Friday, October 28, 2016

Halloween Weekend Update


It is Friday October 28th and Okemo woke up to around 9 inches of new snow on the summit, about 6” at mid-mountain and 2-3” in the base area. The ground is white and looking like winter! This will bode well as we look to begin snowmaking early next week. While the weather is looking a little mild, we are hoping for some colder nights which might allow us to at least test the system.

There have been some questions as to why we did not make snow last week when it was colder. Killington has been aggressive in their snowmaking and opened for skiing this week. While we applaud and congratulate Killington, we have to keep in mind that Okemo has unique weather challenges, especially in the fall.  Killington has a higher elevation than Okemo and it does get colder earlier. When making a decision to “push the button”, I look at a lot of factors and discuss things with our team. We want to be smart and aggressive.  Early season if there is no long-term cold in place (temperatures in the 20s at night and maybe 30 - 40 during the day) the snow does not set and thus there is more loss. The best way to make the decision is to look at different weather models and rely on experience. Okemo is shooting for early November; even if we had made snow last week and received this snow, we would not have been able to get open for skiing and riding next week.  Again, smartly aggressive!

To keep you up to speed on some of the things we do around the resort, I want to talk about grooming. Okemo purchased a 2016 Prinoth Bison X Terrain Park Groomer. It will be great to have this versatile machine in our fleet for both grooming on mountain and in the terrain parks. This new machine is our first of many machines that will be the new “energy-efficient” model. The NEW BISON boasts a 406 HP motor, yet also offers low fuel consumption and a 90% reduction in nitrogen oxide and particulate emissions in-line with the “Stage IV/Tier 4 final” exhaust emission standard set by the federal government. Okemo is excited to be able to have this new machine and be helping the environment also.

All in all, things are coming together for the winter.  Paper products, propane and other storable items have been delivered to the Summit and Sugar House.  It is always good to get those items in around the last couple weeks of October.  Then there are no issues when snow is made on Buckhorn and the road is closed.  Oh, and by the way, the Mountain Road is closed for the winter. Sorry, but we aren’t going to be plowing the road until Spring!!

Get ready for skiing and riding, the time is near!!

Bruce Schmidt
Okemo GM

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