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  1. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by winjr View Post
    It really depends on whether of our lift mechanics are able to get their snowmobiles in safely. There are multiple roads and all need to be passable. Right snow the snow depth on the upper roads is fine but the lower roads still have water bars that do not allow safe travel. Mechanics have to be able to get in each am to check the towers and to deal with any mechanical issues during the day and we also have to be able to have safe roads in the unlikely event of a lift evacuation. Hope this helps. We want nothing more than to run the lift. It really helps spreading everyone out.
    Thanks Win, makes sense. I will say being at MEllen yesterday with family I found myself sort of happy it wasn't running. Mountain seemed pretty empty but the parking lot had a lot of cars and I heard it was another huge day at LP. Overall congrats on the successful holiday week and the entire valley needed a strong week. A friend said the lines at MRG were pushing an hour for the single chair at the peak of it all.


  2. #17
    First congrats on a busy holiday and I hope you hit the numbers and more. I do have to rant a bit that Monday was set up from the snow report as just another regular weekday and not a holiday. VH lift should have been running and weekend lift hours. Parking lot was full behind CB-1 but make all the families walk. Just set a poor tone for the day with a lot of people still in town. Pretty much everyone had today off.
    Part 2- I hate doing this but the snowmaking is terrible. I do not understand spending 4 days on lower snowball and racer edge. Are the days of resurfacing a trail at sugarbush gone? How about grooming downspout first and getting 12 hours on it during holiday? The next part is the snow quality is awful. Everything that is made now is the production snow slop. Why? Took one night for Steins to become a sheet of ice along with the bottom of L grinder. Don't you want dry snow on the steeps?
    Look, I love sugarbush and am committed long term there but it seemed like here's what you get and deal with it. Half ass snowmaking and trying to claim a holiday as a weekday left a bad taste. I know everyone is working hard and it was a busy week.

  3. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Dblshot View Post
    First congrats on a busy holiday and I hope you hit the numbers and more. I do have to rant a bit that Monday was set up from the snow report as just another regular weekday and not a holiday. VH lift should have been running and weekend lift hours. Parking lot was full behind CB-1 but make all the families walk. Just set a poor tone for the day with a lot of people still in town. Pretty much everyone had today off.
    Part 2- I hate doing this but the snowmaking is terrible. I do not understand spending 4 days on lower snowball and racer edge. Are the days of resurfacing a trail at sugarbush gone? How about grooming downspout first and getting 12 hours on it during holiday? The next part is the snow quality is awful. Everything that is made now is the production snow slop. Why? Took one night for Steins to become a sheet of ice along with the bottom of L grinder. Don't you want dry snow on the steeps?
    Look, I love sugarbush and am committed long term there but it seemed like here's what you get and deal with it. Half ass snowmaking and trying to claim a holiday as a weekday left a bad taste. I know everyone is working hard and it was a busy week.
    Thanks, Dblshot. It was a busy week and not only good for us but all the Valley businesses. Friday was our third busiest ever and almost the same as the second busiest day three years ago.
    Now to respond to your comments. We set the days for Holiday pricing and operations in the early summer when we do our budgets. Historically, the day after New Year's is not a Holiday and very light. Back then we did not realize that the 2nd was going to be a Holiday for most all businesses and schools. In hindsight we might have made that a Holiday and charged Holiday rather than normal rates. When we saw the parking lots filling up, we did call in Mike Murphy from his day off to run the shuttle. Unfortunately some did have to walk from Lot E before he got the shuttle and I am sorry for that inconvenience. Not having Valley House is my opinion was not a big deal. Bravo serves the same terrain and the lines flowed smoothly. There was a short period when the line was about 3 minutes long, but with the calm day Bravo was turned up to full speed and everything flowed well. Hindsight is great so the next time Christmas and the New Year fall on a Sunday, we night do differently.

    Now on to snow making. Turning on and off snow making is not like lights in your house. Gear has to be moved around, the system in different areas needs to be charged and snow makers
    can not be scattered all over the mountain. In makes the most sense to concentrate on areas, finishing them and then move on. Only a certain volume of water can flow through the main pipe from the pond. Temperatures will also determine where we will focus. Lower Snowball is an important intermediate trail and access to Racer's Edge, and this week we have scheduled racing so it was important to get these trails in by the end of the weekend to let them cure and then groom. Another consideration is blowing snow where it has the least impact on the guest experience which is why we did not go to Birdland over the holidays.

    Steins's skied great on Saturday and Sunday but early Monday morning an air valve on Organgrinder burst and the snow makers were dealing with diminishing pressure and we were finally forced to shut down. Temperatures were coming up anyway so the timing was lucky. That is the reason the quality was not the same as the previous two days. The leaks have been fixed and ready to go. With this exception, I believe that our snow making has been excellent this year and anything but half ass.

    Hope this helps. Happy New Year.

  4. #19
    Win- thanks for the response to my rant, the honesty is appreciated. I'm glad you had the 3rd busiest day ever I was at Mt Ellen that day and the fullest I have seen the lots. I understand the challenges of snowmaking with the system and temps. I guess things have changed with the equipment moves instead of hoses at every tower and guns set up on lots of trails. I wanted to provide feedback and maybe less of a rant

  5. #20
    Sorry, had to chime in here....

    Just because a trail is towers doesn't mean its necessarily easy to just turn on. Next time you're on Downspout, look at the towers. Right now, some of them are buried 3' deep and the hydrants just as deep. The way the snow gets pushed around by skiers and groomers makes it this way. In order to turn on Downspout, it would most likely right now require about 3 shifts-worth of digging, at minimum. And that's digging through multiple layers of freezes/thaws, not to mention trenches for hoses to run without kinks. Last year when we were digging out Downspout, skiers were turning and pushing snow right back in the holes as fast as we could dig it out. It's not as simple as turning on a light switch! We were on Stein's and Murphy's on Sunday night and were maintaining what we had, with 3 leaks in the air line all over the mountain. We could have shut down but would have lost production time when temps were favorable. We held on to it for as long as we could, trying to get Stein's done, but were struggling with maintaining air pressure. If we had shut down and done the repairs, we would've lost a 12+ hour window of snowmaking. When I left Monday morning, it was still 20 deg in the base. I'm assuming it warmed up at some point in the morning, and the system was then killed and the repairs made.

    For anyone who would like to come up and give snowmaking a try, I encourage you to apply for next year. You'll quickly see it's not as simple as it may seem. It means long, cold, wet nights (12+ hours) in all kinds of conditions. It means being prepared when things don't always go your way. And it means time away from family and friends during the holidays (including Christmas and New Year's Eve). We make it work because we have a dedicated group. We love what we do. It just doesn't always work out the way we want sometimes. I had 2 nights in the past week where temps just didn't get low enough and rose to "above-average" levels at night. Sure, some trails do light up like a light switch... Slowpoke being one of them. Be sure to thank a snowmaker!

    Here's hoping it snows again soon and puts the snowmaking debate to rest for the season. Happy New Year to all!!!

  6. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by winjr View Post
    Another consideration is blowing snow where it has the least impact on the guest experience which is why we did not go to Birdland over the holidays.
    i agree with Win...just avoid snowmaking during the holidays if possible. that crowd does not like the sh*tshow that snowmaking causes in variable conditions, noise, visibility. Especially with a possible snowstorm coming in the only thing snowmaking could do is make a mess unless the temperatures were really cold. just not worth the risk during the holiday time.

    It sounds like the quality issues mentioned in the original post would make it a risky proposition to make snow during the holidays. i noticed on stowe's snow report they said they were not making snow over the holidys to and i just looked at my saved email snow reports and they used the phrase snow-gun free experience on the slopes. If you dont have to its probably best not to during the busy holiday periods.

  7. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Sugarbushskier9 View Post
    It sounds like the quality issues mentioned in the original post would make it a risky proposition to make snow during the holidays. i noticed on stowe's snow report they said they were not making snow over the holidys to and i just looked at my saved email snow reports and they used the phrase snow-gun free experience on the slopes. If you dont have to its probably best not to during the busy holiday periods.
    We did make snow on Sleeper and Stein's during the holiday period. Both trails weren't open when we started making snow. They opened soon after, though. Lower SB and Racer's are relatively easy to make snow on... they're mostly towers that don't get buried too bad. Murphy's is wide enough so when we were making snow on it, you could have easily kept to skier's right and avoided the guns. Birdland, however, is narrow and right under Bravo liftline, so there's no avoiding the blasting of the guns on that one. Once we do make snow on it, it does tend to go quickly as its a narrow trail and fills in quickly. We could have run on it during the night period, but between lighting up and shutting down, the actual run time wouldn't be that long. It can take anywhere from 1-2 hours to light up a trail (sometimes more, depending on conditions, staffing, etc), and if you factor in run time and shut down time, it would have gotten about 10 hours of runtime on it at a time.

  8. #23

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Fayston VT/Needham MA
    Posts
    26
    Lines were really not that bad at Mt Ellen on Friday. It was just the sheer number of people and cars that were there. I arrived at 8:30, and ended up about halfway down the lot. When we left around 3, the lots were still full, and there were cars parked on the access road at least 400 yards down. Never seen that before, and I have been skiing here for 25+ years. Nice problem to have after last year.
    Last edited by Spartan82; 01-03-2017 at 07:52 PM.

  9. #24
    With the cold temperatures coming latter this week and weekend, any chance of skiing under the guns on Sunrise?

  10. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by nhskier1969 View Post
    With the cold temperatures coming latter this week and weekend, any chance of skiing under the guns on Sunrise?
    I thought Sunrise mostly used ground guns...which aren't that much fun to ski under compared to tower guns. I could be mis-remembering though!

  11. #26
    We will be going back up to Sunrise but probably not next. We will assess at snow plan today where it is best to go next. Got some nice high elevation snow overnight but it was rain and mush lower.

  12. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Sugarbushskier9 View Post
    Taking snow measurements at that elevation seems hard in itself as it does seem logical or possible that wind can transport snow up there like a half mile away. The cam itself may not drift but it's possible some of the snow isn't coming from the sky anyway. When you get off Heavens Gate you stare at a couple hundred feet of higher terrain up to the tower. Sometimes it seems like the west wind fills in that area and even upper Ripcord and Paradise. That'd be my guess as to why there's such a huge difference from top of Bravo to top of Heavens Gate. Heavens Gate top has the benefit of wind loading from the west side like there's a reason a lot of the trees on the ridge and west side don't have any snow on them a lot of the time.

    However it leads to the question of if the snow lands there does it matter where it came from? If the top part of Ripcord is 10" and you can ski it, does it matter if 6" fell from the sky and another 4" blew in from a quarter mile away from the top slopes of the west side? At the end of the day you're still skiing through 10" of snow. But the more I ski off Heavens Gate I'm convinced some of it is blow in from the slight rise higher up the ridge. Sort of like Jay Peak's face chutes and the top stuff off the tram.

    Anyway that may be explaining the huge ranges in snow totals. Yesterday when you overruled the cam was actually one of the more uniform reports I saw of the season with 2-2-1" instead of the 7-2-1" type spreads the cam can give. Kudos for taking the approach that maybe we need to look at this a bit more and monitor its accuracy.
    Good call on adjusting the totals from the snowcam and thank you. It is the best set up in the east, much improved from last year, and these are kinks that get worked out. Rather have it the way it is, than not have it all.

    It is difficult to accurately measure snowfall at that elevation. Drifting will always be an issue, but that being said, there is a difference between wind blown snow, and the stake being in a hole of snow. Just like digging a hole in the sand at the beach, the snow fills in.

    Anyway, Hope to see it soon myself. We really missed the MRV over the holiday. WE did get a surprise 3 foot dump at snowbird, which made up for it, somewhat.

  13. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Dblshot View Post
    Win- thanks for the response to my rant, the honesty is appreciated. I'm glad you had the 3rd busiest day ever I was at Mt Ellen that day and the fullest I have seen the lots. I understand the challenges of snowmaking with the system and temps. I guess things have changed with the equipment moves instead of hoses at every tower and guns set up on lots of trails. I wanted to provide feedback and maybe less of a rant
    Always pleased to get feedback and questions.

  14. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by HowieT2 View Post
    Good call on adjusting the totals from the snowcam and thank you. It is the best set up in the east, much improved from last year, and these are kinks that get worked out. Rather have it the way it is, than not have it all.

    It is difficult to accurately measure snowfall at that elevation. Drifting will always be an issue, but that being said, there is a difference between wind blown snow, and the stake being in a hole of snow. Just like digging a hole in the sand at the beach, the snow fills in.

    Anyway, Hope to see it soon myself. We really missed the MRV over the holiday. WE did get a surprise 3 foot dump at snowbird, which made up for it, somewhat.
    This morning was another interesting one. I watched the snowstake last night and looked at it when I woke up and it was accumulating up to 6" but we checked in the am and I think the wetness and wind actually maed the real snowpack on the upper mountain more like 3" so that is what we reported.

    We dodged a bullet and the mountain skied really well today. My pick of the day was Stein's but there were a lot of other nice runs. This snow is going to pack in very well and set up the entire mountain. Later tonight we will be resuming snowmaking on Upper Snowball Spring Fling and Gondolier. The right side of Spring Fling is thin and we want to get that in well. Will be subsequently going to Birdland and Sunrise and spotting up other spots. Over at ME our next plan will be Cliffs and Cruiser as the rest of the mountain is in good shape and the groomers can manage the condition well now especially with some snow likely over the next few days and nights. We have consolidated snow making crews so we will be alternating now between LP and ME until we have everything in final shape to let Mother Nature take over. We will be back on at ME like over the weekend when temps are really cold. Fortunately, we are way ahead of most past years with the volume of snow made at both mountains.

  15. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by winjr View Post
    This morning was another interesting one. I watched the snowstake last night and looked at it when I woke up and it was accumulating up to 6" but we checked in the am and I think the wetness and wind actually maed the real snowpack on the upper mountain more like 3" so that is what we reported.

    We dodged a bullet and the mountain skied really well today. My pick of the day was Stein's but there were a lot of other nice runs. This snow is going to pack in very well and set up the entire mountain. Later tonight we will be resuming snowmaking on Upper Snowball Spring Fling and Gondolier. The right side of Spring Fling is thin and we want to get that in well. Will be subsequently going to Birdland and Sunrise and spotting up other spots. Over at ME our next plan will be Cliffs and Cruiser as the rest of the mountain is in good shape and the groomers can manage the condition well now especially with some snow likely over the next few days and nights. We have consolidated snow making crews so we will be alternating now between LP and ME until we have everything in final shape to let Mother Nature take over. We will be back on at ME like over the weekend when temps are really cold. Fortunately, we are way ahead of most past years with the volume of snow made at both mountains.
    The accepted method for measuring snowfall for official records is to clear and measure every 6 hours (however not even all nws sites follow) due to the fact that the snow settles. I don't think any ski resort does that. But you could get 6" of snow that settles down to 3" pack. The snowstake is a valuable and fascinating tool, but the data needs to be adjusted in certain circumstances.

    Fwiw-while we were getting what almost 3 feet of snow at the bird, they were blowing snow from a fan gun at one of the base areas.
    Also, crazy what's going down in the sierras. Looks like a lot of snow but also a lot of rain.

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