Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Ahhhh, spring skiing. Every year, we suffer through the -40 degree days, the 50+ mph wind gusts and icy roads just to get to this time of the season. 50's and bluebird skies always help us send off the season right. It means shorts & tee shirts. It means no-glove runs and sunglasses for days. And above all, itt means costumes. Awesome, weird, flashy costumes.
The other day in our Silly Spring Slalom, we saw a butterfly, squid, moose, Marvin Martian, Fred Flinstone, Wonder Woman, a few minions and the title-mentioned Spiderman. When I was riding yesterday, things got even better. Orange and yellow hair wigs, full body 80's spandex, oversized sunglasses, bright pink snow pants and more. You can't help but let out some laughs watching this wave of wackiness slowly take over the mountain.
Spring skiing is about having a great time on the slopes in every way possible. Sure, the snow is great, but it's those people sliding around on it that make it memorable. We're in the home stretch of the season now (closing April 6), so throw on a wacky wig, bring a cool costume or just dress down this week. It's time for spring skiing! What will you be sporting?
As for me - well, you'll just have to wait and see.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
We all love pond skimming, it's a fact. Sadly, we're not able to do it this season due to a lack of water in our snowmaking ponds and a frozen Joiner Brook. "Why does that matter?" you might ask. If you remember January's epic thaw (seems like more than two months ago, right?) we had to really tax the snowmaking system to resurface all our terrain to keep pumping out the best product for skiing and riding. Once that was complete, ponds were low, and it really hasn't been over 30 degrees since then, so we're pretty much at the same level. We need water to fill the skimming pond, and if we can't draw anything from the brook, we can't fill said pond. Therefore, no pond skim.
Fortunately, our staff has put together a neat idea that's a little different, and that's the Silly Spring Slalom, happening on Saturday, March 29 at 1pm. Don't fear change, because this is going to be fun.
For starters, it's a downhill race (hence the "slalom") but with a twist. You'll start at the top of Butterscotch and head down the hill where there will be gates, banked turns and a few surprise challenges for each person to complete before you can move on to the next section. Judges will camp out on each section to grade your performance.
Speed will count, but it won't be the only factor. You'll also be judged on whether or not you complete the course (finish all challenges, don't skip any sections, etc.), costume creativity, attitude and overall impression left on the judges. So, by all means, go all out for this. This year's theme is cartoon characters. Any cartoon/animated character will count, so have some fun with it but keep it PG, kids. Overall winner gets a 2014-15 Season Pass! Entrance fee is just $5.
Saturday, March 22, 2014
If you haven't checked in since last weekend, let me bring you up to speed. This week has brought us more than a foot of new snow, and we had some wind issues in the last two days. That sounds bad, but what it really means is that the entire upper-mountain hasn't been skied much at all this week... You picking up what I'm putting down? There should be some awesome powder up there, so go find it!
I took a few laps on Mid Mountain and Snowflake yesterday, and snapped the above picture to illustrate how much snow was on an open and ski-able trail. That's Butterscotch at 12:30, with over-the-ankles snow. Imagine what Vista Glades, Preacher and Wilderness Liftline look like...
It's Vermont Peanut Butter Day! Save $20 on your lift ticket when you bring in a new jar and donate it. No bringing in a half-eaten, jelly-mixed jar with breadcrumbs inside it. Peanut Butter and skiing - sounds like a healthy combination! And who doesn't love saving some dough?
How's the snow?
C'mon guys... Four-and-a-half feet since March 1 and you're still wondering how the snow is up here? Don't ask questions to which you already know the answers! Seriously. It's out of this world. Best skiing & riding of the season.
Trails of the weekend, alphabetized for your convenience: Bolton Outlaw, Hard Luck, Schuss, Showtime, Spellbinder & Vermont 200
See, this is the interesting stuff. Yesterday, winds were worse than forecasted and we didn't get Vista spinning until around 6pm. This morning, the report actually looks worse, but in reality, the winds haven't come through yet and it's a little warmer than anticipated. Can't make this stuff up, folks. Welcome to skiing & riding in Vermont.
Keep an eye on the snow report for the livest (yep - made that word up) updates if anything does go down, but other than wind, it should be a really nice March day up here on the mountain. We're expecting the mercury to tease us with temps around 32 degrees, and there's snow coming in throughout the day. We could see anywhere from 3-6" by this evening, and when you couple that with the 5-7" in the last 48 hours that nobody has skied yet, it could be a surprise pow day up here!
Tomorrow it's going to get cold again, but that's nothing we're not used to after this Winter. Partly cloudy skies and temps in the low 20's.
Grooming & Parks
Grooming is a tough job, and our crew has been a little short-staffed recently, but the product on the hill remains as good as ever. That deserves recognition. Piloting a huge machine all night and leaving perfect corduroy behind isn't easy, so when you're cruising down Cobrass or Sherman's today, take a second to appreciate the guys who made it happen. They hit 49 trails last night, which is almost everything we have, so you'll be hard-pressed to find a turn you don't like out there.
As far as the parks go, both are open with around 20 features. Remember, the Jungle Jib is our beginner park while the Grom Park is meant for more advanced skiers and riders. Please observe Smart Style guidelines and don't camp out on or underneath landings for the features.
What's Going On?!?
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Llllllllllllleeeeeeeeet's get ready to POND SKIMMMMMMMM!!!
It's nearly Spring (supposedly). It's been a long cold Winter. You're tired. You're sick of snow (maybe?). You just want to have a little fun in the sun, and maybe dress a bit wacky whilst doing so. What do you do?
The answer is, you join in our annual pond skimming contest, tentatively set for Saturday, March 29, weather permitting. That's 10 days from now. Yeah. It just got real. And you gotta come up with a BA costume to wear while you do it! That's half the fun. This year's theme is cartoon characters. Any cartoon you want, just keep it PG, kids. Entrance fee is $5 and the winner gets a FREE 2014-15 Season Pass!
Never been to a pond skim? It's exactly what it sounds like. Just like skipping rocks down at your local pond or lake. Except that the lake is a man-made four-foot deep puddle wrapped in plastic on the side of a mountain, the rocks are people on skis & snowboards, and you don't get to throw them. So, it's really nothing like skipping rocks. Except for the fact that both the rocks and the people skim across the water. So, it's kind of like skipping rocks. I'm done now, I swear.
Anywho, it's tons of fun and the goal is to get from one side of the pond to the other without wiping out fantastically. Although, that's kind of what we root for... Feel free to come watch if you're not skimming, just be prepared to get a little wet!
Saturday, March 15, 2014
I've just been informed that yesterday was Pi Day, named for the date (3/14 -- 3.14 -- get it?). You celebrate this mathematical holiday by sharing a pie of your choice with some friends or family. Or eating one yourself. So, I should have been stuffing my face full of glorious apple, blueberry, cherry and any other kind of delicious baked fruity treat on the market all day. You see, I love pie, and any obscure occasion where it's publicly acceptable to consume an exorbitant amount of it, is okay by me. I say publicly because what's to say I don't already do this on the regular? Go ahead, judge me. You'll never know.
So, what does this have to do with skiing and riding? Glad you asked. Not a thing. I just really like talking about pie. And now I'm a little hungry...
Sadly, I couldn't eat any pie because I was a little busy getting swallowed up by Vulcan's gift of powder. Two feet of it, to be exact. Floating, dipping, flying through it - we were doing it all up here yesterday, and likely will be all weekend. Trust me, there's plenty of snow to go around. And, with that, let's get into the nitty gritty of your weekend update.
How's the snow?
Really??? We just got 34" in the last week! If you have to ask...
Trails of the weekend, alphabetized for your convenience: Adam's Solitude, Bolton Outlaw, Old Turnpike, Preacher, Vermont 200 & Vista Glades
Ah, now here's a question worth asking, and an answer worth talking about.
Yesterday, it was quite pleasant outside. We expected wind, got none, and even saw some intermittent sunshine. Temps were in the 20's and everyone was happy. Today, we're raising the mercury about 10 more degrees and locking the sun away for sure. Because we can't just hand you a perfect weekend. At least not until Sunday.
Sunday, oh Sunday. If you're lucky, we'll give you back partly sunny skies, but only if you dress for January temperatures again. Yep, expect it to hover in the single digits, but I do think it will stay above zero before wind chill. Speaking of wind, we're reeeaaalllyyyyy hoping it stays out of our way this weekend. Nobody likes you, wind. Just go away.
Grooming & Parks
After a powder day, creating a grooming plan becomes much more strategic. You can't just pack it all down, because then you're wasting a perfectly good waist-deep paradise, but you can't leave it all untouched either. When you do that, it's easily affected by winds and skier traffic, and it's wicked easy to get stuck. Not to mention, some people don't like skiing deep powder. Therefore, our award-winning pilots are generally trying to pack down all the trail runouts, flat areas and wind-threatened portions of the slopes, while still leaving great stashes around. What you end up with is half-groomed and half-powpow on most of the trails, and a handful have bumps as well. It sets us up well for spring skiing, gives everyone an easier way down and still gives powderhounds their day in the whiteroom.
Parks! If you love parks, you're going to LOVE this weekend. Anthony and the crew worked overtime yesterday and completely rebuilt BOTH terrain parks. To give you an idea how difficult this is, imagine digging out your car in the morning. Then imagine having to dig out everyone's car in our parking lot. Twice. By yourself... It's not easy, so show those guys some love if you see them. Both parks will be open today, and Sunday is our Night Riders Final! The all-day extravaganza begins at 11 a.m. and if you've never watched a freestyle competition before, I highly recommend you check this one out. These kids can BOOST!
What's Going On?!?
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Saturday, March 8, 2014
I'm assuming you've heard of 3D printing. If not, here's how it works. Basically, you imput a 3D design into a computer and it literally prints out whatever that design was using melted plastic. Your finished product is a 100% to-scale plastic model of whatever the design was. You can print anything: toys, phone cases, auto parts etc.
So, who cares? Well, as we've experimented more with this technology, now people are starting to get really creative. Two companies have now successfully 3D printed skis and snowboards.
Signal Snowboards and Stratasys each wanted to experiment and see if the printers could create real, usable equipment, and how well it would hold up. Long story short, they took their products to Colorado and Tahoe, respectively, and it worked. It's now completely possible to create 3D printed skis and snowboards that actually rip down real terrain! Pretty cool, huh?
How's the snow?I wish I could take that 3D printed snowboard down trails like Vermont 200 or Spillway (which have been excellent this week) and see how it performs. Speaking of those two steep favorites, they're just a small part of what's open this weekend. All six lifts are going 'round their bull-wheels and ropes are dropped on 67 runs across all three mountain faces. We're nearly 100% open and let me assure you - after doing some extensive product testing in the past 48 hours, I've never seen the mountain skiing this well. It might even top a powder day. Maybe. I'm not blowing smoke, folks. It's really, REALLY good out there right now.
A quick recap of my favorite runs yesterday - Adam's Solitude (yup!), Old Turnpike, Vista Glades, Spillway and Lower Tattle Tale. If you know this mountain, you know that covers a huge variety of terrain, meaning there really is something for everyone right now. And it's all great.
Weather:The mercury reached a high of 38 degrees yesterday and gave us a fantastic preview of what late-March is going to bring. This is why we love spring skiing and riding. It quickly turned into a no-jacket, no-gloves, funky sunglasses kind of day and everyone was loving it. After a winter of below-zero temps, 38 felt more like 68.
The next 48 hours aren't going to be as sunny, but we're looking at temps in the high 20's again today under mostly cloudy skies with a chance of flurries. On Sunday, things will get a little firm again when the thermometer reads temps in the teens, but it should be a little sunny again.
Not to get too excited here, but keep an eye on Thursday. We've seen a few weather models showing the possibility of another big storm headed our way. It's too far out to forecast right now, but something to stew on, for sure.
Grooming & Parks:
Our grooming staff deserves the highest praise this season. They've kept up the highest standards after a strange and bi-polar Winter, and the weekend should be no different. We groomed 42 trails last night so there should be soft, fun turns wherever you look. Like I said, Spillway has been fantastic, and cruisers like Cobrass and Wilderness Liftline are skiing great as well.
Both terrain parks are open and tons of fun. The Grom Park jumps got a little bigger in the last rebuild and our crew added some new features. Over in the Jungle, Anthony, Jeremy and the guys are ready to put on a youth park clinic today, beginning at 10 a.m. for kids who want some tips or help with their freestyle acrobatics. They're great guys who really know what they're doing, so check it out if you need a little advice.