Current Snowmaking

This photo is from 8pm Thursday evening. Beartrack will be open Saturday.
Notice the cool visual effect of the light shining through the trees onto the airborne snow. It's like looking at a movie projected onto a white screen from the back side. It was dramatically beautiful in person...all shimmery and quivering.
Not only is there snow to make, there is snow to move...
Huge mounds of snow must be spread across the hills with the groomer.
Exit ramps from the chairlifts need to be shaped.
Approaches to rails and terrain features need to be raked into place.
And the entire Tubing Park needs to be sculpted into lanes and berms.
The weather looks great for the weekend... cu@bv


PHOTOS by Jen Laitala

The general population of Buena Vista begins to swagger just a bit when Jen stops by.

She treks up the hills on snowshoes...kids pull off just a bit more speed and air...adults put a little more swish into their turns...everyone is hoping she is pointing her lense at them.
Because her photography skills can match what the local talent dishes out.
And it's fun to smile for a good camera!


Opening Day

One couldn't have asked for a nicer opening day.
Blue skies. Decent temps. Little breeze. Happy people.
Photos by M. Thomas
Lazy snowboards basking in the sun.

Rental Shop

Kirby worked...and worked...and worked, as did his trusty crew of technicians, to be ready for this opening day. Considering what had to get finished, it's amazing how neat and tidy everything looked this morning. All ready for our guests!
I'm continually enchanted by the rows and rows of pretty skis all standing at attention. Wish I was a better photographer and could capture the candy colors better. Oh!....that's why I like them so much...they remind me of a big new box of 64 color crayons!
J & M adjust a ski at one of the new "counters" that replaced the big old ramp. Congratulations to the Rental Staff...no more sore backs from bending over people's feet all day! Won't that be NICE? :-)


Preparation for the Big Day

John Dickinson took this photo from the Continental Lift Ramp: looking down towards the chalet and the snowguns on Julia. Julia is open now and the guns have been moved to other runs.

Snowmaking Continues

I took some photos today from the bottom of the hill. And I caught John at checking one of the snowguns. The temps and humidity have been just perfect for making snow. Snowmaking will continue on other runs during our public hours.
Julia will be open this Saturday & Sunday. The bunny hill will probably be open as well.
$10 Lift $15 Ski Rental $18 Board Rental


OPEN Dec 5 & 6

Buena Vista will be open this weekend.
Saturday & Sunday
December 5 & 6
10am - 5pm
The Chalet is all lit up because the Rental Department staff had their first training session this evening. Everyone is excited to learn about the new Elan skis and bindings. Kirby and Mike have designed and built new stations for distributing rentals. New charts, new storage, new everything. Time to put it all into practice.

If you look carefully...click on any image to see a larger version...you can see three guns going on this view of Julia.
The main goal was to get the Julia Vista run open by Saturday. This photo suggests Sunflake (Bunny) may also be open. I'll update tomorrow from the office.

Sigh of Relief

After weeks of waiting, days of studying the hourly forecasts, and several attempts which created only puddles; the weather finally graces us with favorable conditions for snow making. John and his crew were just turning on the guns yesterday when I left work.

Then later, returning from Bemidji after dark, I swung into BV to snap these photos. The best view of all was rounding the curve on Co.Rd 15 by the Dickinson Ranch. From that angle the entire hill was visible and draped in clouds of snow. I didn't want to pull over on the side of the road, though. These are photos taken from the parking lot.
The drone of the guns was a constant, gentle roar...and the plumes of snow drifted away like smoke. It was all so mesmerizing and beautiful in the black and white of night.

John and the crew stopped by on their ATV's to say "Hi." What an enormous amount of effort they put in to get this base made: working 'round the clock, repositioning the equipment as the wind changes, dragging hoses, getting soaked with water and half frozen, juggling moisture and electricity... And yet, this endeavor is exactly what they have been impatiently waiting to begin.
The forecast looks good. The frustration of waiting seems to be over. It's a beautiful, snowy relief.


Suggestion Box

Let me know what you think.

Email me or leave your comment here.

Comments will be viewed and deleted daily; so don't be alarmed, dismayed, or intimidated by an empty box
Thanks! ~ Sabrina Wille Erickson


Julia Vista

It's true. We got a lovely inch and a half of PERFECT snow yesterday.

Unfortunately, the humidity was, again, too high last night to make snow. But the crew is poised to turn on the guns the moment the temperature and humidity are balanced enough to create snow and not rain.

It is doubtful we will be open for this weekend. Not such exciting news...but since there is nothing that can be done about the weather, improvements to the Rental Shop and machinery maintenance are getting accomplished. We do plan to be open December 12 & 13.


I will be updating the blog and Twitter often over the next weeks. Hopefully now that the hills are white, winter will decide to stay for a while.


Facebook Discussion

Have any memories of the the Good Ol' Days at BV? Our very own Laurie Miller Dickinson has started collecting these stories on Facebook. So if you have a memory you'd like to share, just do a Facebook search for Buena Vista Ski Area and click on the discussion tab. You can also become a fan to get Laurie's updates. See you there.



A picture is worth a thousand words.
Many thanks to the crew that keeps this going 'round the clock!


Why Not? by Sabrina Wille Erickson

I've known for a while now that I prefer the monotony of my office chair to the exhilaration of flying down a snowy hill. I've accepted my complete lack of yearning for adventure. In contrast to my static energy, I've noticed that other people - the younger generation especially - are much more apt to fling themselves through the air than I am. My own teenagers crave the experience, in fact. So it seemed a no-brainer to me that the best way to commemorate BV's 60th Anniversary would be to open up a new and improved Terrain Park.
Surprisingly, snapping my fingers didn't build me a park. And the forecast for such a change was rather bleak at first. Being completely ignorant of all things snowmaking, I asked the dumb question: "Why Not?" And once again I learned that there is more to running a ski hill than meets the eye.
The obvious location for a new Park was the East Face (Formerly known as the Backside. Try marketing THAT!) The...say it with me now..."East Face" has this gloriously wide, gentle slope that just screams TERRAIN PARK! Everyone at BV has known this for years. So WHY didn't the move happen a long time ago?
The right moment...the right PEOPLE...that's what it takes.
Quite by accident I had a conversation with Jack Deleo from No Comply Sports & Apparel early this fall, and I discovered he has a passion for our little ski hill. More specifically, he has a passion for terrain features. After relaying the conversation to our Outdoor Manager and Snowmaker Extraordinaire, John Dickinson, we decided the big move was theoretically possible. But several obstacles needed to be overcome first. John got Suzanne Thomas (BV Owner) on board...Kirby Harmon gave us Ski Patrol insight, and Jack did an informal poll of his customers. We didn't know it at the time, but a small group of key people were starting to form a terrain park team.
Let there be LIGHT.
One of the major shortcomings of the East Face is that it has never had the lighting to support a major feature like a park. Don Thomas and John fixed that problem recently by trenching in a new electrical line and installing a light pole. Warm weather is good for some things.
Smile for the CAMERA.
Jack said that the parents he had talked to wanted to be able to see the cool tricks their kids were doing. One used to have to stand at the bottom of the hill and look upward to see terrain park events. Wasn't that cold? Did parents hoot and holler when their offspring did something fantastic? Did this embarrass the offspring? I'll probably never know the answers to these questions as I stick to the Chalet where it's warm.
Perhaps the new web cam, piping fresh images to a screen, will benefit both ends of the spectrum: Blaze like a comet through the atmosphere and keep the relatives at a distance. Mike Huerbin and John are busy investigating weather-proof cameras to install on one of the towers. The aim is to give folks in the Chalet a bird's eye view of the fun happening in the park. And eventually, this footage will be online for even Grandma in St. Paul to see.
Let's not forget SAFETY.
Our fine hill tends to block communication transmissions. That's why you see people trekking to the far side of the Bunny Hill or standing on tiptoe by the entrance gate on Irvine Avenue. Cell phones and radios don't always cooperate out here, especially if one person is on the East Face and the other is on the West Face. A fancy, technical thing called a repeater is required to transmit across the ridge...or an extra person needs to stand on top of the hill. Guess which one we are hoping to install soon?
And even though no one wants to think about getting hurt, what if someone does get hurt? The Buena Vista Ski Patrol is committed to providing the best immediate care possible. They are mighty, indeed; but I doubt any of them could ski up and over the ridge while pulling a sled. Maybe I should be more diplomatic...let's just say I doubt any of them would want to. Currently, plans are in the works to have a designated snowmobile available to the East Face at all times.
Now you have a glimpse of the hurdles my little question unearthed. I ardently admire the enthusiasm and dedication the Terrain Park Team has brought to this endeavor. So what are you going to notice when you get here and head on up the hill? At least 5 new features and a completely new vibe...a park that has been designed for cool stunts by people that like to do cool stunts. I'm keeping my own feet on solid ground, but to the rest of you..."enjoy the air!"


Season Passes on Sale Now!

Unlimited Season Lift Pass Buy Now!
Youth 6-15 years old $160 + 11.00tax = $171.00

Student 16-18 years old $180 + 12.38tax = $192.38

College: Photo ID & Fee Statement showing12 or more credits required $180 + 12.38tax = $192.38

Senior 62+ years $160 + 11.00tax = $171.00

Adult 18+ years $220 + 15.13tax = $235.13

Family of 2 $410 + 28.19tax = $438.19
Family of 3 $520 + 35.75tax = $555.75
Family of 4 $560 + 38.50tax = $598.50
Family of 5 $595 + 40.91tax = $635.91
Family of 6 $630 + 43.31tax = $673.31
Family of 7 or more add 37.41(tax included) per person

Immediate Family Members Only for Family Season Passes
Season Pass Sales are final – No refunds
Unlimited Season Rentals
Buy Now!

First Timer Rental
Ski / Board pkg Rental. For new pass holders and members returning after 3 or more years
$65 + 4.47tax = $69.47

Ski Rental Full ski package
$85 + 5.84tax = $90.84

All Rental Full ski & board package
$125 + 8.59tax = $133.59
5 year old & under pkg
$50 + 3.44tax = $53.44
Season Lockers Buy Now!
$65 + 4.47tax = $69.47

10% off items in the Buena Vista Ski Shop
10% off selected items at No Comply in Bemidji
10% off selected accessories at The Home Place in Bemidji
10% off snowboards at Play-It-Again Sports in Bemidji

Skiing and Boarding Discounts
All pass holders will be entitled to skiing discounts at the following resorts

Andes Tower, Alexandria, MN - $5.00 off a lift ticket
Powder Ridge Ski Area, Kimball, MN - $5.00 off a lift ticket
Red Lodge Mountain Resort, Red Lodge, MT – ½ day rate on all day lift ticket
Spirit Mountain, Duluth, MN - $10.00 off adult extended ticket (full day) $7.00 off child extended ticket (full day)


Scout 4H Days

Buena Vista Ski Area
Scout 4H Days
Saturday & Sunday
December 12 & 13, 2009
Skiing & Boarding 10am – 5pm

No Minimum number required!
Check-in on 3rd Floor

$12 Lift Ticket (any age)

$10 Ski Package

$20 Board/Ski Combo Package

This day is for all 4H and SCOUT Members and their Families
Children 5 & under receive free lift ticket with paying adult

Bemidji, MN


Are You New?

Buena Vista wants you to
skiing or snowboarding.
But maybe you are new to this whole "down hill" experience?
Maybe you want to try both sports to see which one you like best.
Or maybe buying unfamiliar equipment seems daunting.
Perhaps your youngster is going to be needing different sized equipment every year while she is still growing.
Or maybe your kid is growing so fast you're worried that his shoes aren't going to fit him next month!
Perhaps this just isn't the best time for you to invest in personal snow gear...
Then take advantage of our
This is a season-long, unlimited rental agreement that gives you the option of trying skis one day and a snowboard the next.
Figure out what you like about down hill sports and the required gear.
Grow all you want to! Our rental shop always has the next biggest size.
Make things easy for your pocketbook until you are ready to invest in your sport.
It makes sense.
You just want fun...without the hassle.
You got it!
This offer is available to persons that have never been a member of Buena Vista Ski Area or who have not been members in 3 or more years.


New Rental Skis

The Rental Shop has been gutted and a completely new system is being installed. Not only will the skis on the racks be our brand new Elan skis, the actual racks will be new as well! The way people receive their equipment will be different: No more up a ramp and then down the steps. Individual stations are being designed to help our guests move through rentals faster. One of these stations will be devoted to snowboards.
Kirby, BV's Rental Shop manager, is excited about our new equipment, the new stations-type floor plan, and the degree to which these changes will help us serve our guests better. Stop by the Rental Shop on our Open House Day (Saturday, November 14, 2009) to see the new equipment and the renovation-in-progress. A huge Thank You! to Kirby and all the Friends of Buena Vista that have committed themselves to making these upgrades possible.