Monday, December 23, 2013


It feels good to be on the downhill side of this unpleasant weather.  The rainy weather is now East of the resort and temps have started to fall off.  We are forecasted to see gradual clearing and a steady drop in temps on our way to a clear and cold snowmaking night.  Bring it on!

Today's gloomy weather does not spell disaster for the Holiday ahead.  Instead, today is the end of the thaw and the weather ahead supports snowmaking and improving conditions.  Bouncing back is the key for a great Christmas Week.

Bouncing Back 101-

Surviving an extended thaw is all about conserving snow.  Almost everything we do on the snow causes melting.  Skiing, snowmobiles, building terrain park features, foot traffic, and grooming all cause some degree of melting.  When temps go up, surviving requires a re-evaluation of normal procedures to minimize the melt.  Here are a couple of examples -

Grooming -  The tracks on a grooming machine cut deep into the snow surface allowing rain and warm air to penetrate.  Once opened up, the tiller comes along and turns the snow over mixing a warm top layer with a cold layer underneath.  Grooming in the rain causes even more snow loss as warm rain water is allowed to penetrate deep into the snow pack.  During a thaw, ski operators often use this grooming phrase - "till it to kill it"....

Pushing snow - Ski areas "stockpile" snow for use when times get tough.  In our region, warm periods are a normal part of our Winter.  Being strategic about how and when to use stockpiled snow is critical.  Pushing snow is one part muscle and the other part strategy.  If you push to early, you could run out of snow...  If you try and push snow when it is warm and/or raining, you sacrifice a large portion of what you push because you introduce warm air into the cold core within a pile.  The best use of stockpiled snow comes at the end of a thaw.  Once temps fall back to freezing, we go after our stockpiles of snow and use this to widen trails and cover thin areas.

Temporarily closing trails - Sometimes it is better to let a trail remain closed than trying to repair it.  When you consider the grooming and pushing examples above, leaving a trail alone allows for quick re-opening with minimal snowmaking time.  "Saving" the trail can be an important part of bouncing back.

What do the next few days look like?

We will be making snow and pushing our stockpiles.  This is where we bring SNOWPOWER into play.  We have one of the biggest and best snowmaking systems in our region and the system can produce incredible results quickly.  SNOWPOWER supports our goal of getting as much terrain open as quickly as we can.  Re-opening recently closed trails is priority number one, getting more terrain open will be priority number two.  We should have 12 trails and 4 lifts available on 12/26.

The Plunge - closed for snowmaking beginning tonight and re-opening Thursday 12/26.

Mini Terrain Park on Upper Dobie - Making snow in this area provides limited features until 12/26

Ridgely's Fun Park - closed until 12/26 - we will make snow in this area until then 

What does the rest of the Holiday look like?

The 15 day forecast calls for normal to below normal temperatures providing day and overnight snowmaking opportunities.  Conditions should be great with additional terrain opening during the Holiday period.  Santa is bringing us normal Winter temps and the opportunity to make snow!