December 13th, 2011 – Waterbury Winter Weather Event Updates
Tuesday, December 13th, 2011
Here come this afternoon and tonight's flurries! Oh boy, I think this is going to be a game changer with a dusting to as much as an inch of 30:1 ratio snow across the northern mountains. lol.
I was out a little while ago here in Burlington and it sure did look and feel like it wanted to snow – doesn’t seem like it would very easily get down to the lower elevations, but you can definitely feel the potential for precipitation in the air.
I never saw any precipitation in Burlington today, but when I got to the Waterbury Park and Ride it was spitting a few flakes of snow. We had the same thing going on at the house, which wouldn’t have amounted to much, but when I checked the snowboard around 10:30 P.M. there was a tenth of an inch down, so clearly there had been an uptick in snowfall at some point. There’s still moisture out there in the northwest flow, so I’ll update tomorrow morning if there is any additional accumulation:
Wednesday, December 14th, 2011
Event totals: 0.5” Snow/0.01” L.E.
Noting a large area of snow coming in from the northwest on the radar last night, I checked outside around 12:30 A.M. and found that indeed the few small flakes that had been falling had bumped up into steadier light snow with some bigger flakes up near the half inch mark in diameter. This morning at observations time there was a fluffy half inch on the snowboard with a bit of snow still falling.
Some details from the 6:00 A.M. observations are below:
New Snow: 0.5 inches
New Liquid: 0.01 inches
Snow/Water Ratio: 50.0
Snow Density: 2.0% H2O
Temperature: 32.0 F
Sky: Flurries/Light Snow
Snow at the stake: 1.0 inches
things are slowly improving in terms of terrain expansion... our goal is to
have at least one route down off of every lift at the very, very least. You
want to have as many lifts open as possible to spread people out across the
mountain, and then run those lifts slow if you have to to hang folks in the
air. Skier density is a big worry right now so however you can spread folks out
between on-trail, in liftlines, or up in the chairs. You can hang hundreds of
folks in the air at any given time and fixed grip chairs are the way to do
this, haha. Last weekend we did slow our main Quad down because there was no
liftline but the trails were packed. And trust me, folks don't really notice if
the lift takes an extra 1-2 minutes... 8 minutes instead of 6 and you'd be
surprised how much of a difference that can make on trail. Then you are getting
4 skiers dumped up top every 12 seconds instead of every 8 seconds.
Ski areas have all sorts of ways to try to control skier traffic, haha. That is a very rare method but if it comes down to safety, it may be one you see used at ski areas this holiday season. Also you want to know what is more effective than a "slow sign" to get people to slow down and pay attention to what they are doing? A snow gun. Park some random snow guns and folks immediately become very aware of where they are and what they are doing. You also can't see anything so you can't go fast. When we have snow guns running on a trail, the average speed of traffic is very slow... we turn those snow guns off and the speed of folks on that trail just about triples.
Very cool operations info PF, thanks for passing that along. From what I heard during my chats with patrol and the marketing director up at Bolton on Saturday, they were exercising the slower lift speed practice there as well. I had no idea that was so commonly used. That is certainly something that routinely keeps trail congestion down at places like Bolton Valley and Mad River Glen since they don’t use any high-speed detachable lifts.
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