This afternoon and into the evening both Scott and Dorse will be operating snowcats and getting the Upper Mountain ready. When I saw them about an hour ago, they were operating the winch cat on Lenawee Face. In areas where we make or groom snow, the snow gets moved around a lot by us with snowcats and by skiers and riders as they turn. A regular snowcat can move snow around flat areas and downhill areas quite well. Because snow is heavy, it is tough to push uphill. We use a winch cat for that. As you can see in this top picture, there is a big winch and cable on the cat that is attached to an uphill anchor. The winch helps pull the cat and the snow uphill. That anchor can be portable like another snowcat or it can be a fixed point. We have many fixed anchors scattered around the mountain.
Tomorrow morning the mountain staff is going to take a good look at tonight's grooming and snowmaking progress. Once we have made adequate snow, there is still 18-24 hours of work removing snowmaking equipment, putting on the final grooming touches, and getting the last stuff (ropes, pads, signs, etc.) ready. The Upper Mountain will not open Thursday. We hope to open it before the weekend. Look for a definitive announcement tomorrow. It looks great up there.