Thankful For Opening

Monday, November 19, 2012

I am relieved that we will open on Thanksgiving at 8 am.  But I am also feeling a little uneasy because we had hoped to open with skiing and riding from the summit, with edge to edge coverage.  In the end, things did not go according to plan.

Two weeks ago we made the tough decision to shut down snowmaking operations because a warm front was heading in and indeed it made its debut in VT with temps in the 60’s.  But before the warm front, the forecast improved and there were several good days/nights of snowmaking weather.  Fearing that we would make a bunch of snow only to watch it melt, we did not take advantage of those temps.  For those ski areas that took the risk and made snow, it paid off as there was not significant melt.

Last Tuesday when we fired up the system temperatures looked favorable.  Not ideal but we thought we could put it together in a week.  What we didn’t know at that time was that we would only be able to make snow at night, as each day brought sunshine and our temps rose quickly to the 30’s and 40’s.  In addition, we had an inversion for the last 4 nights, meaning it was colder at the base than the summit.   The largest pile that our fan guns produced was at our lowest elevation, right in front of the Bluebird Express – amazing and disappointing.

This ground hog is not hiding from her shadow. I'm ready for a big ole' snow filled year!!

No one ever said making snow was easy or predictable so I really shouldn’t be surprised by the events of the last 14 days.  Yesterday, we weren’t sure if we should even open.  But we know that many of our guests, especially our passholders, have made Mount Snow part of their Thanksgiving tradition and that is why we decided to open with limited skiing and riding.  I have prepared some FAQs that you will want to read before you decide to ski or ride this weekend.  I am putting it all out there so you can make decisions that best fit your skiing/riding ability and spirit.


Q:           When will Mount Snow open?

A:            Thanksgiving Day at 8 am.  We plan to operate daily from 8 am to 4 pm for the Thanksgiving weekend and then return to our midweek hours of 9 am to 4 pm, as of Monday.

Q:           What trails and lifts will be open?

A:            We will be spinning Lift #2 Nitro Express, #9 Canyon Express and #28 Discovery Shuttle with skiing and riding on Mineshaft and the Gulch over at Carinthia and Canyon and Launch Pad in the Main Base Area.  In addition, you can ski back to the Main Base Area from Carinthia using Lower Long John.

Q:           Will you have freestyle terrain features for opening day?

A:            Absolutely!  Most likely on the Gulch.  Our park staff is figuring out the location – please check back.

Q:           What level skier or snowboarder do I need to be?

A:            Beginners can ski/ride on Launch Pad.  Launch Pad has a nice covering of snow and will be groomed each night.  We recommend advanced skiing and riding on all other open terrain as you will encounter narrow areas (think 2 groomer widths) and bare spots.  We know that snow surfaces will deteriorate as more people use it.   Skiers and riders will have to yield to water bars.  We will groom nightly.

Q:           What are the ticket prices?

A:            $49 for adults, $39 for Youths (6-18) and Seniors (65 and over) and 5 and under always free.  If you want a Launch Pad only lift ticket, it will be $30 for all ages.  We will not offer any Snow Guarantees this weekend.

Q:           Where should I park?

A:            If you are looking for freestyle terrain features, park at Carinthia.  If you are a beginner, park in the Main Base Area.  If you are an advanced skier or rider, you can park in the Main Base Area or Carinthia.  The Moover free shuttle service will run from 8 am to 5 pm daily.  It leaves the Main Base Area on the hour and it leaves Carinthia on the ½ hour.

Q:           Why aren’t you offering any skiing from the summit?

A:            This past week the temperatures for snowmaking were better at lower elevations.  Unfortunately, we could not produce enough snow up top to piece it together.  The good news is that we are close.  A few cold nights and we will be able to add skiing and riding from the summit to our list of open trails.

Q:           Are you still making snow?

A:            Yes, every chance we get!!  For the next 3 nights the temps are rising a few degrees but we will have our snowmakers here tonight, just in case the mercury falls.  It looks like temperatures start dropping Friday and Saturday night looks like it could be fruitful.  On Saturday and Sunday you could be skiing under the guns.

Q:           What other activities are happening at Mount Snow this weekend?

A:            Too many to list here!  Seriously, there is so much going on.  Fireworks, live entertainment at the Snow Barn, Santa, Cupola Grand Opening, entertainment in Cuzzin’s and in the Tap Room Harpoon will be debuting its Mount Snow Bear Trap Belgium Brown, brewed especially for Mount Snow.  Please see the activities schedule for all the details.

I will be adding FAQs to this list as they come to our attention.

The last two weeks have served up many surprises, some disappointments and a few key lessons.  At the end of the day it is important to put it into perspective and remember that we have much to be thankful for.  A huge thank you to our snowmakers, groomers and all of the Mountain Ops staff that helped to get us open.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone - see you on the hill!
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