Long John gets wider

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WEST DOVER — Avoiding the Long John trail while skiing or snowboarding at Mount Snow is difficult, as it provides access to several other trails and offers some of the easiest terrain on the mountain.

"We normally have a lot of people in that area so widening by an average of 35 feet will make a difference," said Jamie Storrs, communications manager at the resort. "I really think people are going to be blown away by all the work that we're doing up there."

The project, which began last week and will continue until Oct. 13, will see blasting of about 1,600 linear feet. Storrs said the idea has been around for a while and approval from the United States Forest Service was needed.

This section of the mountain is heavily used. Long John provides access from the summit to Carinthia, the all terrain-park of Mount Snow, and other popular trails such as Ridge. As a green circle, the trail is designated for beginners. And like the name connotes, it's one of the longest routes down the mountain.

The work will affect hiking through the next couple of months. A trail marked in yellow will be temporarily closed. Instead, a pink trail will be available.

About 45,000 cubic yards of rock will be removed, according to Storrs. The material will be used for the parking lot near the new Carinthia base lodge being constructed now for the 2018/2019 season. That will keep trucks full of rock off the local roads.

"They're heavy; it's a lot of truck trips and that's a lot of diesel to be burning," Storrs said. "To be able to harvest that material locally makes a huge difference for us."

Storrs said excavators will be used to clear the rocks then hydraulic hammers will break the rocks into smaller pieces. The resort expects the trail to be ready when it opens for the winter season.

Originally, the blasting was scheduled for the summer of 2018. But with all the progress the resort has seen with the West Lake snowmaking project, Storrs said, it was bumped up to this summer.

As West Lake gets filled with water for its first season in operation, two pumphouses for the upgrades in snowmaking are being constructed. More water and more pressure is anticipated to provide better snow coverage on the summit and reach more trails.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or @CMaysBR.

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