Full Steam Ahead!
Author: Oliver Shannon
Category: In The News
Well, as you probably all know, this winter has been an interesting one to say the least. Since January 1st of 2023 we have seen temperatures range from 48 degrees (Jan. 1) to 9 degrees (Jan. 11th). December was pretty much the same thing where we saw 47 degrees on the 7th and –6 degrees on Christmas Eve. These are classic characteristics of what has so far been a textbook La Niña winter. For those who aren’t weather Geeks (like our GM Bill Cairns), La Niña refers to the periodic cooling every 3-5 years of the ocean surface temperature way out in the Central Pacific Ocean. What this cooling typically causes is a higher arched Jet stream that tracks high off the Northwest and then dips down into the central United States before tracking back upwards towards New England. This is caused by a few blocking High-Pressure systems that force the opposing Low-Pressure systems to bring heavy moisture from the Northwest and slam the Rockies and then bring warmer air from the South once they track to our area followed by cold arctic air. If you’ve been tracking our weather patterns, it’s been pretty close to that exact formula. We see storms come through every 3-5 days and depending on how East/West they are, bring 30 degrees and snow or 40 degrees and rain. However, on the back end of these storms has been a consistent cold. It’s this cold air that has allowed us to capitalize and maximize our efforts to produce the best possible surface for you all to enjoy. Let’s review our winter so far.
Snowmaking began on November 7th and is still occurring (writing this as of Feb. 1st). As a member of our Snowmaking Team, I can attest it has been a roller coaster. There have been a few 60+ hour weeks (5-6 12 hour shifts) and then periods of almost a week off. Our team so far has pumped almost 82 million gallons of water onto the hill and logged about 1,000 hours of time with the system up and running. To put this into perspective, in a typical season, we pump 70-80 million gallons on the hill and log about 800 hours of system run time. We have already pumped more water onto the hill than in a typical season and we still must start (and finish) Havoc along with resurfacing the rest of the mountain. Another testament to how roller-coastery our season has been is our timing. We usually make snow on Havoc the first week in January and have it done by MLK weekend. However, we have had to resurface and focus our efforts on producing a solid product on trails that are already open (due to significant episodes of meltage).
So what’s the plan then? The plan is to fire up Havoc tonight (Jan. 30th) and with these extremely cold temperatures forecasted for the week, slam it and get’er done. We will also be finishing up Little Dipper and Stargazer. Once we’ve completed those last few trails (and finally finished one full cycle around the Mountain) we will return to the other trails and slam them so that our season can extend comfortably into March (and hopefully April). We look forward to continuing to offer you a high-quality product and doing what we love!