Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone........well, at least the snow isn't going to melt with these temps.......and a lot of you are coming everyday regardless of the temps.......

It was certainly a busy year at Seven Oaks with a new trail, larger pond, rework of the Valley View chairlift unload, lots of weddings, wedding receptions, reunions, parties in the lodge, each month's Friday after Five, canoes, kayaks and river tube floats on the river, lots of tent campers, daily mountain bike riding and the races, paintball groups, skiing, snowboarding and snowtubing.......whew.......but it was great and it was fun.

Enjoy your New Years Eve and we'll see you this weekend......

Happy and a Prosperous New Year to each of you.........

........and to my little friend Landon..........have a GREAT year........

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas break is half over

Well here we are rapidly approaching the end of 2009 and the traditional Christmas break is right at the half way point. We are open tomorrow from 10 am to 6 pm then friday from 10 am to 9 pm...........then normal weekend hours on saturday and sunday.

It was certainly a pretty day today to be on the snow. Sunshine, a few snowflakes and temps in the low 30's ........it just doesn't get any better.

I am told everyone really likes the big hit that was made yesterday.......and the barrels.....right Nick?

Now my little sermon..........tomorrow night is New Years Eve.........so DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE! Think about it.......make some alternative plans.......and stay safe.......

See you on friday......

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

More snow and more snow...

Monday night the team made more snow.......getting more depth on Willet's Way and Kenzies Korner and Central Park...........plus more on the Drop Zone. After shutting down the guns this morning and a full groom, more features were put in the park including a much larger kicker at the top.........and the "blue barrels" are back too..........

So more snow was made last night..........no snow is being made tonight.......guys need some sleep......and the temps are going to rise thru the night to reach tomorrow's expected 30 or 31 degree temps..........and..........more snow is coming from the sky tomorrow.........yippee......

Should be fantastic tomorrow........

Great crowd enjoyed winter recreation at Seven Oaks today.......in spite of the temps........Iowan's are a tough and hardy group aren't they!......

see you Wednesday.....

Monday, December 28, 2009

It was a beauuuuutiful weekend

Snow Christmas eve and Christmas day was a real blessing.........that and Joel grooming it in from 1 am to 5 am before returning home for a quick snooze and opening gifts........

Saturday was wonderful.......blue skies, calm winds........and Saturday night to get another 3 inches of powder was a real bonus.

Set up Saturday night to make snow.........and then.......

I arrived at Seven Oaks to find Joel and Kris already in the shop........been there since 1:30 am .......working on a major breakdown of the snowcat......which got fixed and running at 8 am......but wait there is more........had a snowgun tip over in the middle of the run at 2 am so it was of course shut down.........so we got the gun righted, then removed it and all the other guns from the trails.......then started grooming........ready to open at 11.......

I sure am in no position to make any negative comments about the snowgun as I have done it twice in the past couple years myself......ooops! :)

that is not an everyday start.........thank goodness........but it can happen.......and does.......but our job is to keep it behind the scenes and ready to welcome you to Seven Oaks. Thanks to a great staff at Seven Oaks.......we got thru a rough start by everybody doing their thing and getting all the issues addressed.

What a great group we have at Seven Oaks.......and to hear it again and again from people who I don't even know.......saying great tubing staff.......great ski and snowboard instructors......such a helpful bunch operating the lifts and in rental.....the food service group always has a smile......your ticket people sure know what is going on and are so patient......really..we do hear it a lot......and ......it warms the heart.....

Sunday was also beautiful on the slopes........

gotta go........

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Post Christmas Blues......

It is the day after Christmas and we definitely have sunshine and blue skies at Seven Oaks this morning. Now and again we get a couple of snowflakes drifting down to add to the approximate 8 inches we received on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Here is a peek down Elwoods Hideout......

Your view after getting off Valley View chairlift and looking north west.....We are going to make more snow on Kenzies Korner and Central Park tonight.....


The top of Abbys Alley....


Got everything groomed.......left some powder on the sides.......
So if you have the Christmas blues come on out to Seven Oaks for some of our blue sky riding, tubing and skiing today.......

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It is a tough call....but closed Wednesday Dec 23

After all these years in the business, it is still always a tough call to make.......but we decided to CLOSE SEVEN OAKS ON WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 23.

Of course we were already scheduled to be closed Thursday and Friday........Christmas Eve day and Christmas day.

We will open for business Saturday morning December 26......

Tried to make snow Sunday night and again Monday night but it was too warm and too humid.

We don't want employees or patrons risking ice covered roads tomorrow and nobody wants to play or work all day in the rain or sleet so that was the logic we used to make the decision to close.

School on site today and were right on schedule for a day of skiing. Beautiful for them.

Weather forecast for Wednesday and Thursday appears to give us every form of precip other than what we want..........only on Friday does the forecast show snow statewide........

we'll be ready for Saturday.......

later......

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Great weekend...

Good attendance Friday night and Saturday.......and the Late Nite too........ DJ had the music cranked last night........and a new Red Bull fire barrel was broken in.......cool laser cut sides....

Got in the groomer at 5:15 this morning .......yep that's AM.....to start getting everything turned to cordouroy again.......hardly needed it.......snow was awesome.......then the snow started coming down and talk about tough to see.....it was.........but we managed and it was really a beautiful snow......ended with about an inch.

Weather forecast looks really favorable for making snow at night and skiing/riding during the day. Remember we are closed Monday and Tuesday but open Wednesday this week from 10 am to 6 pm...........then it is time for Christmas and families......so we are closed Thursday and Friday....Christmas eve day and Christmas Day.............looks like snow Wednesday and Thursday........pretty significant accumulations.........with wind........makes traveling horrible those two very popular days but should make skiing and riding on Saturday after Christmas unbelievably good.......We will reopen Saturday December 26 at 10 am !

First school here Tuesday......

Making snow tonight for sure.......... last runs to open is Central Park and Kenzies Korner so we will focus on those.......

As I write this I keep looking outside to see a steady stream of people coming to PLAY ON THE SNOW today.....

later........

Saturday, December 19, 2009

News Flash

Elwood's Hideout is now open......

Late Nite tonight......

End of story......

Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Schedule coming right up

This entry is a quick attempt to make everyone aware of the days we open and closed and the hours we are operating on the days we open during the holiday stretch.........which is coming right up...... this time period we have more changes than any other time so pay close attention, write it down, put it on the fridge, check our web, give us a call or whatever you feel you need to do to remember................here they are.......


Wednesday, December 23, 2009 10 am - 6 pm

Thursday, December 24, 2009 Christmas Eve Day Closed

Friday, December 25, 2009 Christmas Day Closed

Saturday December 26, 2009 regular hours

Sunday, December 27, 2009 regular hours

Monday, December 28, 2009 10 am - 6 pm

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 10 am - 6 pm

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 10 am - 6 pm

Thursday, December 31, 2009 New Year's Eve 10 am - 6 pm

Friday, January 1, 2010 New Year's Day 10 am - 9 pm

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It is Thursday and here is the upbeat update

Snow tubing was finished today and ready for Friday Night tubers.

Most of the snow on the Drop Zone has been pushed out and more will be made on that trail tonight........ready for features at the bottom to be set tomorrow and ready to use tomorrow night.

A significant amount of snow exists on Elwoods Hideout and more will be made there tonight also. We will push out the snow on Elwoods and groom it Friday night so it can be used starting Saturday......

The Freeway was widened some this week since last Sunday.....

That only leaves Central Park and Kenzies Korner to finish and the temps look very favorable to do just that in the next few days......

Saturday night is Late Nite !!!

see you friday night.......

weekend two coming up

Temps caused a snowmaking shutdown mid morning yesterday.........we'll more than likely resume snowmaking tonight.

In the meantime, guns were relocated and snow had to be pushed and groomed. Last update I had was that tubing was getting close to being completed.........then the groomer was moving to drop zone for friday night.

come on friday..........

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

update

Started making snow again Monday morning.......cold.......great snow...........great as in volume and great as in powder.............looks like we will move some guns off tubing after lunch today and get snow started on Elwoods Hideout and move some of them to join the four already on the Drop Zone.........they will stay there all day and tonight too.........gonna go DEEP on the Drop Zone so we have lots of snow for the features..

......and just think it all started less than two weeks ago looking like this......

........so that's it for the update........remember tubing will be open Friday night........



oooooooooops........wrong tube pic..........this one was from last August........I mean Snow Tubing will open Friday night...........

And remember we have the first Late Nite this coming Saturday Night.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Seven Kids at Seven Oaks

First time all seven grandkids were skiing and riding on the same day and at the same time at Seven Oaks....on Saturday....took 40 minutes to round them up off the slopes and get them all to stop for a quick photo.......geez!


I think it is great that they are all starting so young........age two is a good time to begin learning the sport for life.......same age all my kids started learning.......remember that kids five and younger ski free (one for one) when we are open.......and on Sunday we make that age eight and younger........one for one.........so get those kids off the computer and come teach them to ski.......or let us give them a free mini lesson........

Also had a friend of my son bring his six year old out Sunday for a quick ski trip on his BIRTHDAY.........so I gave them a quick ride in the snow cat when I was pushing snow on the tubing hill......I think that will give Aiden a story to share in school Monday.....


Snow making should be great this week.......can't wait to get back on it........but every trail we open is more time in the groomer.......every day for the rest of the season. .........we groom every day.........to give you the best conditions possible.......


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Day three of this season

Snow groomed beautifully this morning. Rebuilt the landing off the box last night and changed up the unload on Valley View last night when we closed so it would freeze in....then groomed at 8 this morning. Busy day yesterday and starting off good today as well. Just got out of the groomer again after pushing out the four HUGE piles of snow at tubing and the decent pile at the bottom of drop zone. Fun....

Temps look great for snowmaking every night this coming week. Little doubt on drop zone and tubing being ready friday night. Also trying to have Elwoods Hideout ready too.......but we will have to see how all the snowmaking goes.

Corporate Christmas party in the lodge one night this week, then two smaller gigs as well.....but the snow must go on.....

remember the first Late Nite is this coming Saturday night.

later

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Another one behind us

Another opening day is behind us and it was GOOD. A lot of winter enthusiasts were here last night and all were anxious to get on the snow. Staff was clicking right along to get all those last minute items addressed before we opened the doors and it went off like clockwork. I ran out of time to get all the snow pushed at the top of the Freeway ........so we went into grooming only. There is an incredible pile of snow at the very top of the trail. The trails open this season are the most we have ever had open on our first day.

Snow guns have been running on snowtubing and Drop zone. The bottom half of drop zone is covered and now the steep and most difficult part will be covered......and it started last night. I certainly expect by next friday the drop zone will be open with features and at least one jump. .....and of course the Cyclone Chair will also be running.... Tubing should also be open next friday.

Did you see the forecast? Nice temps this weekend and then Monday night it drops into single digits.........good snowmaking.......then for the weekend we get warm again........kinda like we ordered it......AND DON'T FORGET OUR FIRST LATE NITE IS NEXT SATURDAY.....DECEMBER 19

Got several new pieces of Seven Oaks clothing in yesterday too. Several are already sporting the new look....and the neon stuff is really bright.

Had a big box and one rail set up for last night and I actually got to witness the first rider of the season on the box and the first fall off the box as well........same person!

Met a guy last night that has the same name as our newest trail "Elwood's Hideout"......what a small world.

Riders.......at the unload of the Valley View make sure you move to the side to strap in.........don't want you to get nailed by more coming off the chair behind you.

gotta get to work.......

Thursday, December 10, 2009

a lot of comments......from you........from me

Where to start?? The snow and the WIND have stopped and things are settling down. Seven Oaks got about 12 inches between Tuesday night and Wednesday. I was laughing as I was thinking next year we may only sacrafice the skis to the snow gods in December and save the snowboard for early January. Wow, it was quite the storm wasn't it. Wonderful fresh snow but the wind was nasty.

As is probably the case in your yard, the wind made the snow drift..........no snow on the ground in one place and move over a couple feet and it is piled high. Well the same is true at Seven Oaks on the trails that we did not already have covered with snow.

Snowguns are being turned on within the hour and will run all day today and all night tonight. Our emphasis is on the Freeway..........cause Abbys Alley and Schoolyard have plenty of snow right now. We will not have drop zone, kenzies korner, central park or elwoods hideout open tomorrow .......

We do plan on putting a couple of the smaller features out for Friday opening........we must remember two things.........we have to share the trails that are open .......and you need to start small..........but it won't take too long to get the other trails open and the full park in full swing.

Opening tomorrow.......Friday December 11..........at 4 pm and going til 9 pm........then open all day normal hours on saturday and sunday.....

I will post on the blog our Holiday hours and schedule in a couple of days........

We will also be letting you know when some of the Barnstormers are going to be on site for signing autographs.........and snowboarding.......

gotta go.........think snow.........be safe........see you Friday......

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

more snow

  • shutdown snowmaking early a.m. today
  • snow has fallen from the sky all day and still coming
  • snowmaking pond is refilling with water
  • groomer is on the snow blending in the new snow and trying to keep it from flying to DSM when the wind picks up in a couple hours
  • plan as of now is to make snow again starting tomorrow night.
  • as soon as I know the plans for rails and boxes on friday night I will post the plans here...so stay tuned.

last I saw Seven Oaks was in the 12 inch or more zone for today/tonight.

Did you know we lay down a minimum of 12" of snow to operate the snow groomer? takes a lot to keep the tracks out of the dirt and grass below.

later..........

a couple pics just after dark last night

All the Areco snowguns have been moved and aligned along the west side of the trail called Freeway........temps were not real cold yet so the guns are producing at about 50%......but as the temperatures continue to fall, the water flow is increased.......more snow.......more snow.....


And this picture is of one snowmachine still on the School Yard last night putting the finishing touches to the snow depth there.......



more later........be careful today......

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sacrifice to Snow Gods really works.......with pics

You know on friday night we had the first annual sacrifice of snowboard and skis to the snow gods to the bonfire (Frost did a great job with his poem by the way) .......and geez it must have paid off.......it must really work......it must be real.......cause we got a 2"snow fall last night, cold temps last night so we could make snow and thru all day today so we could make snow and still blowing tonite........and what - - 8 to 12 inches coming tomorrow and Wednesday morning.......

Here are a couple pics taken today


this one taken standing out the door of the rental building looking at School Yard........

this one looking from the lodge south at Abbys Alley....this trail had one to three feet of snow before we blew last night, today and the 2" we got from the sky.......


this one looking at the untouched pile of snow on Central Park.........nope .....sorry Seven Oaks fans, the Central Park trail won't be open this weekend.....but I have to remind you these pics were taken today December 7 and on Saturday November 29 it was 60 DEGREES.......

this one looking at Twigg........one of the sleep deprived snowmakers flexing his muscles on top of the gigantic pile of snow........pride........pure pride.......

ready or not here we come FRIDAY......see you there..........but remember the slope style......start small.......get in shape first after a long snowless spring, summer and fall.......

until later.......

Sunday, December 6, 2009

sorry no pics but......

i do have some pretty good news. Just finished a whirlwind weekend at Seven Oaks. Friday night was our FAF with the bonfire and the sacrafices........first annual........and the snowmaking was in progress the entire time.

then the fun........started warming pretty early Saturday morning so we shut down the snowmaking and started to address a couple......no make that three.......snow making system problems..........

twelve hours later, three holes later, three repairs later......we were done spending the day in the mud and ready to restart the snowmaking which we did.

I spent saturday night pushing snow on abbys alley.......it had a monster twelve foot pile in it at the middle of the bend........it was awesome pushing it out . Then today i pushed out last night's snow and started grooming. Also pushed out the snow at school yard.

at this time I would say abbys alley is 95% ready and school yard is 60% ready. Both should have enough snow when tonight is over........then the guns are all moving to the freeway.

so right now it looks like (about 99% certain) we will open for the season of 2009-10 on Friday DEcember 11.....we want abbys and the freeway and school yard available to use friday night........so keep checking.........and i will keep posting. setting or rails is up to Joel and Ken........so at this time I am clueless but will try to update when I know "the plan". Then next week we will focus on the snow tubing hill.

hard to believe that seven days ago it was 60 degrees!

get the equipment tuned up cause it is getting closer by the hour.......and we are pumped........and tired so I am going to get some sleep......

Friday, December 4, 2009

another update

Just got an update on last nights snowmaking. Started at 5 pm.......by 11 pm all guns were running maximum snowmaking.........I am told the difference in the past 12 hours is huge.......we will keep pounding away.........takes about 100 hours minimum to get enough to open some runs.....

don't forget to come to FAF, bonfire, live music.......and more.

oh yeah, did you see the forecast for Tuesday.......will the major snow hit us or just southern Iowa.........it would be fine with me if it targeted Seven Oaks........

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I am greedy........want more

I know I am not the only one wanting more snow.......did get a good flurry this afternoon that got the streets and sidewalks white.......and guess what.......

It is 5 pm on Thursday, December 3 and the SNOW GUNS ARE BACK ON AS THE TEMPS HAVE DROPPED..........will try to get more pics in the morning for all of you.

Go big or Go home..........

Yep, the game is ON

Here are photos taken over the first 10 hours of snowmaking starting last night........enjoy!

At the schoolyard......


At the base of Cyclone chairlift......

At the crack of dawn........

All that is SNOW>>>>>>>sweet sweet snow.....

Getting some depth.......this pile is about two feet deep......


More will be made tonight......and maybe all day tomorrow if the temps stay down.......remember Friday after Five tomorrow night.........with the ski and snowboard sacrifice made to the snowgods at our bonfire.......







Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Yep, it's snowing at Seven Oaks

Just checked. Temp is 25 and the snow is blowing at Seven Oaks. Will report in the morning to you again.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..........well, at Seven Oaks it is.

Drop baby drop

It is 5 pm and the temps have slowly dropped to 31 degrees. Pretty good amount of cloud cover probably means it will be a slow drop tonight.....but rest assured all the guns are in placed and hooked up, more staff arrives at 6 and again at 8 pm so we will be ready to throw the switch when it gets right at 26 degrees....... WE ARE EXITED!

F*I*N*A*L*L*Y

Finally it looks like tonight is the night.......cold enough to blow snow.........and while it may not get way down there for temps.......it does appear everyone agrees it will be cold enough tonight.......and it does appear that everyone's forecast agrees there will be several nights of snowmaking temps.......in a row..........let's go get 'em........

Joel and Steve and Marty and Twigg and Bob.......are all ready to spend time making the trails white ...........and Rick is ready to spend time in the groomer.........I need my groomer seat time fix.......been months now you know.......

We will keep you posted on our blog, on our phone answering service, on facebook and soon on the home page of our web.........

"At Seven Oaks we start each season with a single snowflake and end with a thousand memories"..........come make your memory at Seven Oaks soon.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Since 1878

I heard on the news yesterday that it has not stayed above 30 degrees in the month of November since they started keeping records back in 1878.........well NO WONDER we can't make snow..........but.......good news......

.....according to what I see on the forecast it looks like we should be able to start with snowmaking on at least this coming Wednesday night......which is December 2..........and according to one of the forecasts maybe even start Tuesday night........but most exciting is that the two local stations both show low enough temps at night that we should be able to make snow for a minimum of five nights in a row.......and accuweather says we will make snow every night thru December 13 which is the furthest their prediction goes out.

Question on the blog was do we think we will still open December 4?........sadly I say NO......but do think there is a really really good shot at opening Friday night December 11.......stay tuned though..........that opening date is not a sure thing.........

We are ready........Saturday we got all the fence posts in place, about 90% of the signs put in place........all the snowguns are ready, chairlifts and surface lifts are ready, ski/board rentals are ready, staff is ready..........come on cold......

We will be having our first friday of the month Friday after Five this coming friday night. I think Joel said their will be a sacrafice of snowboards and skis to the snow gods at the bonfire......umpah, umpah.....

keep checking for updates.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Tried.........first time

Tried to make snow last night but it just did NOT want to get cold enough. Blew a little bit of white.......but not much. We'll wait and see if it is going to get cold at the middle or end of this week as some predict. Calling for some single digit lows........but not soon enough to satisfy our appetite.

hang in there......and we will too........

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I am thankful for all of our Seven Oaks friends.

Have a great Thanksgiving with your families and friends.

Be safe. See you soon.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's official

The new ski/snowboard trail on the west side of Valley View chairlift has been named.............drum roll.....................Elwoods Hideout


And the trail that leads from the unload of Valley View to Elwoods Hideout, Central Park and Kenzies Korner will have some of the smaller features.......boxes, rails, etc..............that riders can use on their ride to any three of the previously named trails.............and this trail with the features will be called..............drum roll...........Willet's Way.........

Thanks to everyone that gave us a suggested name..............

Now start your cold weather dance or your snow dance or both............let's go.....

Have a happy thanksgiving.........enjoy your families and friends..........be safe......

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Patience.......me too.......

I guess I just have to be patient.....and so do all of you.........for the weather to turn cold enough that we can get started with the season's snow making. The forecasters just keep pushing the date out as to when we will finally see cold temps at night.......cold enough to make some SNOW. Now looks like just after Thanksgiving........but all of you should know that when it begins we will put a comment on the blog and a comment on facebook.........

I saw where KCCI reports having 10,000 fans on thier facebook account......well they got started before Seven Oaks did but come on everyone.........recommend Seven Oaks to your contacts.......let's see how close we can come to the KCCI number........we have a good start.......

Got some of the new shirts in........more stuff is ordered and should arrive in a week to ten days........Joel said the new shirts that came in first are very cool........I haven't seen them but will take his word for it.

Had the six hour training marathon last Sunday afternoon for all the winter employees. What a great group we have lined up for this winter........we and they can hardly wait.

gotta go........

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Just checked

Here are three different sources for low temps starting next Monday and Tuesday night:

KCCI says 35 and 31

WHO says 33 and 29

Accuweather says 30 and 21

Do I dare get my hopes up? Man oh man just get cold and we'll blow the snow.......

Everybody......start your snow and cold weather dances.......WE ARE READY !

Monday, November 16, 2009

Who knows??

Well according to tonights forecast on WHO TV, the temps will not be low enough Sunday night nor Monday night for snowmaking. Who knows.........the forecast changes so much it is almost a full time job just trying to keep up with the changes. We are ready to go......so once the temps cooperate ........you know we will make snow.

Had a great turnout for candidates presenting themselves to work at Seven Oaks this winter.....probably about 120 people came for the overview and interviews. What a great group of people.........too bad we can't hire them all........but we can't.

let's keep an eye on the night time lows.....

Sunday, November 15, 2009

maybe a week from today

Just finished checking the forecast on Accuweather and we might get started making snow a week from today. Here is the night time lows predicted.......and a few snow comments.....

Sunday November 22 = 19 degrees for a low = our first night of making this season's snow
Monday November 23 = 18 degrees for a low
Tuesday = 15 degrees and some flurries
Wednesday = 14 degrees with some morning snow
Thursday = 14 degrees pm low
Friday = 15, Saturday 15 with snow at times and Sunday November 29 is a low of 14 degrees

All eight days show snowmaking temperatures at night but daytime temps would cause us to shut down.........but..........BUT.......if this forecast is accurate we should be open at least by the first weekend in December..........which has been the case the past two seasons..........open as in probably no tubing yet and not all lifts nor trails.......but OPEN........

I'll keep watching and letting you know our status...........

Friday, November 13, 2009

Time will tell........

Time will tell if the forecast for the last full week of November is accurate or not but as of now the forecast has Monday night the 23rd as the first night we could make some snow. The first four days of that week are predicted to have a couple 16 degree nights and a couple 22 or 23 degree nights.......hope so. We are anxious and we are ready.

As you might have seen we are getting quite a few suggestions for the new trail name......I'll give it a few more days then decide. Too late for the brochure trail map, but we can update the large map that we have posted on site each winter and we'll update the trail map on the web as well.

Had a meeting in the lodge Thursday night, an ISU house party in the lodge tonight, and employee interviews Sunday afternoon.

Got some of the Seven Oaks clothing articles ordered this week too. Some pretty cool stuff selected.......I am anxious to see it.

I say again, that if you have a Facebook account, you should consider becoming a friend of Seven Oaks. The number is growing daily and it will be a good place to stay current on what we are doing this winter. We'ld love to have you join the group.

enjoy the warm days.......they are numbered........

Monday, November 9, 2009

New Trail needs a NAME

Here are a couple of pics taken late Saturday as the equipment was getting to within just a couple of hours from finishing...........you will come off the Riblet......take a right and then you can take another right shortly thereafter to drop down to this trail..........before the Y in the trail that takes you to Kenzies Korner and Central Park.
The trail is in the gully that was west of the Riblet chairlift. I think you are going to like it...........but we need to name it..........ideas??


When you first drop in, some would consider it a black trail until you get just past the dozer in the picture and then it would probably qualify as a blue trail.


should be about three groomer widths wide until you get closer to the bottom when it will merge with Central Park and / or you can ride under the chairlift to the east side merging into the Freeway

Getting close isn't it.........

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What A Weekend

I am very tired tonight but it was a GREAT weekend. First the weather was fanatastic. Then the progess on the dam and the new trail was huge........pretty much completed. Plus the Friday after Five was super, Saturday was a wedding and reception in the lodge that we helped prepare for........but we took off for Indianola to attend a nephew's wedding reception, Sunday was up early to set up the lodge again, then to church to watch a grand daughter sing and finished with an afternoon of hundreds attending the Landon Russell fundraiser........then clean up the lodge one more time........and two big groups of paintball players.........geez makes me tired just reliving it as I type.

I did get a couple of pictures taken from the bottom looking up and the top looking down the new ski trail............but forgot to email them to myself so I'll have to get them sent tomorrow and add to the post then. Doubt the pics will do it justice but they will be posted. Oh yeah, all the trails were mowed today too.......

tired.......going to bed..........so til tomorrow........

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I guess it was like the Roman Empire

The family business continued to grow and expand for about two decades, but like the Roman Empire, as great as it once was......things changed....and unfortunately today the ski resort is closed. I think there was something like seventeen ski areas in the state at one time in the 80's.....and today there are four. Youth began being involved in so many different opportunities that were offered on weekends........computers and computer games changed the face of our young people too.......schools began dropping out of the winter ski trip program for budget and political reasons.......and all those changes combined with the most uncontrollable of them all......the weather........especially rainy weather and warm weather during the winter can take a heavy toll on a ski area........causing the areas to fade away.........one at a time until there are four......

Seven Oaks has had the objective from day one to diversify and offer year round outdoor recreation. Only time will tell I guess if the strategy and business plan we continue to embrace will allow us to be here for you for years and years to come. I think so.

It is 8 am on Saturday, the ski is blue, the winds are light, temps are warm, last nights Friday after Five was busy, a wedding party is setting up the lodge for an afternoon wedding and reception and the dozers are working on the finishing touches to the new ski trail and enlarging the dam so we have more snow making water capacity. And tomorrow we host a fund raiser for our little two year old buddy Landon Russell who has already endured more treatments and hospitals than most of us will experience in a lifetime. So glad that he is getting healthier each day.

I promise to get a picture or two of the new trail........of course you know it won't be like seeing it in person......or better yet riding or skiing it in a couple of weeks.......but we'll get them posted.

Don't forget to sign up as a friend to Seven Oaks on facebook.......another way to keep current with whats going on at the resort.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Rentals

During those first five years of operation, the rental building at Fun Valley was pretty small. As in real small......both the building and the quantities of rentals.........but like everything else......it too changed and got bigger and better. Initially there were four wooden platforms about three steps high that the patron would climb after putting the ski boots on. When on top of the platform, hanging on to a handrail, the rental shop employee who was still on the ground would adjust, try and probably adjust again, the bindings to fit the person and the boot. It worked but as the business grew........along came the spademen binding that made the rental process way faster. A steel plate was permanently attached to the bottom of the ski boot.........and the plate had a large V notch on both the right and left side. The binding would receive the notched plate which aligned the boot to the binding and gripped the boot to the binding. All we had to do was adjust the tension on the large springed latch at the back side of each binding. This was fast......way fast compared to the earlier process of unscrewing, moving, tightening, trying, etc that was "the way" a couple years earlier. At the time of the spademen bindings I want to say the rental inventory had grown to 700 pair of skis and boots.

For the first several years the majority .........maybe all..........of the labor was performed by family. I did most of the instructions the first few years and then worked in the rental department as it grew. Younger brothers bridged the instructors gap first and right behind that was a slew of nieces and nephews that got involved in every facet of the business..........including the food side. I believe Dad handled the majority of the retail end.........which at that time included full lines of clothing, skis, boots and bindings as well as the misc. items. It was a pretty large department at one time...........before the big box stores entered the picture.

enjoy your weekend. I will try to get some pics of the new trail and post here in a couple days.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

snowmaking in the 70's

I don't honestly remember which was tried first but very early on Dad purchased a machine that had been used to fog trees with insecticide..........with the purpose of making snow. Seems like it did put out a snowflake or two but with no compressed air to assist, very limited water pressure, the amount of snow made on a really cold night wouldn't have been enough to make a very large snowman........but it was snow and it was made. From there a couple of SMI snowguns..........we still run them today........same design as then..........was purchased and man oh man could they ever make the snow. Mission Accomplished! No more going to the ditches to scoop drifted snow! We could make snow. We could move the gun to different trails. It was a milestone! And of course the art of snowmaking hasn't stopped since the 70's for one minute. A lot of science and technology has been rolled into a single package called a snow gun.

....and thank goodness huh. Some winters we wouldn't have opened very early if it hadn't been for snowmaking.

If ever you want to see snow being made at Seven Oaks you can. We normally get started around Thanksgiving and normally can only make it at night with colder temperatures....but we have a LOT of visitors come to the parking lot for the express purpose of seeing some snow being made.

changing the topic again, sounds like all the earth work was accomplished yesterday at the unload portion of the Riblet chair.......think everyone will like it a lot.......and the work was started on the new trail and building the dam higher.............for more snowmaking water capacity.

see you at Seven Oaks

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Grooming?? What's that??

I can't say that I remember how many winter seasons Fun Valley was in operation with no grooming..........well, no grooming as we know it today. Generally there was more grooming done in front of the bathroom mirror each morning than there was on the ski trails..........but over time that changed.

First the ski conditions were what ever mother nature provided and the skiers created with their own skiing and falling. Then there was a snowmobile or the "cushman" with it's rubber tracks and hydrostatic drive........dragging either old bed springs, a section of rotary hoe (from the farm field) or even a section of hoe (again from the farm field)..........up and down the trails in an attempt to: a) relocate some of the snow to thin spots.......b) break up hard pack .......c) level some of the terrain ..........or maybe it just made us feel better. But then came the real McCoy.........a steel tracked machine , I believe it was a Thikol that we would pull a specifically designed snow grooming tool called a powder maker. This powder maker would break up, crush, smooth out, relocate snow ........all in a single pass. Until groomers as are used today were introduced to the industry and specifically to Fun Valley. Quite the transition.

So you can see that the industry went from 100% natural snow......or none at all.......with no grooming and then crude attempts to make the snow more skiable......to todays standard of making snow on a very regular basis to augment whatever mother nature gives us and grooming every day with equipment that has enough features, options, buttons and gauges to rival a jumbo jet.........

what a change........what an improvement......

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Years ago

I am sure years ago when the Bryans opened a ski resort on the family farm, there were many skeptics and naysayers.......critics and gossips.......but you know what....... it worked. Just like our friend that built Lake Ponderosa just one mile north of Fun Valley. But it was not an easy road.......far from it. Four or five of us kids had left home in pursuit of our own dreams and Dad was still farming about 500 acres.........til one day he announced that he could not continue farming, building Fun Valley bigger each year and then operating Fun Valley all winter........so he sold the farm.

Fun Valley was for many years the reason for so many of the family to come home.......to play......and most certainly to work. Few things in the way of improvements were ever hired done. We had the manpower....and little did our spouses realize they were part of it too.....til it was too late....and for many years we contributed to the winter operation as well for no or minimal compensation.........but don't let me mislead you into thinking we complained.......cause we didn't ........it was fun being with family.......introducing our kids to the ski industry.........watching them learn to ski at age 2.......it was fun.

But you know in those very early days of skiing..........there was NO snowmaking........there was NO grooming. Mother nature had to provide the snow and generally did.........although we would often have to go retrieve snow from snow drifts or from the ditches along the road ........piling the snow as high as possible on a homemade sled being pulled behind a snowmobile or other motorized vehicle of the day.......always hurrying because you were in a race with the sun.......finally delivering it on a dirt, mud or grass spot to provide continuity in the white base for the skiers to slide across. Whew........made me tired just writing about it........and it most definitely made me tired then actually doing it. Load after load........curse the hot sun and the warm winds that were melting our snow!

next time.........a couple comments on the early days of grooming

have you become a Friend of Seven Oaks on Facebook yet????........many have.........

The countdown has began for when we make snow at Seven Oaks for the first time.......

Monday, November 2, 2009

It was 1970.......

.....when a guy named Mike D. from one of the suburbs of Chicago came knocking on my parents house front door to start a conversation about buying some of Dad's farm land........for a ski resort. One thing led to another and a deal was struck. I quit my job in Oskaloosa - flew to Aspen Colorado to learn to ski and to learn to teach.........from one of the best instructors at the resort.......in fact I lived with him for the week. Then returned home to begin clearing land, etc. for the new resort. Unfortunately within a couple of months with promises instead of a paycheck, we all learned Mike D. had more ideas than money........so exit stage left for Mike D.

Dad was humiliated and angered allowing himself to be taken by a big town swindler.....and vowed to make it right with his friends that had invested in the new resort.

This idea of a ski area in close proximity to Iowas largest cities, in close proximity to Iowas largest highway - I80..........had received a significant amount of publicity in a host of newspapers and even radio...........so Dad and Mom........actually Dad talked Mom into it.......said let's do it ourselves. So with the assistance of the seven kids.......a small ski resort named Fun Valley was born.........opening to the predominantly non skiing public in the winter of 1970-71.

And yours truly was the "ski instructor" for the resort.........after having learned from and at the best in the USA..........Aspen.

more later on this........instructing, snowmaking, rentals, lodge, grooming, NSPS........at little ole Fun Valley.

I still think winter is fun.........

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Yesterday was a Fun Day

When I knew I would be travelling alone to Seven Oaks Saturday for routine business I decided to call my 88 year young aunt to see if she was available, wanted to, felt like riding along. She had been to Seven Oaks one other time.......ten years ago. She said yes........actually she said YES. I picked her up at 7:30 am in Montezuma and off we went to my little slice of heaven........Seven Oaks. There was never a moment we didn't have something to talk about.........it was fun. When we were almost there she asked how many miles it was and when I responded it was 110 miles she smiled and replied "it seems like 150" ! After showing her around and engaging in a couple hour meeting with staff, we loaded up, had lunch in Boone and headed home........again without a quiet moment of having nothing to talk about.

This little trip has given cause to reflect back to my first exposure of the ski industry.....and I think over the next couple of postings I am going to share with you how that came about, the differences in the ski industry in Iowa back then compared to now......all from my perspective of course..........so bear with me.

Seven Oaks looked great yesterday. Several recent improvements were made last week......many of which will not directly be seen by you nor necessarily benefit many of you......but another snow gun, more snowtubes and more lockers for the rental shop were picked up Tuesday........a new and much larger septic tank was installed on Wednesday.......a concrete floor was poured in the shop Thursday.........new flooring was laid in the largest women's restroom on Saturday...........all in the name of continuous improvement.

this week..........improve the Riblet chairlift unload area........create the new ski trail..........raise the dam for more water holding capacity which means more continuous hours of snowmaking.........

...and to all my friends engaged in the farming industry I hope this week brings you sunshine and a little breeze so you can all get your crops out. I can relate to the farming industry more than any other when it comes to having your business be at the mercy of the weather.

we are getting closer and closer to winter season 2009-2010............

Monday, October 26, 2009

are you interested

spent some time on the web and found two sites you might be interested in posting a comment regarding your experience at Seven Oaks..........hoping of course they are good comments.

on the snow.com is one of the sites

ski report.com is the other

Your decision.........

think snow and hope to see you on the slopes soon........

Friday, October 23, 2009

in the mood

really nice weather the first couple days of the week but wow, when the front came thru and dropped the temps again, it can sure put me in the mood to make snow and get the cat out to push and groom. my guess is we will get the green run open and the blue run so we can satisfy different levels of riders and skiers opening day from the Riblet lift. Of course we will open more if we get some snow from the sky and / or have favorable cold temps to keep the guns on for extended time....but it takes a lot of snow to get everything open every year. a couple more guns and more water for snowmaking will help this season.

Season passes still available at today's prices for seven more days...

Have an ISU house party in the lodge tonight and the Boone Hospital fundraiser in the lodge Saturday night....so we're still busy....

winter feels good

Monday, October 19, 2009

Good to see you and meet others

It was really good to see everyone yesterday after having a few months away. A whole lot of the winter Seven Oaks family was on site to look at the goods for sale and to purchase their season passes. ....and a LOT of new faces buying passes for their first time as well. It is going to be a fun winter.

If you haven't purchased your season pass sale yet, you still can til November 1.....so you have the month of October to get er done. ..... in person, by mail, phone call or on line....but gotta get it done in the month of October. Don't have any of the swap equipment on hand for you to look at after yesterday but you can still get your passes.

I am down at the Lake of the Ozarks right now getting ready to take in some of the seventy five degree temps while it lasts.....so until later.

winter feels good

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

New trail

Looks like the last week of October is when we will create the new trail. It will be on the west side of the chair lift we installed last year. You will come off the new chair, take a right, enter thru an opening in the trees and drop down from there into the valley that is on the west side of the chair lift all the way to the bottom. You will be able to cross under the chair part of the way down if so desired.

Geez, another twenty to thirty minutes in the groomer every day........but we think it will be worth it and offer up some more variety in runs. It'll probably be classified as a blue run due to the drop at the beginning.

Also going to make the unload from this chair a little less steep than last year. Should help the beginners and deter stopping the chair as much.

.....and you thought we were just goofing off when we walk around the trails during the winter.....nope, watching the patrons to see what we can do to improve the flow.

Then we also plan to increase the water holding capacity of the snowmaking pond.......more water........more snow! Bring it on!

See you Sunday.......

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Seven Oaks Sister Ski Area Program

Here's a bunch more reasons why you should purchase a season pass this Sunday at Seven Oaks. With the purchase of a Seven Oaks Season Pass you have unlimited days and/or nights of skiing or riding and you will receive discounts to these other ski areas. WOW!

Note the Blackout Dates of December 26th to Jan.2nd and MLK & Presidents 3- day weekends.

Receive a complimentary ticket, up to 3 visits, to:
  • Powder Ridge in Kimball, MN
  • Buck Hill in Brunsville, MN
  • Deer Mountain in Lead, SD
  • Great Bear in Sioux Falls, SD


Receive 1/2 off lift tickets, up to 3 visits, to:

  • Snowstar in Andalusia, IL
  • Devil's Head in Merrimac, WI
  • Sundown Mountain in Dubuque, IA (offer begins Dec. 14)
  • Andes Tower Hills in Kensington, MN


Receive $10 off lift tickets, up to 3 visits, to:

  • Wild Mountain in Taylors Falls, MN

And we are working on one or two that might also get added to the sister program for this winter season.

Hey, we take winter recreation seriously. We will keep on making our programs affordable, exciting and something that will fit everyone's budget. Winter recreation - It's fun, it's a sport for life, it's a great stress reliever, it's close to you, it's something you can do WITH your family instead of setting in the bleachers or on the sidelines watching.........and it's a pretty good calorie burner too.

Come see us at our season pass sale and equipment swap Sunday October 18 from 10 am to 5 pm to get our best rates...........and come hungry so you can support the local NSPS volunteers that will be ready to serve you ...........in a different way......

Monday, October 12, 2009

Late Nite dates have been set

Looks like we'll be having Late Niters on at least the following Saturday nights:

December 19, 2009

January 16, 2010

January 30, 2010

February 13, 2010

Maybe more.......we'll see. Details will be on the web. Kinda wierd typing the year 2010.

gotta run for now but will try to put some more info regarding sister ski area program on tomorrow or Wednesday.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

M-T-W-TH-F-SA-Swap & Sale

It's coming quick.......the swap and season pass sale........just six days away.

The team has been putting a fresh coat of paint on a lot of things the past week.......rental building interior, rails, original lodge walls, bathrooms ........and new ceiling tile too. Had another wedding reception in the lodge Saturday night and the set up .......decorations looked great.........as did the lodge.

Did you see some in south eastern Iowa got about 3 inches of snow Saturday.......unreal........it's like a record from what I read.

Had a long talk Saturday about getting more equipment for the rental shop - boards, boots and longer skis........we'll see what develops. Also had a long talk about hoodies and shirts for retail this winter too. Got some neat ideas.

Remember - cover your cough and wash your hands.......don't need H1N1 or R2D2 messing with your availability to come to the swap and sale Sunday.......or the opening day for the season. Stay Healthy!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

It's snowing...Saturday October 10

Wow, snow flakes on the tenth of October.......what does that mean??? A quick little notice that winter is close........or an early winter..........or maybe a long winter..........how about a winter with lots of natural snow. Your guess is as good as mine. We'll both have to wait and see.

One week from tomorrow is the season pass sale and swap starting at 10 AM........that's Sunday October 18. Remember all you last year season pass holders.......bring a friend so you both get bigger discounts.

......and remember to check out our web site for the details of the sister ski area program. This program opens up the opportunity for ALL Seven Oaks season pass holders to try out some other areas in neighboring states for a very decent discount at those sister areas. I think ONE more is going to be added to the list but it's a little too early to reveal yet. If it happens a lot of you are going to LIKE it.....

We are looking for pictures from Seven Oaks........I don't care how long ago. If you have some cool shots of yourself or family or friends, email them to info@sevenoaksrec.com We want more on our web site.

think snow..........

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

You Know We Are Getting Closer When......

....All the NSPS......National Ski Patrol have their annual refresher as was conducted all day last Sunday.

....The one day season pass sale and swap is less than two weeks away. Sunday October 18 from 9 am to 5 pm.........and more new equipment than ever is being brought in for the day.

....Kris tells me the groomer is 100% ready to roll

....Kris tells me the snow guns are 100% ready

....Kris tells me the chairlifts are completely maintenanced and ready.

....You can see your breath in the morning air......and it's not from what you ate the night before.

....People are starting to send in applications to work at Seven Oaks this winter.

These are all signs that winter is not far away. Paintball is still going strong, river tubing is done and the tubes placed in storage, canoe and kayak is still available for four more weeks weather permitting, the leaves are beginning to get some noticeable color. Makes me wonder just how soon we will get our first snow.......and when we will make the first snow.

Last Friday after Five was another good one. Met some new friends from Nevada that came over to hear Larry Myer perform in the lodge.......just cause one of them had heard him before. Food from Grand Times, as usual was grand!

Oh yeah, the geese are flying south too.

see you at the sale and swap day.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Are you in a church group?...read on......

Another new incentive being offered this year for church groups is this.........besides our published group rates.......and beyond our published evening rates that begin at 4 pm........this year church groups can get those reduced prices ONE HOUR EARLIER on Sunday afternoon. Yep, bring the church group at 3:00 pm to start your evening of fun on the snow! Hope this helps some of you.

Friday night is our October Friday after Five in the Lodge.........and it seems with the temps being called for on friday night the action WILL be IN the lodge and not so much on the patio........but WOW with these temps dropping it really feels like winter is approaching doesn't it!

Have had a few of you respond on the colors you would like to see in our Seven Oaks shirts and sweatshirts this winter........appreciate it...........any more of you have a preference?

Staff has been busy giving a few walls fresh coats of paint this week .........looks good.

And the paintball groups are really hoppin now with the cooler temps too.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ten bucks........no kidding

We have created a NEW special for this coming winter........just ten bucks will get you a lift ticket to ski or snowboard on Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 4 to 9 pm.

The snow and conditions are going to be just as great on those evenings as any other......we groom daily.........and if you are remotely close to Seven Oaks, we don't think you can beat four or five hours on the snow for just TEN BUCKS. We are serious about making sure winter recreation is affordable and available for everyone!

The new season is just around the corner........can't wait........although with this unseasonably warm Sunday it is pretty nice so I am signing off and going outdoors........

Til then, think snow!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Got your Christmas shopping done?

Geez, yesterday we were only three months from Christmas Day.........and last week we officially left summer...........yep, we will soon be riding, skiing and tubing. Only 22 days til our annual swap and season pass sale. A gift certificate might be the perfect gift for someone in your family.......and if it is, October 18 is the day to come to Seven Oaks to get the discounted season pass or browse thru the lodge looking at all the new equipment that might just be the right equipment to purchase for a gift...........shoot, maybe you deserve to buy your own gift.......new board or skis??

We recently sent out one of our Seven Oaks E-news that had a question worth repeating on the blog. As we get close to ordering our clothing is there a color or are there colors you want us to consider this year? Let us know.....soon.

OUR WINTER SCORECARD UPDATE
Groomer - ready for winter
CTEC chairlift - ready for winter
All snow making guns - ready for winter
Riblet chairlift - 80% ready for winter
Snowtubing - 50% ready for winter
Rental shop - 30% ready for winter
Me - 99% ready for winter..........I'm ready to groom!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What's a Dragoon River Romp? Read On

The annual Dragoon River Romp started on Saturday September 19 with volunteers......143 of them.......registering at the Lodge at Seven Oaks before proceeding to the river to spend the morning picking up after others. Believe it or Not, two years ago the Romp cleaned the same section of river that was cleaned this year...........but still collected 4.5 TONS of litter from the river banks, the sand bars and the water itself..........Simply amazing isn't it that we as a society don't care enough to avoid scarring mother nature. After all the education that has taken place for years......people still do it. And this is in addition to what Seven Oaks staff picks up, especially at the boat ramps, all summer long.

I suppose in reality some of the litter is coming from those who enjoy the river thru our full service canoe, kayak or tube floats.......but hey, I don't think any of them had with them the 22 tires that were retrieved, or the two appliances or even the car battery. Yep, that was among the trash that was picked up.

It was a beautiful day for the event and it finished with a meal at the lodge along with prizes and recognition of those who put so much effort in putting it together each year. Maybe you would like to volunteer next year.

Here are a couple pics taken that day.


Thanks to each of the volunteers.......

And thanks to all the event coordinators.......


And thanks to the Seven Oaks staff........

A couple quick reminders.........FAF is October 2 in the lodge with live music by Larry Myer, food from Grand Times and beer tasting hosted by Olde Main Brewery ................and Sunday, October 18 is the annual Season Pass Sale and Swap. There will be more new equipment than ever before brought in for this one day event...priced to sell.......Hope to see you there........

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Labor Day Weekend

What a gorgeous weekend we had over Labor Day........let me share with you all that was going on at Seven Oaks.

It all started Friday night with about 200 attending our first friday of the month Friday after Five. Then ........over the next three days we had right at 500 people on the river enjoying tubing, canoeing and kayaking. There were also lots of folks in the campground.......weather was sweeet for camping too.

On Saturday the lawn all around both chair lift bases was covered........no really covered.......with tents, campers, cars and people as the Seventh Annual 24-Hour Mountain Bike Race started at noon. Then at 5:30 pm a wedding reception consisting of about 260 occupied the lodge and the patio for their great party.

Saturday night at midnight was the traditional hour long chairlift rides and pasta feed for all the bikers and their support teams. Breakfast at 7 am for the bikers.........and the race finished at noon on Sunday........followed by the awards ceremony in the lodge.

People were coming and going all weekend and I didn't know if I was coming or going! But it was fantastic, the weather as said before was perfect, everyone had a good time and the Seven Oaks staff did a wonderful job facilitating it all.

Check out our new ski page with changing pics..........I think Joel's intent is to add pics to each page. I like it.

We still have several more paintball groups on the books for this month - one is a group of 50 Marines.....and a lot more wedding receptions in the Lodge too. A variety of other meetings and meals are scheduled as well........so it looks like we'll remain busy. Our full service river floats will continue thru September and October. Several of the staff are going to start sneaking out for some days off as we get in the slightly slower period and before we get into the full swing of winter.

Remember the season pass sale and swap is Sunday October 18 from 9 am to 5 pm.

Enjoy the balance of the summer and fall..........we'll be making snow before you know it. Can't wait.....it's my favorite. Oh yeah, just to clarify.....that was ole man Rick doing the parasailing!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Took one off my bucket list

Strap in, set down, shut up and away I go.........





Getting up there.........great view.........




Now what am I going to do next year??

Season Pass Sale and Swap is third Sunday in October from 9 am to 5 pm........October 18,2009........stop and see us at the State Fair

Busy Busy Busy with river floats........not too late for YOU.

Later

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Where were you yesterday????

Don't know where you were but these people were on a full service river float at Seven Oaks. What a great way to spend a few hours.......floating down the river with family or friends........whether in a canoe, kayak or tube...............yeah, check out the new Seven Oaks river tubes..........


Sunshine, relaxing, idle conversation..........what a great afternoon..........


and yes.........you can just float along in your kayak.........not even paddling.........much........just relax and go with the flow........



.....summer.........ain't it great.........


almost eight miles of this view of the river..........enjoy a full service canoe, kayak or river tube float at Seven Oaks..........






Monday, June 22, 2009

more stone........

Here are the pics of the lodge addition with the stone in place. We like it........hope you do too.

You can come anytime to have a look and a visit........in about a week we have our July 3 Friday after Five, which might be a good time for a visit.........or..........




if you haven't booked your river float yet........as hundreds already have......you can give us a call with your date for a float and check out the lodge when you are checking in..........

Been busy with the weather turning summer like..............overnight! But hey, it's great to have some hot days cause it is sooooo cool on the river.......canoes, kayaks and river tubes........all full service.........just come to Seven Oaks, and we provide the labor, the equipment, the transportation and you have the FUN......I know there are some of you winter enthusiasts out there that have not enjoyed the river yet.........

see you soon.......

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Geez, where ya been?

Well......let's see.........the stone has been installed on the exterior of last fall's lodge addition......we think it looks great.......maybe I can get Ken to send me a couple pics to post for you who haven't been on site to see it for yourselves........and some landscaping was done after that......still have to lay down some mulch.

And then there is the Friday after Five on June 5th that had about 250 people in attendance for a really great night.......food from Grand Times, drink specials, beer tasting, lots of laughter......oh and the hoola hoop contest......

I shouldn't forget to mention the lodge has been busy on Saturday nights with receptons and reunions.......had a reunion again last Saturday night and another one this Saturday night.......followed by a flurry of wedding receptions.

The new livery operation in Webster City on the Boone River is up and running........Joel with three staff took kayaks on the new stretch last week.......mid week.......and had a blast. It was reportedly a new experience when they engaged the rapids......fun....

Can you believe the month of June is more than half done......wow........and have you seen our ads on the KCCI web site? Before you know it we'll be sending an e-news about the October season pass sale! The new brochures are supposed to be done this week so we can begin using them for next winter mailers.

We are tired of the unseasonably cool days and cloudy skies and rain or the threat of rain. Really looking forward to this weekend with mid and upper 80's for temps and NO rain........but it is admittedly better than this time last year with about five feet of water flowing over highway 30.

Had a surprise visit from our friend Todd a week ago........the guy that engineered the chairlift installation last year. He was in Wisconsin installing another chairlift, had the weekend off and decided to come visit all the Seven Oaks gang. Had a chance to catch up with him and to show him the livery in Webster City.

in closing........enjoy the outdoors..........at Seven Oaks........if you are one of our winter friends, give a canoe, kayak or river tube float a try........we think you will like it........

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A couple of cool photos

As promised............
this one is my favorite........


........while not an everyday view from top........happens pretty often as the heat from the nearby river meets the air in the valley.......and our campers enjoy it.

later........

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What do you think??

Well as you have seen by now we have done a facelift on the Seven Oaks web site. We would enjoy hearing from you on the new look. Easier to maneuver? More appealing? Easier to find what your looking for? Take a minute and give us some feedback.

Paintball has been really pretty busy.....weather has held for the weekend groups and several more on the books.........don't wait..........we have the equipment if you don't.

Canoes, kayaks and river tube reservations are also coming in daily. ...........and we are pretty excited about a new river outfitter location we are starting soon..........near Webster City ........on the Boone River. Totally different look......has some class I and Class II rapids...........should be interesting and an option for some of you.......yes it's a little further drive if your coming from the south.........but again ..........different river and different scene.

Want to remind you that Memorial Day is coming right up..........will be here before you know it.....so if you want to reserve a canoe or kayak it is not toooooo early to do just that. Give Dee a call.

Hope to have the stone applied to the exterior of the lodge addition in the next couple weeks.

Joel took some very cool pics last weekend from the Valley View Chairlift area looking down over the morning fog in the valley.......I'll try to get them posted soon.

see you soon.........

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

new look

please drop me a note regarding the new web look. if there is something more you would like to see include that in your comments as well. thanks

Friday, April 17, 2009

An overdue update

Staff has been getting in some R&R (skiing, climbing, riding, golfing, traveling and sleeping) since we closed the winter season....... while making the transfer from winter activities to summer activites.

  • In the next couple weeks we should have all the stone applied to the exterior of last years lodge addition.
  • The Friday after Five themes from May thru November have been determined (I'll post it here one of these days.
  • The Lodge at Seven Oaks has been reasonably busy with receptions, corporate meetings and meals, young professional meetings, etc and is about to get REALLY busy soon with after prom parties, graduation parties, weddings, receptions, reunions and meetings. It's going to keep everyone busy.
  • We are evaluating what improvements we will make before next winter to the interior of the rental building.
  • The vans, buses, trailers, canoes, kayaks, tubes are almost 100% inspected for summer use.
  • The paintball fields have been cleaned up; the markers have all been gone thru and the paint has arrived.
  • Big ISU campout is coming up within a couple weeks.
  • 100% of the lodge carpet has been cleaned.
  • A couple roof leaks between lodge buildings have been professionally repaired.........we hope.
  • We are pretty pumped about a new venture involving our river activities but I can't quite reveal what's new in that area......quite yet. Stay tuned for this one.
  • We are investigating a complete re paint of both chair lifts this summer.
  • The patio tables are being set up for this summer.
  • Reservations are coming in regularly for summer fun at Seven Oaks.
  • A new marketing strategy is about to be kicked off.
  • Our web site is again being revamped.
  • Andrew Frost has been added as a full time employee........welcome aboard Andy.

come see us soon..........

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Going, going but not gone

Thought I would stick with tradition and give the readers a quick view of the remaining snow as of this morning. It was a good season wasn't it. We're already discussing next season.......what changes we want to introduce in packages, prices, hours, trails, etc.
If you have some thoughts ......that are legit.......drop us a line.



The crew is busy putting the "winter" stuff away and getting ready for paintball and river floats. Plenty to do. Also have a lot of meetings and meals in the lodge this spring. All the carpet has been cleaned , the first time......with more planned after all the winter traffic. Thanks to each of you for using Seven Oaks.
enjoy summer




Sunday, March 8, 2009

FAF - Skim - Email - Tadaaa

Friday after Five was a big hit.......great music and lots of laughter........and that reminds me that we will now have the monthly Friday after Five the first Friday of the month only...........

The pond skim was a hoot.........moving it from Sunday then to Saturday and finally to Friday night was a bit confusing but a great group showed up for the 3rd Annual Spring Splash ready to take on the POND and some did it big time. .............Too fast (way to go Vince), too slow (all those who got wet ), "catch an edge" (again all those who got wet), "going big" (Brian) "right on" and "right on with tricks" were all witnessed. Lots of the Friday after Five folks came out to cheer the athletes on as well.....it was a whole lot warmer this year than last......but the water was still COLD...........Next Year - Longer Pond...........we'll try to get the video out on you tube and let you know via this blog when it's there........


Wanted to share with you this email and pics that were sent to us a couple days ago.......


Hi friends at Seven Oaks, I'd like to post my picture.We are Brazilian and we visited the "Seven Oaks" on feb. 22 and 23/2009.We were all happy with the good reception and the great oportunity to enjoy the good sky and snow boarding track. Thanks, Milton Brito




Thanks for sharing Milton and if we had an award for the furthest travelled to enjoy Seven Oaks, well I gotta think you would win!


............and finally........Tadaaaa ! The winter season of 2008-09 was memorable but has come to an end. Already we are looking forward to making the first night of snow in November of 2009......but have several months of spring, summer and fall recreation to provide first......it's been great.........met a lot of new friends.......had a wonderfu crew to work with again this season and had a lot of peaceful solitary hours making fresh cordouroy for you on the weekends......

I'll try to keep the blog alive this summer as well so check in from time to time.......

Be safe..............

Friday, March 6, 2009

LAST CHANCE?? - Spring Splash

Yep, we will be partially OPEN tonight, Friday, March 6 for skiing and snowboarding.....from 4 to 9 pm..........probably only the new chair will be operating along with the beginner rope tow.......but I am sorry to report snow tubing will be closed.
We'll start moving some snow around to give you the best spring conditions possible.......and speaking of spring......we'll have our 3rd annual Spring Splash tonight as well........complete with live music in the lodge (along with our Friday after Five).....drink specials and the ever popular "Pond Skim"...........which will be built this afternoon.........
Here are some see-for-your self-pics taken this morning about 7:30 am........



and .......All long sleeve Seven Oaks apparel will also be on sale tonight.



Been a fun season but certainly looks like it will end tonight.....unless we get a March blizzard.....as the dreaded rain is targeting us Saturday and Sunday morning........




So come on out for one last time on the snow this season........consider a skim........enjoy the live music in Coal Creek Lounge......


enjoy winter.....



.......and the paintball, canoe, kayak, river tube, camping, hiking, mountain bike .....season is just around the corner.......... enjoy spring........ :)






Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Spring Splash

As of this writing, the 2009 3rd Annual Spring Splash .......complete with Pond Skim.......is still on for this Saturday beginning at 3 pm...... We like you are watching the weather.......temps and rain forecast........so DO call ahead or DO check our web before you come on out.........and KNOW we are going to do everything we can to be there for you Friday night and Saturday.........

Live entertainment in the lodge again this Friday night......

enjoy spring like winter........

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Today was busy and sunny.......

As this is written we are wrapping up another great Saturday at Seven Oaks. The snow was pretty decent after last nights snowmaking for ten hours........the storm gave us just enough to see some white on the sidewalk.........not much.

Watchin the weather like a hawk as the mid to end of next week looks kinda iffy........but who knows.......should be another good day tomorrow.........temps look decent. .........will do a full groom tomorrow morning........

Kinda looking at moving the Spring Splash with pond skim from next Sunday to........NEXT Saturday.....so we can get it in for sure.........again watchin the weather.........so more later in the week........

enjoy winter.........

Friday, February 27, 2009

Urgent Countdown

Today is friday, February 27 and for those of you who just can't get enough time on the snow and to those of you who have not been on the Seven Oaks snow.......the countdown for this season is in process. Typically we make it thru the first and sometimes second weekend of March.........and it appears making it thru the first weekend of March is pretty much a sure thing.....by the way it's our Spring Splash Sunday March 8........and we may well make it to the second weekend of March......but who knows........so from here on out we are only open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Are we going to get one of those March blizzards that used to dump on us during the week of Iowa State Girls Basketball tournament?? It's been a while since we have and with the weather patterns we have been realizing.....it might just happen.

Our snow conditions are still good and we plan to make snow again tonight.......as it doesn't look like we're supposed to get much of the snowfall tonight........so Saturday February 28 should be awesome conditions......

Red, White, and Blue weekend is tomorrow and Sunday, in honor of our troops and their families.......see our web for details.

Here are a few more recent pics......


This could be you......


There is still time......

Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday........


The lessons are FREE.........

enjoy winter.......