Sunday, October 27, 2013

High Noon vs. Lenawee

A few people have asked why we don't open the Upper Mountain first under the assumption that it is colder up there and we could make snow sooner and open sooner. I wrote a post about this a couple of years ago. I couldn't find the post after a very quick look so I will write it up again, hopefully being consistent with my first post.

To start, there are a lot of snowmaking strategies we could use. High Noon is the shortest and most direct trail we can make snow on that allows us to open a chairlift (Molly Hogan excluded).  Lenawee Face / Dercum's Gulch is quite a bit longer than High Noon.  While the Upper Mountain is colder than the Lower Mountain, I am not sure the difference in temperature would make a big swing in when we open.  In fact, because the Upper Mountain trail is longer and requires much more snowmaking (and has a little trickier snowmaking), we would likely open later if we started up there.

We have downloaded before. In fact, pre-snowmaking we downloaded regularly with old Exhibition Lift. I am sure we will download again, perhaps in a summer skiing scenario.  It works. It takes more time. BMX's downloading capacity is 25% of its uploading capacity. On even a regular day, you can expect lines waiting to download.  On a busy day, you can expect big lines.

When we open with BMX and High Noon, we have 1 lift and 1 trail.  When we add Ramrod, we have 1 lift and 2 trails. If we went to the Summit to start, we would have 2 lifts and 1 trail.  I think for early season High Noon makes better sense. In my mind it is less hassle, cheaper to operate, a better guest experience and probably has an earlier opening.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Makes sense. Thanks for explaining more of your thinking and the business reasoning. I appreciate the openness and insight that you provide to your consumers on this blog.

Anonymous said...

ditto

Anonymous said...

This is why I love A Basin. I am sure most MTN's have a strategy on snow making, but Alan offers insight and it makes you feel part of the community. I live in the east coast, but follow A Basin closely and make sure I get there at least once a year! See you soon!

Lifter said...

Very valid reasoning but people have to remember that the higher you go the bigger the rock garden you need to get covered.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your candor!

Also, above treeline the wind has a much greater effect on snow accumulation. I would asume that snowmaking is much trickier up there and trying to cover one spot while the wind is blowing all the snow to another is very tough. I know snow fences are to control that but still.

ab said...

Your logic makes sense. I would just add that I have downloaded at Mt. Hood Timberline recently and at Killington in the past. Although there were lines at the top, there was never a line to download. I think it's the stagger. there is usually worse traffic leaving a big city on Friday than there is coming back on Sunday (although people now also try to stagger the departure).

Anonymous said...

Yesterday at A-Basin was great!!!!!

Anonymous said...

AB you must NOT live in Denver

Almost always the Sunday traffic is worst returning to Denver then the Friday uphill traffic.

Al thanks again for sharing

Matthew Denniston said...

The real question is, "Why not do both?"

:)

Anonymous said...

It seems like it took a few extra days to get enough snow made on the traverse down to Lenawee. So I was wondering why not open Norway first?

Anonymous said...

I would also guess that the significant amount of wind on the upper mountain would also make snowmaking less productive. Less wind down near the base = less snow blown away?

Anonymous said...

Norway lift, as far as i understand. Is going to be removed as part of the beaver bowl expansion.

Alan Henceroth - COO and Vice President said...

It would be great to open both BMX and Lenawee at the same time. Unfortunately, our snowmaking system does not have the capacity to do both trails at once.