CAMDEN — Voting unanimously, the Camden Select Board approved spending $50,000 from the $120,000 surplus the Camden Snow Bowl collected over this past season to move the carpet lift bunny slope and re-establish the popular tubing hill back to its original spot.
“This is an exceptional thing to do, bringing the tubing hill back,” said Select Board member Marc Ratner, at a May 18 regularly scheduled meeting held via Zoom. “It’s coming back with the old Mitey Mite [rope tow] to pull inner tubes up the hill.”
The redevelopment will, “bring in a considerable about money,” he said.
Parks and Recreation Director Beth Ward said after the meeting that the previous tubing hill operation, which had been dismantled and decommissioned during the 2014-2015-2016 Snow Bowl redevelopment, had earned approximately $4,000 to $6,000 during the winter season.
While she has yet to build the tubing hill line item into the next season’s budget, she is hoping for more revenue, $10,000 to $15,000, perhaps.
The Snow Bowl’s tubing hill was a casualty of the redevelopment, the goal back then being to to attract more skiers (downhill and Nordic) and boarders — up to 600 skiers per day. The project included laying new lift equipment, eventually building a new 8.500-square-foot lodge, and increasing snowmaking capacity for 80 percent coverage of the trails, in the novice area, as well as the top of the mountain.
But the dismissal of the popular tubing hill reverberated for years, and that was finally recognized by the town.
“Tubing was one thing not planned for and the beginner lift was placed where tubing was,” said Town Manager Audra Caler, at the May 18 meeting.
But the beginner slope, serviced by the carpet lift, has, “proven to be poor location,” she said. Additionally, “the conveyer lift has problems.”
Caler said Ward reached out to a master electrician about moving the beginner lift to bottom of Spinnaker and reestablishing tubing in that location.
The cost of doing so has been estimated at $50,000.
The mountain has, “$120,000 in surplus from this season, and we thought it was a good opportunity to address the beginner lift and bring back tubing,” Caler said.
Work already began on the relocation, with $8,070 spent to move buildings, as well as purchase sheds and some equipment.
Board Chair Bob Falciani asked Ward where the money would have drawn from, if the Select Board had chosen not to approve the $50,000 expenditure.
Ward replied that the sheds and equipment would have been returned to the suppliers.
The board then voted to approved the expenditure, with the electrical work to be bid out to contractors.
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