Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Funnies

Okay, so this may be a bit corny, but it's fun when you put a picture of your BFF in the video and let it roll. Hey, it's Friday right? Check it out.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

10 Days: It's a love hate thing

It’s funny how excited I am about next week’s weather forecast and it doesn’t even include a hurricane or a major snowstorm. As an avid surfer and snowboarder, the weather has become a regular friend and foe in my daily life and plays a pretty big role in deciding what I’ll be doing with my time. I always tell myself not to trust any weather forecasts beyond four days, but when the Weather Channel’s magical 10-day forecast is exactly what I want to see, as if I am Father Nature myself, I forget all about the numerous letdowns of past forecasts and put complete faith in it. I don’t recommend the Weather Channel as the most accurate weather source, and I’m not saying it’s bad either, but when it comes to providing fantasy forecasts they’re like J.K. Rowling. In my opinion, the 10 day forecast borders on scientific storytelling, but maybe less and less with new technology. When the call was made yesterday to delay our opening day by one week, I cried and cried like a little baby, and then I tuned to and it was as if someone had given me a giant lollipop and a sang me a lullaby—all was well in my little snowboard-obsessed world.

The thing is, the extended forecast for next week looks so promising, that even if it's wrong it will still be good. Right now we’re looking at high temperatures in the lower 30s next week, which means mountain temps will be in the high 20s during the daytime. All of this results in snowmaking coming out of our ears during the days leading up to our opening day on November 22. Might I add opening day is expected to be sunny and around 30 degrees, as if things could be any better.

Adding to yesterday’s turn of events, we took a little trip out to the work site of our new SoBe bus. It’s coming along nicely and should be ready to go in a few weeks. The wallride portion of the bus will be covered in clear plastic, so you’ll actually be able to see the look on the bus driver’s face while you do things that would normally get you weeks of detention. Alright, there won’t actually be a bus driver inside, but there may be a DJ. Bottom line, there’s a million and one ways to jib this thing, so start planning your attack now. In between sessions of brain shredding the new SoBe bus, I’ll be looking at the extended forecast a few hundred more times. Have I mentioned it's good?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Snowmaking: It’s not only what you’ve got... it’s how and when you use it.

We’re moving toward Opening Day… but it isn't going to be this Saturday, November 15 as we had hoped :(

As always, November openings are weather permitting and the temperature volatility is really tough to bet on this time of year... and the forecast calls for another warm up into this weekend. Rest assured, the snowmaking crews are not letting any opportunities go by... in fact the snow guns began blasting Okemo's 3,343 ft. summit white again today at about 11 AM, and the guns are on outside as I post this entry. The last effort that ended on Sunday, November 2 brought the snow to the top of the steep on Upper World Cup. The focus now is to make on the summit area and to push down World Cup as far as we can go with a goal of top-to-bottom coverage as soon as we can get it.

Okemo will continue to be very aggressive, but as expensive as energy is these days, we won’t be foolish. Our system is designed to make optimal snow at temperatures below 29 degrees F wet bulb. When mountain temperatures are within our design range, Okemo snowmakers can open more acreage faster with our HKD air-water system than other systems can produce... even fan guns. Okemo has the ability in both water capacity (pumping and storage) and air plant to be more competitive than anyone else in the state when temperatures are within our range.

If you’re counting, you know that 96% of Okemo’s trails have snowmaking. This year’s operational focus is on energy-efficient, early-season snowmaking. Last winter, Okemo tested some new energy-efficient HKD guns and the HKD SV-10 and Genesis tower guns were a huge success. So much so that 80 of these new snowmaking guns were added to the Okemo arsenal this
year. Due to the ability to make snow more efficiently at closer-to-freezing
temperatures, Okemo can now make more snow than in previous years using much less energy… a fuel-cost savings of $377,000.

While it looks like it's going to be too warm to make snow from Wednesday onward through this weekend... please stay in touch with for the latest or better yet, read this blog daily.

Keep your fingers crossed and your tips up!

One if by Land, Two if by Sea

It's quite fascinating when late fall rolls around and all of the sudden there's a constant rumbling sound in the background at the resort. It's the sound of snowmaking compressors and pumps, moving water and air up the hill.

The other great part about late fall is all the new ski and snowboard movies come out and the ski sales, swap meets and big shows all take place. I had a chance on Saturday night to see the new Warren Miller movie on Saturday night. And yes, while Okemo and Crested Butte are indeed featured in the movie...what really got me pumped up was all the snow, big air and big fat smiles on the people's faces. Man, winter is the best!

A reminder for all of you from New England. Okemo is coming! Okemo is coming! Okemo will be in Boston from November 20-23 at the Boston Globe Ski and Snowboard Expo. It will be hosted at the Bayside Expo, just off I-93 south of Bean Town. It's near the UMass Boston Campus, on the Red Line. Look for the JFK/UMass stop on the T map. Simply Google the expo name and you'll find all sorts of information about the show.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Snowmaking has resumed

Great news skiers and riders - the Okemo snowmaking team just fired up the guns at the summit! In fact, I can see the cloud of white from my office right now. The season is so close, its palpable!

New Carpet is Ready to Go and so am I !

Hopefully you all got out and enjoyed the wretchedly warm weather this weekend because it won’t last long. It better not, or else we’re all going to need to find new wintertime hobbies. Luckily for us though, we shouldn’t have to resort to picking up knitting or painting with Bob Ross because Okemo has some of the world’s best snowmaking. There’s some wet snow falling today and winter is definitely making a push for us. Tonight, temperatures should be plenty cold for our snowmakers to begin blanketing the top of the mountain so we have plenty of snow for opening day this Saturday. It feels weird to even say that, but it’s true. Just five more days!

The loading carpet at the base of the South Ridge Quad B is all set up and ready to roll. Personally, I think making the chairlift experience more fun and exciting is the next great phase in ski resort evolution. Don’t be surprised if you see flat-screen TVs and heated, messaging recliner seats on chairlifts in the near future. You heard it here first. There’s only so much we can do to make snow, and we’re doing it all. But the possibilities for chair lifts are endless.