Friday, November 26, 2010

A message from our GM

The 2010 ski season is beginning with a bang... 4th day of operation and the Mountain Op’s guys had to bang off ice to get the Northstar lift running. As we all woke up this morning to the freezing rain, the thought was "what is the mountain going to be like"? The good news was that the freezing rain had not set real hard on the summit and thus, the banging of the sheaves and grips, while needed, wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

Saturday we plan to add Defiance, the upper half of Sapphire, Upper Arrow and Double Dipper along with the Glades Peak and the Green Ridge Triple. Check out Defiance and let us know how it was on Saturday. We let the trail sit another day after snowmaking to hopefully improve the skiing and riding. By letting more water leach out, we feel the snow will lay out better. Kind of like the theory of rush to eat at Thanksgiving and get too full, or take your time to savour the meal and the experience... something like that! Oh and by the way, once we open up Sapphire, the rails will be moved over to that trail from World Cup.

While each season has it’s quirks, this one is proving to be an interesting one. When the snowmakers can’t make snow, they go and work on the Timber Ripper. When the groomers, electricians and lift mechanics have a free moment, they go and work on the Timber Ripper. When Barry and Eb have got the mountain open for the day, they go and work on the Timber Ripper. You get the idea.

Without their dedication and extra effort we wouldn’t be riding the Timber Ripper as soon as we are. We hope to have a better feel for the opening of the Timber Ripper within the next 10 days or so. I’m telling everyone right now that it will be before Christmas.

In the meantime, let us know how we are doing and thanks for skiing and riding with us.

Bruce Schmidt
General Manager, Okemo

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

200 Snow Guns - wow!

From Barry, VP of Okemo Mountain Operations:

Our core philosophy of always being ready paid off last Saturday night. The temps that were predicted were nothing great, however they did drop considerably more throughout the night. We were able to light approximately 200 snow guns and reached a maximum pumping rate of 8,000 GPM. The majority of the snow that we opened with yesterday was made in a 12 hour period!

Ray Kennedy (Snowmaking Manager) and his crew never missed a minute of opportunity.

We had snowmaking temps on the upper 25% of the mountain starting around 2 AM this morning. They are predicted to hold during the day with a potential inversion throughout the evening. If that happens we are going to push very hard to reach the base area tonight. In fact, Ray and his men are reconfiguring the snow gun placements to take maximum advantage of the brief time frame that we are going to be working with.

It all comes down to using the proper snow gun for the temps and time frame that we are dealing with in this "early season game".

On the grooming side of the house...

On the fly grooming has been the status quo for our first few days. On opening day we regroomed due to "shrinkage" during the night. Some of the warm weather had left pock marks and we felt another grooming would improve things dramatically. This morning we again chose to regroom just before opening, but this time for the opposite reason. Temperatures had dropped considerably and we didn't want the surface too firm. At this point, we'll see what tomorrow brings!