Saturday, November 22, 2014

Foot-packing, Track-packing, and New Snow

After ski cutting, staff will often sidestep down as shown below on Slalom Slope and West Wall (sorry the sky was gray and the pictures are a little flat). This week following the big storm, the staff tried to impact as many places as possible. On lower angle terrain, we had the snowcats track-packing as many areas as they could. We even put up several portable snow fences in Montezuma Bowl. We still have a good looking storm heading our way. Areas that have been packed or impacted will experience good skiing much more quickly than areas that had not seen this work. We are poised and ready for this storm.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Good Looking Forecast

I don't want to get too excited and jinx things, but the forecast into early next week is looking pretty good. Decent snowfall should start sometime Saturday and continue for a few days. Currently, our snowmaking is ahead of schedule. We had 3 feet of snow last week. We have a lot of terrain open and a lot more poised to really benefit from a storm. I see some powder skiing in the near future.

Ski Cutting - What, Why, How?

There are entire chapters of books dedicated to defining ski cutting.Very generally ski cuts are ski tracks typically cutting across areas prone to avalanche. Once multiple ski cuts overlap each other, they often make an argyle pattern. We do a lot of it at The Basin. Here are just a few very basic explanations of why we ski cut.

1.  Ski cutting often follows avalanche explosive work and helps reduce the chance of avalanches occurring. Following ski cutting, staff may sidestep, bootpack, or ski an avalanche path. These combined activities help break up snow slabs that may otherwise slide.

2.  Ski cutting is a method used by patrollers to reduce the chance of staff getting injured. Workers try and move from relatively safe spot to relatively safe spot minimizing their exposure to avalanche zones. Ski Cutting is always done one person at a time, with the appropriate equipment, and never alone. A partner is always watching the skier, prepared to help if needed.

3.  Ski cutting is one of many steps that help create better snow conditions. These activities pack down the snow and break up funky, early season layers. As new snow falls on the impacted snow, outstanding ski conditions develop.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

First Pali Ride Of The Season

Yesterday afternoon I took my first Pali chairlift ride of the season. I think I sound like a broken record, but that last storm was really good to us over there. The Ski Patrol has been all over Slalom Slope and much of the North Side. There have been a couple of small slides on Pali, one naturally on The Face, and one triggered with explosives on Main Street. So............... I know the next question is "When?". Each year conditions are a little different. Most commonly, we first open Cornice West Wall and Slalom Slope from the Summit. Opening Pali Lift tends to follow not too long afterwards. We will be watching this next storm very carefully. One storm? Two storms? Time will tell.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sundance Open

Sundance will open Thursday. This opening will also include the Upper Loop of Chisholm Trail and the road out from the bottom of Lenawee Lift. There is now green skiing accessible from Black Mountain Express.  We had a phenomenal week of snowmaking on Sundance and, coupled with last week's 3 feet of snow, Sundance is in outstanding shape. In a good year we like to have that trail open by Thanksgiving. On this one, we are a week ahead of the game.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Montezuma Bowl

Tim, Bill, and Rob skied Zuma this morning. Tim took this picture at the bottom of the lift. We are off to a good start back there. The crew built several new snowfences over the summer that caught a lot of snow with this storm. We are going to start poking and prodding away on Columbine and Larkspur.

Nice Morning

Pretty nice visuals out there this morning.

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Skin and Some Updates

Last night Kay and I had our first skin of the season. We arrived at the Summit just before dark. Highlighted by the new snow, low clouds were moving in and the white peaks were brilliant.  The tour was cold, tiring and absolutely incredible.

We have made major headway with this storm. There has been some limited public skiing in Lenawee Parks and Norway. Most of the trails are much wider. The teaching arena on Molly Hogan is open. Snowmaking on Sundance, coupled with the natural snow, has been great. That trail's opening is right around the corner offering green skiing from Black Mountain Express. The snowcats have track packed Wrangler and a few other areas. If I could sketch the perfect conditions for November 17, it would be what we have right now. With unsettled weather on the horizon, I am happy.