBW has been working on is upgrading its snow-making equipment. Boyd said the improvements to the snow guns allow the resorts to produce snow at a higher temperature.
"That's part of the reason we were able to get open as soon as we were this year," Boyd said. "Hopefully by next summer we would have all of our old guns converted to new ones so we can be more productive."
Ladies' Night on Saturdays returns, where women's lift tickets are $1 to hit the slopes between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. And Late Night Sessions Friday nights between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. allow students with a college identification to purchase a lift ticket for $20.
"We did it a few years ago, but between management changes and shifts in operational styles, it kind of went away," Boyd said. "We have very successful late nights that are college nights. Between myself and my new marketing director, we decided to bring back the ladies night and try to expand numbers for Saturday night."
Boyd said he also is focusing on increasing the popularity of Polar Blast, a tubing operation available at Brandywine and Alpine Valley that offers season passes for $69.
"We want to educate our guests that tubing is something that's a lot of fun and something you can do more than once," he said. "It's a great opportunity to come out and take advantage of the winter weather and embrace the weather even if you don't want to ski or snowboard."
Another addition to Brandywine is a new surface lift at Progression Park, a beginner's terrain park. The surface lift is a handle tow that allows skiers and snowboarders to grab onto a handle that will pull them to the top of the hill.
Previously, guests who wanted to access the terrain park had to ride a chair lift to the top of the adjoining slope and ride down the slop to get to Progression Park.
"This allows our guests to stay right there in Progression Park and be able to make more repetitive runs in a row as opposed to having to go over to our lift," Boyd said. "It's been a huge help for those guests."