Thursday, February 2, 2012

State of the Union.... er, Mountain


So Phil saw his shadow! Good news that means winter will be hanging around for a while. As I was looking at the multiple weather sites that I visit on daily and sometimes hourly basis, it was evident that another major storm was going south of New England and out to sea. We have lost count as to how many of those we have seen do this!! I’ve learned a lot about the blocking of the arctic air and the North Atlantic Oscillation! I have a degree in Resort Management from Lyndon State College and Lyndon has a top notch meteorological school and many students take "Met" classes so I learned a lot of basic from those classes.

As a born, raised and still living in, Ludlowite, I get asked all the time what is the weather going to do, what’s happening to Okemo, etc, etc... I tell people that things could be worse and we are holding our own. We are still making snow and running the snowcats. The entire staff at Okemo, and I mean everyone, have really dug in deep to do more with less and find efficiencies. Some examples:

The snowmakers changed the nozzles on some of the tower snow guns that are running in the Dew Zone for the half pipe. This is a time consuming project, but they did it so more snow could be made when it got cold.

The mountain ops guys also had a couple problems with needing snow through some of the tunnels that our trails go through. Snow trak, Line Drive/ Jackalope, Moonshadow. So they coordinated a bucket loader, found some clean snow in Jackson Gore or Solitude and dumped the snow over the edge of the road and the groomers pushed it into the tunnel. Instantly we have snow in the tunnel. Yankee ingenuity and some thinking outside of the box!!

Work is almost complete on the Half pipe. We sent a flatbed truck over to Mount Sunapee on Tuesday to pick up their Zaugg Half pipe cutter. Sunapee doesn’t have a halfpipe and because we are not building a Super pipe this year, our Zaugg is too large to work on the smaller walls, so we are using Mount Sunapee’s. (They will probably want to charge rent, but we’ll just ignore their phone calls!). The Half pipe will open this weekend. If I had to bet, I think it will be sometime on Saturday, but the "Official" word is Sunday.

Snowmaking will be coming back on for Friday. Resurfacing will be happening as we go into February. A decision has been made to not make snow on any of the trails which have not had snow made on them as of yet. Trails like Big Bang, The Plunge, Punchline and a few others. It is too late in the season to go on to them now. If we get natural snow, we will ski them if ski patrol deems them skiable.

I can’t thank our staff enough for all they have done as well as all of you as our guests who have been sticking with us and supporting Okemo. A big shout out and thanks.

We appreciate you skiing and riding with us this season. If you want to follow what is going on from my desk, follow me on twitter @okemogm

See you on the slopes,

Bruce Schmidt
Okemo GM


Jackie said...

From someone who skis Okemo every weekend, you guys have been doing amazing things with what you have to work with this year. My deepest thanks to all the dedicated snowmakers and groomers! After the typhoon last Friday, I went to the mountain Sunday naturally expecting conditions to be a bit icey and thin and was amazed that the trails in Solitude and Jackson were in top shape! Thanks again for all your hard work.

Okemo1-2 said...


I appreciate you taking the time to write your thoughts. No doubt our staff have made lemonade with lemons we have been given. This will be one of those years we remember in our lifetime and talk about to our grandchildren.

Thanks for supporting Okemo and enjoy the slopes.

Bruce Schmidt
Okemo GM

Joanna said...

Thanks for all the great work everyone has done to create winter in the absence of one! I continue to be amazed at the great conditions and coverage you have produced.

I understand the decision not to make snow on some of the remaining trails -- well actually my legs do not understand not making snow on Big Bang as it is my family's favorite! In the absence of Big Bang and Punchline could we get some more moguls (beyond Upper Limelight) in the Solitude/Jackson Gore area? Please?????

We do appreciate your grooming but we also like a little natural challenge!