‘Trials and tribulations’

‘Trials and tribulations’

January 10, 2019

Rewind to the eve of 2018 and temperatures were swooning in the single digits. This season? Sunny days are few and far between, but warm temps and rain drops continue to shine.

Waiting on winter.

 As we watched the snow quietly melt and bare patches peek, we felt begrudgingly defeated. Shifts got shorter. Guns rested. Temps meandered in the mid-30s. It rained— again.

We leaned heavily on early season prep to carry out the holiday ride. Like any good farmer, we worked tirelessly when Mother Nature was agreeable. To date, we’ve opened 23 of 39 trails, plus the tubing park. We’ve also closed a trail or two when conditions got rough and slope hips puddled in mud.

“34 is better than 44 [degrees], but the rain’s got to stop, too,” says Bob, Mountain Manager, last week as he mulled over the fifteen-day forecast. The good and bad news? It’s not just our mountain. The same goes for all east coast slopes: we’re waiting on winter.

Early morning push with groomer Nate (photo by Jake, night crew snowmaker).

 Our secret? We’ve had an extra push of snowmaking time thanks to the efficiency and quick start up of the automation system.

What keeps us open? Consistency. Grooming has been a gift and a burden for fair weather days. The tillers help to re-stitch the snow and blanket the trails for full coverage, but the machines are so heavy, they wade through slush. Not only has the rain impacted snow quality, but the ground surface runoff has caused caving of trail base undersides. Since the ground is frozen, the surface runoff heads downhill, melts the ice, and takes mass along with it.

Trail hips thin, starving for cold weather temperatures (January 1).

If only our New Year’s resolution was in our control, we would take on 2019 with a bang. Let’s be clear: we resolve to make more snow. Like any resolution, we can’t take an all or nothing approach. The season is well underway, yet only just beginning. And, finally, Mother Nature hears our cries.

Green means go-time (January 7).

 Early this week, temperatures plummeted. We saw teen digits across the mountain well past the sunrise and we continued to make snow. All. Day. Long. Monday, we closed Lazy Mile for a full trail reboot. We made snow on Vista, Burma, Midway, Main Street. Then, continued in the valley, in the parks, and a round two start to push opening our favorite diamonds and race ways.

 

Monday fun day. Snowmaking on Vista.

 The tides have turned. The powder is prime. It’s time to get out on the slopes and just in time to kick off Safety Week! A tip for you: KNOW THE CODE. It’s your responsibility as a skier or rider to stay educated about mountain etiquette and safety, follow mountain rules, and respect fellow sliders.

Enjoying the ride is now even sweeter. We’re offering killer deals to college students for college week January 7-11 and 14-18. Plus, to celebrate Learn to Ski and Snowboard month, we’re offering discounted Family and Friends Lessons on January 12,13 & 26-27.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

 

The trials and tribulations of northeast winters are an all-too-familiar play of the game. So while we have cold temps, we’re back to the round-the-clock grind. A heads-up to you: keep those goggles atop your helmet and ready to rock when the guns fire. We will continue to make snow at every available opportunity— day, night, and in our dreams.

Tony, day crew snowmaker, adjusts gun direction in the valley.

See you on the slopes,

the snowmisers