Thursday, February 19, 2015

4 Tips For Dealing With Flat Light

With all the snow we've been getting recently, you may have found it a little more difficult to see where you're going. Whether it's big fluffy snowflakes blocking your line of sight or some low-hanging overcast clouds, we see plenty of days with "flat light" in the Northeast. Here are some tips for enjoying yourself during those grey days.
  1. Wear brighter lenses - Most goggle manufacturers make a flat-light specific lens. A rose or yellow lens will help accentuate the natural definition and contrast there is in front of you, which will help you discern what's coming up next.
  2. Find Contrast - Since flat light is created by the sun shining into fog-clouds, the snow reflects that light back into the fog again, creating poor visibility. The solution? Ski something that's not wide open and groomed. This will all but eliminate your vision problems because there will be more points of reference for your eyes to pick out. When it's super flat - trees and bumps are the place to go. They provide excellent contrast so your eyes don't have to work as hard to make out what you're skiing over.
  3. Get low - Lowering your stance on skis or a board will lower your center of gravity. This will allow you to better absorb any unforeseen obstacles that you may come across in the grayness ahead of you and keep you from getting bucked.
  4. Slow down - This one's pretty simple. If it's harder to see where you're going, ski a little slower. The snow isn't going anywhere if you ratchet back to 80% effort, and you'll stay safer with more time to react to what's in front of you.
Now, get out there and enjoy all the snow! Ski safe and have fun.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Uphill Travel Safety

Photo Courtesy Catamount Trail Association
So, it's been going off lately. Ya know, 'cause it snowed a little bit up here. Photo above was taken last weekend during our Uphill Demo Day and yes, it's really that deep out there. It was awesome to see so many people come out and learn about uphill skiing, so in light of that, here are a few extra safety tips to remember whether you're a newbie or on your 100th tour. Stay safe and have fun!

  1. Always be aware of grooming operations - This one should be pretty self-explanatory, but sometimes people don't realize that even though the mountain may be closed during off-hours, there's still operations going on. We groom all night long here at BV, and that means you're likely to come across a groomer if you're hiking our uphill route in the dark.
  2. Stay off trails that are currently being groomed - If you're getting strapped in and see groomer lights on the trail in front of you, stop and wait for him to finish his work before heading up the hill. Likewise, if you're about to head back down a trail and you see a groomer on it, wait for him to pass by and then proceed with caution. Groomers always have the right of way, so please respect the work they're doing to get the mountain ready for morning.
  3. If you see a groomer, yield - If you start down a trail and happen to encounter a groomer, stop on the far side of the trail and wait for him to pass if he is traveling uphill. If he is traveling down hill, move to the far side of the trail and slowly pass the groomer. Be sure to make eye contact with the pilot before you ski past and stay far away from the groomer. Do not cut back in front of the groomer at any time during your downhill run. These machines are heavy and fast and, trust me, you wouldn't want to tangle with one.
  4. Wear bright colored ski gear if possible - If you've got bright colored or reflective gear, wear it. That will make it easier for groomers to see you and for your friends to keep track of you as well.
  5. Ski in groups - Pick a line and everyone stick to it. Think of it as your own little wolf pack. Skiing closer together will not only make it easier to keep track of each other on the way down, but it will help our grooming staff as well. It's much easier to see four people skiing together than spread out individually all over the trail.
  6. Be smart. Be respectful - Don't be that person who cuts off a groomer on your way back down the hill. Don't ski right behind a tiller to get fresh corduroy. Remember, it's dark when we groom, so our pilots can't always see you if you're too close. Keep your distance, respect them and everyone will have a good night. The uphill policy has been fun this season, so let's make sure we're all on the same page so it can continue in future years as well.

For updated news, weather & conditions in our Nordic and Backcountry trails, view our Nordic Snow Report, which is updated twice daily.