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Ski resort adds summer attractions

Holiday Valley in Ellicottville is enhancing its summertime profile with construction of Sky High Outdoor Adventure Park, featuring treetop adventures that include zip lines and a mountain roller coaster that speeds through the woods.

The $2.5 million project is targeted for the resort's Tannenbaum area. Beginning May 21, visitors to the Aerial Adventure Park can explore eight treetop courses -- crossing bridges, climbing ladders, navigating obstacles and soaring on zip lines -- that increase in difficulty with height.

The Mountain Coaster is scheduled to open in early July and will be adjacent to the Tannenbaum Lodge. Riders, in coaster cars, climb the hill on tracks parallel to the Spruce Lake lift, then begin a zigzagging, spiraling descent through the woods. Riders can accelerate or decelerate using hand brakes.

The summer attractions are part of $5.3 million in investments to expand and improve both winter and summer operations, Holiday Valley President and General Manager Dennis Eshbaugh said.

Other projects include:

*New quad chairlift, snowmaking upgrades, a new grooming machine and expansion of the pool area at the Inn at Holiday Valley. The quad replaced the SnowPine double chairlift, doubling the lift's capacity and allowing ski-in, ski-out access to the SnowPine Village condominiums. Bear Cub, a beginner trail that was constructed for the current season, also is serviced by this lift and will be outfitted with snowmaking pipeline and hydrants for the 2011-12 season. In addition, the lower section of Bear Cub is being extended for easier access to the base of the SnowPine lift.

*An automated snowmaking system on the mile-long Mardi Gras slope, which is expected to increase efficiency and energy savings.

*A new grooming tractor, added to the fleet of seven, for slopes and trails. The machines resurface ski slopes each night using a hydraulic tiller that grinds the top layer of snow and lays it down as a soft corduroy new surface. The groomers also have a hydraulic blade on the front, which can be used to smooth the snow surface or to add moguls or shapes.

*Expansion of the pool area at the Inn at Holiday Valley, featuring a larger deck and a second hot tub.

e-mail: dswilliams@buffnews.com

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