Monday, December 29, 2014

Sugarbush Report - 12/27 and 12/28

To be perfectly honest, I was not expecting to have a lot of fun at the mountain this weekend.  We had rain mid-week and no new snow of any significance.  I was expecting the natural snow trails to be thin and very firm.  I expected everything to be frozen fairly solid.  And being a holiday week, I expected huge crowds.  In reality, the snow was fun, the weather was comfortable (a bit of rain, but not a big deal), and crowds were moderate.  It was a really fun weekend.

While training Saturday morning, we did discover a few "seams" left behind by the groomers the night before, so we all noted them as obstacles for guests later in the day.  Patrol was working with shovels to smooth out the worst of these seams.

We also heard that Ripcord, a double black diamond run, had been groomed.  I had a small group on Saturday, and after a warm-up and a few teaching drills, we headed to Ripcord.  The Heaven's Gate chair rides over Ripcord, so we had a chance to watch others skiing the trail.  I thought it seemed fairly soft and with edge-able snow, but the boys in my group really didn't want to ski it.  After teaching students aged 12-14 the past few years, I've been working hard to re-orient myself to teaching 7 year old children this year.  The truth is that a ski run that scares a child that age can have a negative impact that can take weeks or months to overcome.  One of my students is also still working on some stance issues, and I simply decided that it might not be ideal to ski the steep run.

So, we skied Jester, and one of my students had an epic crash there, with his equipment spread all over the place.  He was fine and we got him up and moving again.  The cause of his fall was groomed snow that had a texture similar to sand.  Technically, it's called "granular", but the grains were fairly fine and dense, and it required us to really pay attention while turning, so we could slice through the "sand" rather than get tossed around by it.

Gradually, the temperature started to warm up and we had some spring conditions for the afternoon.  We took advantage of that to ski the soft bumps on the open natural snow trails, mostly focusing on intermediate terrain like Moonshine, Sleeper and Birch Run.

Sunday morning, I felt a bit tired from working hard in the dense snow the day before.  We started the day with mostly groomed trails, while dealing with above-freezing temperatures, and some mixed rain and sleet.  Ripcord had been groomed again, and this time I took all 4 boys there, after a lesson that was specific to making turns on that steep terrain.  On the way up the chair, 3 of the 4 decided they would prefer an easier way down, but I held firm this time.  By the time each boy had made 6 or so turns, each had realized the snow was soft and forgiving and they turned on the rockets.  I had to fight to keep up with them on the descent.

Most of the natural snow trails were closed on Sunday, to help protect the snow that remains on those trails.  Today, even though I'm not at the mountain, I noticed that the lower temps allowed them to re-open most of those trails.

Snow got progressively softer as the yesterday moved along, and we enjoyed some nice spring conditions bumps all afternoon.  I did a brief lesson in the morning to prep us for Ripcord, and then a second in the afternoon to try to get the boys to turn on easy terrain with minimal rotary movements.  Next week, I will put a strong emphasis into rotary movements, and I hope they will remember this past weekend and feel the difference between the two

It's supposed to be cold this week and the snow guns are going again.  Regretfully, there aren't any major snow storms in the forecast right now.

We did get some light snow this morning that caused the interstate to ice up fairly severely at commute time.  My wife and I were late getting to work, but we did much better than the drivers whose cars were off the road after sliding on ice.

If I'm lucky, I'll get out to ski on Thursday, but it will depend a bit on the weather and how my wife is feeling.

No comments: