You can’t have one without the other. The snowmakers, the groomers, the mechanics, and every employee in between. This resort runs on teamwork— from owner to boss, managers to departments, crews to individuals— and we know a good day on the slopes credits an overall experience from ticket purchase to apres ski happy hour.
But, let’s be real.
Without quality snow, the day is never good enough. So, within our department of Mountain Ops, we split to five crews to ensure we cover our bases of maintenance to snow shine. Snowmisers are the snowmakers and the groomers, plus the vehicle, lift, and tubing maintenance crews.
Groomers play by moonlight seven days a week, from 10 pm to 8 am, or whenever the last cat comes home. Grooming is earthwork artistry, interpretive and challenging, precise, yet perishable when the sun wakes to shine. Some folks call it sorcery, for our work misunderstood is humored as mountain magic, as the wave of our wands transform snow piles to miles of corduroy.
Our crew consists of seven full-time operators, plus a handful of part-timers who help head-start the snow pile push. The first trick to grooming is to conceive how much snow is available to work with on any given trail. The snow we make is the snow we have, and to open trails as quickly as possible, we have to make it work.
First, we establish the road (the trail outlook), then connect snow pile to pile, establish a trail edge, depth of snow per trail, and work the natural fall lines. Every move requires attention to detail, as we push snow uphill and till tracks downhill, moving slowly, yet efficiently in a pattern of finesse.
Every night, every trail, we’re inspired to create as we move snow from trail edge to center, reshaping the shift of snow splay after a full day of shred on the slopes. We maintain patience and concentration to maneuver around park features, sculpt tubing lanes, and mold mogul bumps.
We take pride in driving our machines, assigned to us by choice for comfort and accountability, while we listen to music, with heat set high and headlights shining. Experience determines who grooms where, though we help each other when needed to finish every trail before first track rides.
Next week, we’ll follow up with more groomer know-how: the snowcats, the misers, the feel of the snow. Right meow, it’s back to the nightly grind.
See you on the slopes,