Reflections


Yesterday, or only a day or two ago, so it seems,  I was walking on bare ground across the lower portion of the Seven Brothers trail and the Loon Mountain park so I could get some photos of snowmaking underway on Lower Picked Rock.  The ground was pretty much bare except where our snowmaking crews had been working.  Still, the plan was to open for the season on November 22nd.  Wouldn't you know it, the night before the season opener,  Mother Nature kicks in with two inches of snow, we've got eight trails ready to go and we're off and running!  If you had  seen these eight trails just a few days earlier you would not have believed they'd look like they do now.  Hats off to the magicians working in the snowmaking department!

A few minutes later we're rolling into the Christmas holiday, traditionally one of the biggest and most important periods of the ski season.  It's vital that we  have as much terrain open as possible;  people have booked vacations covering this time frame and we need to put forth the maximum effort to see that they have a good time.  Nature's been doing it's part, we're up to 60 inches of natural snow, but you still worry about getting the whole mountain open.  Well, Christmas Eve arrives and we're close;  45 of the 49 trails  are snow covered and open and the opportunity for everyone to have a good Christmas ski week is there.

 The seconds between Christmas and New years aren't very nice to us;  temperatures climb above freezing, we see some mixed precipitation (a less negative way of saying rain is part of the equation), and we're forced to close a few trails;  I hate it when that happens!  38 trails for New Year's Eve and down to 16  by the middle of  New Year's Day;  not the way we wanted to enter  2009 but some things are simply out of our control.  Being as this is New England, we didn't have long to wait before Old Man Winter blew some help our way.  17 inches of natural snow by January 11th and we're starting to feel really good; we're up to all 49 trails and we've even been able to start opening the glades areas.  This is more like it! The few minutes that January lasted sees us receiving over four feet of natural snow and no January thaw! Actually, we hardly saw any temperatures above freezing the whole month, so a thaw never was a threat of any sort. 

A few more minutes click by and we're speeding headlong into February.  By now we should have plenty of natural and manmade snow on the trails and it's time to think about shutting down our snow making operations.  Crews are getting tuckered out from the three month demanding pace they've maintained and the mountain is looking good.  Good enough that we've had everything open, including all the glades areas since the end of January.  We hit a two and one half week long dry spell the first part of the month and don't see any natural snow, but with 114 inches of natural plus three months of manmade already on the ground, skiing and riding is about as goods as it gets.  And that's the way it stays until we get through the Massachusetts school break and enter the New Hampshire vacation week.  23 inches of  nature's finest falls between the 19th and 23rd and everyone is smiling...this is why so many of us live in the north country! 

Almost before it starts, February is over and we're into March.  You know what that means: the sun is getting higher in the sky, temperatures start to creep up, snow fall is replaced by rain showers, someone decides we have to turn our clocks ahead, and the inevitable, slow but steady melting of the snow cover starts in earnest.  Bare patches start to appear on the trails, hard pack is replaced by soft, sometimes mushy, sometimes wet Spring Conditions, and snow sports fans start counting down until the end of the season.  For most, it's not a countdown they enjoy making.  The winter has been fun and exciting, with everyday bringing a new adventure and a new experience.  New friends were made, a few new skills were learned, and the good times far out weighed the bad ones.

April signals the end of the season.  Even if the snow is still on the mountain, most of the skiing and riding public have turned or are turning their attention to warm weather activities.  It's time to close.  Looking at the season from the November end, it looked like four plus months of long, often cold days and frequent "exciting" rides to and from the mountain on slippery roads.  Look at from the April end, the season was short, it came and went in a flash.  I guess "they're right," time does fly when you're having fun!

Have a great summer...we'll start this cycle all over again before you know it.  

Operations Shots