Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Two Trails Diverged in a wood

If you’ve been following our blog you probably already read about how we tweaked our trail opening process on Defiance this past Saturday. In fact, we heard from a lot of guests about how nice that skiing surface was when we opened it. (Keep the comments coming!)

We took a different approach on Jolly Green Giant – and the result was very different. Guests encountered a much firmer surface.

The difference? On Defiance we made enough snow to cover the trail and let it sit for one full day so that the water could leach out, then groomed it out and opened it. On Jolly Green we made snow, immediately groomed it out and opened it the next day.

As I said, guests loved the opening surface on Defiance. It was essentially what you’d find a day after a nice snowstorm! However, because a hard-packed base had not been developed we found that ruts were forming on the trail by mid-afternoon. On Jolly Green, the immediate grooming and skiing of the snow had packed the base; so while it was not as smooth a ride on opening day, the base of that trail is now ready for a season of skiing and riding (and more snowmaking of course!).

The task at hand is to find a good balance. Here’s the current plan: make snow to cover a trail, groom it out and ski it. This sets the base. Then, take a second pass at snowmaking but this time let it sit overnight to leach (this means closing the trail for one day), then groom and ski it.

So… which trail did you take?

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