Despite my spaghetti legs, I really hope March is a continuation of this “most excellent” winter. Big snowstorms, sunny skies and a few days above 10 degrees would be perfection!
Our marketing dudes have been bragging about February snowfall for weeks now. Alaina, our snow reporter, came up with the following to support my theory on February ski days – thanks for letting me rip off your fantastic info graphic – I owe you lunch!
I don’t have graphic design skills like Alaina but here’s some stats to get you excited about March.
-97 inches of snow fell in March of 2001, the most we have ever recorded.
-The 10 year average for March is 33 inches of snow, 4 inches behind the month of February.
-Last year, we saw 43 inches of snow fall in March, not bad!
I have high hopes for March of 2014 and plan to get after it. Because the way I look at it, I have to ski as much as possible so I can make it through the long summer stretch, somewhat content.
The smallest things can make my day, like walking over to Carinthia in “snow globe” weather and finding my son and two of his ski buds taking a break in the lodge. Something about ski friends – those friendships last forever. As I looked at the young men I couldn’t help but picture them as little twin-tippers tearing around the mountain, pre-Carinthia Parks. Now they are off to college but I am positive they will stay ski-buds for years and years to come.
I stopped at Sundance to do my walk-through and noticed a pair of hand warmers perched on top of the garbage can. I grabbed them, YUP, still warm. You would be surprised at the amount of people who leave their hand warmers instead of throwing them away. My theory is that since they are still warm and have hours of use, “good dubie skiers” leave them, hoping someone will adopt them. These are the same people who search out a recycle bin and think twice before ripping 3 sheets off the paper towel roll. Hand-me-down hand warmers is a noble thought but let’s face it, in this world of wet wipes, hand sanitizer and elbow sneezes, no one is going to pop USED hand warmers into their gloves. I too hate to waste hand warmers so I tuck them under my sweater, onto my shoulders, and get a little neck/shoulder massage! I warned you it is the little things with me.
I met Jim, Chip and Tom at 1 pm to take some runs. With the snow falling all day the strategy was to go out in the afternoon and find some powder. We started on Cascade to High Traverse to One More Time. Tom and I bailed out onto Snowdance and hit skiers right, hugging the tree line – FANTASTIC.
Our second ride up the Bluebird was with snowboarders, Mike and Jamie and Ambassador Ken. We had a great ride up – chatting the whole way. Mike is from Long Island and bought a second home up here – a “real” ski house that he and his friends went in on. Jamie is a teacher and talked shop (marketing) with our marketing director, Jim. They had read my blog before (that always makes me happy) so we snapped a shot so they could be featured in my next blog.
By now Chip was starving so he headed into the Bull Wheel and we grabbed another run on Chute. Mike and Jamie blew by us – good snowboarders! I took skiers left and it was even better than Snowdance…if it can get better. I expected powder on ice in a few spots and not a speck – just carveable snow, through and through.
We joined Chip at the Bull Wheel and since we couldn’t just sit there and let him eat alone, ordered a little something, too. Remember, second lunch is acceptable when you are skiing because you are burning off the calories.
With a full belly we decided to get back to the office. We skied Shoot Out because it was groomed last night. It really felt like 5″ of new snow. We took a bunch of cut-throughs and zig-zagged our way back to the base where we agreed to squeeze in one more run.
Our final route was Upper Exhibition (skiers right) to Tramline, to Ego (skiers left), popped back onto Exhibition and then took that short, uphill, skinny trail that leads to the top of Charlies Chase – what is that trail called? I call it Sap Tapper. We really should name it this summer. We got to the bottom and were thinking about one more but it was 3:30 pm and my dad always told me to quit early. True story. My dad always told me that most people get injured at the end of the day when they are tired out. He lectured me every time he would drop me off in front of Pat’s Peak . ”Kelly, instead of saying one more run you should say that’s enough.” Back then I didn’t listen to him much but now I find myself passing on his wisdom to my own children (lucky them.)
So that is about 250 words more than I am supposed to use on a blog. But it really was a day I wanted to share with you. I hope you come visit soon and get some of this “mountain feel good” for yourself!
p.s. 1-3″ of snow in the forecast for tomorrow, too!
Once again – our kids impress me! Thank you for having spirit and thanks to your parents for their help and transport of your Crazy Helmet creations.
It looks like there is more snow on the way Thursday so we should be setting up nicely for our our Valentine’s Day promo. Two tickets for $49! You have to book online by Feb 12 or you will be stuck with that red, heart shaped box of chocolates. And between you and me, the last thing we need right now is a box of chocolate. Nab your tickets right here and thank me later!
And you can renew your vows at our Cloud Nine Nuptials. Romance is always a winner.
Even though Mother Nature has blessed us with 18″ of natural this past week, we are still making some snow. The plan is to fire up tomorrow and hit Plummet, the summit, Sun Spot, Upper Long John, the bottom of Inferno, Nitro and a few other little spots. We have looked at our snow depths and are comfortable that we have good depths for Spring skiing on our bread and butter trails. There is a chance that after this week of snowmaking we will be done for the season. How does this snowmaking year stack up to others? We made a LOT of snow. More than the last five years. Note: The beginning of our snowmaking season was met with a few rain events – UGH!
I am pretty excited for President’s Week because we have some nice events and activities going on during our Family Fun Winter Fest. When our mountain is full of families, I am happiest. Kind of reminds me of when our kids were young and we had more time to ski as a family. Family time is so important. Something about being on a mountain makes that time together even better. Maybe it is the fresh air or the lack of screens. I think the chairlift rides have a lot to do with it too. All smushed together for several minutes….good things are bound to happen!
2.13.14 Update: It has been snowing since about 5 am. It is coming down strong now – about an inch an hour. The skiing is great and I can’t even imagine what tomorrow will bring!
I will leave you with our most recent THE LIFT, e-newsletter, where Dave Meeker sums up the hopeful month of February.
Let’s do a little historical snowfall lesson as we look forward to welcoming in the month of February, shall we? On average, February is our snowiest month of the year. A stat that is pretty cool because, as you know, it is also the shortest month on the calendar with only 28 days. Over the last five years we’ve averaged 42 inches of snow in February, and that is taking into account the dismal total of 12 inches that fell in 2012. Last season, our total accumulation through January was 65 inches. This season, our total snow accumulation thus far comes in at 87 inches. Why do I bring that up? Because last season was freaking awesome. We wound up with 177 inches of natural snow by the time we closed on April 21. That means from February on we got another 112 inches of the goods…and we had almost two feet less natural snow as we’ve gotten so far this season. I’ll never claim to be a weather expert nor a mathematician, but these numbers all add up to one thing: The best is yet to come.
And if you don’t believe that, believe in the groundhog, who saw her shadow on Sunday and says 6 more weeks of winter! Happy Snow Day!
Wednesday snowstorm update: 10 am and I just came in from the hill. Natural trails are popping open. I skied Uncles, Ridge (first tracks – pinch me), Timbers, Thanks Walt, Beartrap and Long John. We reported 4″ at 7 am but I have to tell you it feels like 6-8 up top. I did not snap photos because the entire marketing team kept passing me, hooting and hollering. They will have all the evidence you need to make the decision to point your car towards Mount Snow. I believe in groundhogs (please sing that to the tune of “I believe in miracles.” )]]>
For the weekend, we will have the Super Pipe open!!! Even if you don’t ski or ride the pipe, take a run over at Carinthia to check it out. Quite impressive!!
Currently we are making snow on Ripcord and Committed and hope that they will open sometime this weekend. A little too early to tell but updates will be available in the snow report. We are also freshening up other spots on the mountain. That leaves Plummet – our last snowmaking trail to tackle. Over at Carinthia Parks we will continue to build depths in Inferno (stay tuned for our XL park) and above Junkyard (time to build The Farm.)
My compliments go our to our grooming department who have been working the hill beautifully. They have been spending extra time on a bunch of trails to get them ready for you. I will post some pictures after my runs today. That is if my cell phone cooperates. Yesterday I had it in an outer pocket and it froze up on my first run – ugh!
Finally, a little Valley gossip. Everyone is talking about the extremely talented athletes who will be heading to Russia. Kelly, Devin, Nick and Eliza all have ties to our town and resort and we are thrilled and honored. I don’t know about you but I have a serious case of Olympic Fever.
Finally, if you are thinking about staying home tomorrow because it is “too cold to ski,” shame on you! Saturday, the forecast is for 14-18 degrees at the summit and 22-26 degrees in the base area. After the temps you have witnessed this week, Saturday will be downright balmy. You are a skier, a snowboarder, a winter enthusiast! Don’t let a weather forecast get in the way of your opportunity to get out and feel completely alive and in touch with some of the most important things in life – your friends, family and your environment! That is my plug – the rest is up to you. p.s. are you still doing those snow dances? I am!
Great day on the hill. My phone held up but honestly I wimped out and kept it in my pocket. But I did snap a photo of my ski buds, Bernie and PJ. PJ works in our sales office and Bernie produces shows like the infamous Boston Ski Show. He is a ski industry encyclopedia and loves ski history. He has also skied at over 200 ski resorts. This guy is hearty and never lets a little cold weather get in the way of a good day on the hill.
Saturday 1/25 update: Great product this morning! They are taking down the snowmaking on Committed and Ripcord and they are open for your pleasure. My favorite trail of the day was Fallen Timbers. Best I have seen it all year…if you like groomed.
So as we welcome thousands of skiers and riders to our slopes for Martin Luther King Jr weekend, I am grateful that I was raised in a time when so many barriers have been knocked down and strides towards equality have been plentiful. It saddens me that so many have been less fortunate and many more will struggle through the ignorance of discrimination. I contribute much of my success to the attitude of skiers who tend to be more progressive, optimistic and generally “in-touch” creatures. I am sure my road would have been a bit more bumpy had I chosen another career path. Let’s just say that the sport of skiing has many hidden benefits.
The Mount Snow snowmaking crew started flipping on the fan guns at 2 pm on Sunday and just finished shutting down. About 19 hours and here are the trails that received the fan gun treatment: Snowdance, Cascade, Canyon, Exhibition, Beaver, Cooper’s Junction, Long John, Ridge, Mine Shaft and Nitro. Our snowmakers made the decision to just resurface with the fan guns, given the short window.
Why the fan guns? Almost all of our 200+ fleet of fan guns are tower mounted so the snowmakers do not have to waste precious time pulling land guns out of the woods and setting up the hills (this process can take an entire day depending on the terrain.) The fan guns perform the best in marginal temps so even this morning as the mercury rose, the fan guns were still putting out a good product that our skiers and riders can jump right on without that sticky stop and go sensation.
And one more brag. We may be the most Southern ski area in Vermont but over the last 24 hours our snowmakers proved that with the correct technology and a whole lot of ambition, Mount Snow is a leader and innovator when it comes to snowmaking. Many ski areas did not even make snow last night – not surprising given the forecast. Thankfully, making turns on the creamy and dreamy today will be a lot of fun, thanks to our snowmakers!
See you on the hill – photos to come later.
12:30 pm update. In off the hill and I will admit the snowmaking had its moments of creamy and dreamy mixed with stop and go. At the end of my runs everything was getting skied in and there was less stop and go. By tomorrow, with a good groom overnight, it should be very nice.
And I was pleasantly surprised that the trails that we did not make snow on were nice too – corn. I was worried about Thanks Walt and even though it lost some width, the groom on that trail was done well and it was probably my favorite run of the day.
Having the right tools to bounce back is very important and we have been taking out all the secret weapons to help us get the hill back into shape. Of course, there is snowmaking and our team has been at it 24/7 since the temps dropped on Monday. Thanks to them you will be skiing and riding South Bowl this weekend – that is a big, 22 acre trail that they have added, while they resurfed a bunch of trails like Long John, Cascade, Canyon, Freefall, Cooper’s Junction, Super Pipe, Mine Shaft and Season’s Pass.
Our grooming dept has a bag of tricks, too. On Monday, before the temp dropped they cat tracked (tiller up) as much terrain as possible and then waited for it to set up with the dropping temps. Then they went back over it with the tiller down. Doing this gives the tiller something to grab on, something like raising the nap on a carpet. More simply put, we double groomed many of our trails and closed trails that were not groomed.
We also have 2 renovators that we can attach to our grooming machines when the surface is hard and needs to be chunked up before the tiller hits it.
As you will see in the video, the renovator and its aggressive teeth can dig down into the snow surface about 6″ and break up hard pack, making it easy to till up and recreate POWDER.
I didn’t have much time to ski today but decided to put the renovators to the test. I went out at 12:15 pm and took my first run on Exhibition to Lodge. These trails have NOT been renovated and we have not made snow on them since the rain on Monday. The upper section all the way to Lodge pitch uses air/water gun snowmaking technology and from the pitch down to the base we have fan gun snowmaking. The difference from air/water snowmaking to fan gun snow is obvious if you are paying attention. I would describe the snow as fall away corn (but not the spring wet corn) over firm, some ice. When I got down to the fan gun area it was more fall away corn but over hard pack – more of a Styrofoam consistency. Yes, there were icy areas, mostly on the steep sections. I would give my first run a 7.5 rating. It was actually a lot of fun because the skiing was very fast and I was loving a pair of skis that I had just signed out from the Demo Center – thanks Alan!!!
Next I decided to try Cascade to Snowdance. Cascade/Canyon was renovated last night and Snowdance the day before. We also made snow on Cascade/Canyon since the Monday rain. We made snow on Snowdance last week, before the rain. Cascade was sweet – I am not sure if it was a combo of the new snow or the renovator. A better snow surface than Ex/Lodge but in the shade so not as enjoyable from a visibility standpoint. Snowdance had a different feeling snow surface and I was pretty sure it was the result of the renovator. Like I described on Ex/Lodge, it was fall away corn but on Snowdance, the corn was the size of real corn. It did not make for a chattery surface. It was easy to turn through and a lot of fun. The renovator certainly renovated but it did not create powder. Maybe it needs one more session with the renovator. Whatever the renovator did, I liked it and I am naming Snowdance my favorite of the day at an 8.5.
I checked in with Dave Moulton (our director of mountain ops) and he was out conducting his own test. He skied Ridge (not renovated) and gave it the thumbs down. Then he skied some renovated trails and said they were a big improvement. I bet I know which trail is getting renovated tonight!
Once again, I return from the hill amazed at what our snowmakers and grooming dept has been able to do in 3 short days. Hang in there guys. A little birdie told me this weather pattern is shifting and more winter-like, consistent temps are headed in next week.