Happy New Year!
Thursday, December 28, 2017
Written by Win Smith
Happy New Year! We have once again been reminded of the fickleness of Mother Nature. After some remarkable snowmaking temperatures and some really nice natural snow, the Polar Express came roaring in right after Christmas. While cold on Wednesday, the winds were relatively calm and we enjoyed a really fun day of skiing and riding. A light two inches of powder had fallen overnight, and early turns were really creamy. It stayed that way for much of the day. Conditions right now are really excellent and it is hard to believe it is still only December. After cruising around Lincoln Peak for a few hours, I hopped the bus to Mt. Ellen and skied there for the rest of the morning. My favorite run was on Cruiser, where our tower guns were pumping out 60 gallons per minute (GPM) each and forming some nice high whales. The snow was soft and dry, making for some excellent turns.
Wednesday afternoon, we turned off the snow guns on Sunrise and will let the snow sit for a day or two before grooming it out. We have now completed making snow on all Lincoln Peak snowmaking trails and will be focused on building depth on the spring trails and refreshing where necessary to keep conditions in good shape for the season. So far, a total of 136 million gallons have hit the slopes at Lincoln Peak. After shutting the towers on Cruiser early Thursday morning, we will have completed all the trails at Mt. Ellen except for North Ridge Expressway and Brambles (which will be completed shortly). A total of 68 million gallons have traveled through the snowmaking pipes there so far.
While at Mt. Ellen, I rode the new Sunny Quad for the first time. What a nice improvement at the top. It makes the turn into Cracker Jack and Sugar Run so much easier than it had been from the old Sunny-D lift. While riding the lift, I was able to see the 42 features that Trevor and his PARKS team have placed in the park on Riemergasse, and watched a number of skiers and riders enjoying themselves there. I also popped into Walt’s at the Glen House to see Todd, this year’s chef, who has returned to us this winter after summering in China Poot Bay in Alaska. The menu is appetizing and the Sip of Sunshine plentiful.
Unfortunately, Thursday was a much colder and windier day. The day began with -10 Fahrenheit at the base and -20 at the summits. A number of the lifts went on wind hold throughout the morning. Not a lot of guests came out early, but as the day progressed more arrived with appropriate clothing layers to avoid frostbite. I put on my face mask to cover all my facial skin and enjoyed a number of runs before heading in to snow plan. It appears that Friday and Saturday will improve as temperatures rise slightly and the wind dies down, but we could be in for another cold blast Sunday into Monday. After that, it is staying cold but not as bitter so that means our conditions will remain really nice.
There is talk of a late-week storm. It is certainly too early to predict anything. However, I am headed off to Banff and Lake Louise for a meeting of the Mountain Collective resorts. If history holds, it means that my absence will bring in a good snowfall. Fingers crossed.
Lili and I wish everyone a very Happy New Year. Continue to think snow!