The crocuses are starting to bud. A pastel array amid the littered cans and single poles scattered lifeless under chairlift rides. The sun’s warmth brings the unfortunate truth that snow can’t last forever. And, like the left-hand glove fallen and forgotten, so are the snowflakes come spring time.
But let’s get real— Mother Nature is officially off her rocker. It’s cold, it’s hot. Now it’s raining, again. Her mood is increasingly unpredictable, and the impacts are greatly effecting riding time on the slopes. That’s why we make snow at every available opportunity. It’s the reason we can overcome 60 degree days and too many rain showers.
Significant snow pack keeps trails open.
Throughout the season, we continuously build our base depth ranging 18-48″ across the slopes. Snow pack keeps trails open. Additional snow stockpiles help fill bare spots to recover trails. We save what we can, given time and weather conditions, and we continue to groom every trail, every night.
Unfortunately, two weeks of warm and wet weather made us forfeit the glades, Chute, Frontier Alley, and a few tubing lanes. But marginal temps late Sunday night allowed quick automation start up to dust the open slopes. Moving into the weekend, cooler temperatures are expected to settle in. Come Friday morning, we may be riding with our tongues out catching Mother Nature’s fresh flakes.
The temperature tug-of-war is effecting more than the snow face. It’s shaking ground as the freeze thaws and causing water main pipes to burst. We kicked off last weekend repairing a leak on Lower Sidewinder. The leak emerged 300 yards downhill from where it started, visible by water runoff alongside the trail . We towed the back hoe through the snow with a groomer and uncovered the leak after pushing six feet of snow. For a quick fix, Brian patched the pipe by welding. In the summer, we’ll replace sections of pipe and repair connections when the site is more accessible.
Meet, Nicholas Hadley.
Better know as: Nicholas Cage
Work: Full time, night crew Snowmaker, Mountain Ops
Play: Yamaha 540 VK snowmobile
Favorite trail: Burma Road because there is “a lot of good night making snow.”
A word from Papa Miser: “Nick is that guy that you give anything to do and he smiles and does it.”
Nick is a nine year veteran night crew snowmaker born and raised in Kunkeltown. He loves making snow. He notes, “I have done a lot, learned a lot, and enjoy being able to look at the work that I have done over the years.” Plus, Nick says, you can’t beat the view.
Meet, Greg Taylor.
Better known as: Greg
Work: Seasonal, Groomer, Mountain Ops
Favorite trail: Paradise because “it’s just a long cruising trail.”
A word from Papa Miser: “Greg comes back in to push snow in the late afternoons and weekends to give the full time crew days off. He’s a conscientious hard worker and it shows in his work.”
Greg has been working on the clock since age 16, but he’s been following the crew around since age 10. He’s Papa Miser’s youngest kid. Needless to say, he’s been riding along in groomers since before he could walk. Greg is a long time snowmaker and groomer. Now, he works full time at Cooper Electric Supply Co. as a Switchgear Specialist/ Project Manager. In the winter, he grooms and rides. In the summer, he’s on the baseball field.
Yes, we have snow. Yes, the sun is shining. Yes, we are in survival mode, but there is definitely more time to ride.
See you on the slopes,