Thursday, January 20, 2011

What a ski operator lives for

This season has been playing out to be one of our better ones in terms of number of snow storms, amount of snowfall, and overall winter weather. At the risk of sounding greedy, here are a few things I live for:

  • Ideal snowmaking temperatures between 0 – 15 degrees. Above 15 is OK, but not as efficient. Below 0, while we do make snow, there is a much higher alert for frozen pipes, staff frostbite and overall problems.

  • Snowstorms on Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursdays. Other days can affect travel for guests, perception of travel problems and clean up issues. We like to clean up midweek when it is not as busy.

  • Snowstorms in Southern New England. SIMB...(Snow in my backyard) is great. It gets people thinking about skiing. And, they know Okemo will have great skiing. It also helps when the Weather Channel plays up every storm like it is the "storm of the year". We like when snow is on everyone’s mind!

  • Dry Powder Snow. Snow that is sticky can be tricky. Snow with a crust can be trickier. Trails that can be groomed aren’t the issue, trails that are gladed can’t be groomed and therein lies a problem. Sometimes it is a waiting game, other times we send in staff to break up the snow, sometimes we try to sneak a groomer on some of the trail. (Note to self: The Narrows is named that because it is narrow... too narrow for a groomer. And believe me we have tried!)

  • Sunny skies on Weekends. Self explanatory.

The most recent storm was an example of nice dry snow with a thin mix of sleet at the end. Thus, we got some crust. It has really affected the glades and moguls. The Mountain Operations staff had to "run over" the moguls so they became "beginner" moguls. The plan is to re-seed and make snow on Black Out and Sel’s Choice before the weekend so we can get them back up to snuff.

So while I'd prefer my perfect world as outlined above, there are also realities about what happens in a Mountain environment. The best thing we can do is try to communicate what we know at the time to our guests and work our hardest to try and provide the best skiing and riding possible.

In other news - the Bigloo is being built today in the courtyard at Jackson Gore. Check it out on the live web cam.

It looks like an amazing day today, hope you can get out skiing. It is Day 59 of operations. How many times have you been on the slopes???

Bruce Schmidt


Okemo Mountain Resort said...

Read more about how the glades at Okemo were affected this week from "Diary of a Ski Patrolman" - a blog of Yankee magazine written by Okemo patroller Josh Allen.


Jonathan said...

Seriously, Jackson Gore is a skating rink, can you provide skates?

Okemo Mountain Resort said...

Hi Jonathan. No doubt the last 4-5days have been challenging weather-wise with two spring-like days followed by a deep freeze complete with wind. We are doing our very best to recover and hope that with each day you see conditions improve exponentially.