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The 2021-2022 Ski season thread


Skivt2
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9 hours ago, PhineasC said:

Thanks PF! Let’s hope we get some cold nights in November at least so this process can get started. 

Obviously the "product" is much better if it's not too rushed though.  Ideally you make snow on the trails you want to open, and then can let the piles drain for a couple days, while you make snow on other trails.  That's generally the play if its an ideal world.  Then you can open up some groomed terrain (the trails that had time to drain) and some ungroomed on the routes with current snowmaking.

When I say drained too... all the snowmaking water likes to pool in the middle of those big snowmaking piles/whales.  So when you see fresh snowmaking and jam your pole into it, and look down a foot or two to see blue snow or even water... that's what ideally has time to drain to the bottom and into the ground.  Generally if rushed to open and short on time, you are forced to have to put snowcats on that and spread out the snow right after it's made.  In that case you are generally smearing that wet soaked snow from the middle of the piles all over the trail.  Leads to a very icy product.  There's a big difference in snow product from snowmaking that has the chance to sit for a couple of days before being pushed out... and snowmaking that just gets pushed out right after it's made.  That's always why at mountains you'll see big snowmaking piles sitting there for a few days and people are usually like "why hasn't that been groomed and open yet!?"  It's because they are letting it dry out, not because they are lazy lol.

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8 minutes ago, powderfreak said:

Obviously the "product" is much better if it's not rushed too though.  Ideally you make snow on the trails you want to open, and then can let the piles drain for a couple days, while you make snow on other trails.  That's generally the play if its an ideal world.  Then you can open up some groomed terrain (the trails that had time to drain) and some ungroomed on the routes with current snowmaking.

When I say drained too... all the snowmaking water likes to pool in the middle of those big snowmaking piles/whales.  So like when you see fresh snowmaking and jam your pole into it, and look down a foot or two and see blue snow or even water... that's what ideally has time to drain to the bottom and into the ground.  Generally if rushed to open and short on time, you are forced to have to put snowcats on that and spread out the snow right after it's made.  In that case you are generally smearing that wet soaked snow from the middle of the piles all over the trail.  Leads to a very icy product.  There's a big difference in snow product from snowmaking that has the chance to sit for a couple of days before being pushed out... and snowmaking that just gets pushed out right after it's made.  That's always why at mountains you'll see big snowmaking piles sitting there for a few days and people are usually like "why hasn't that been groomed and open yet!?"  It's because they are letting it dry out, not because they are lazy lol.

That’s interesting. Last season at Cannon they left a bunch of piles for days on a trail my kids and I wanted to do and I was that guy on the lift wondering why they were not grooming them for so long. LOL

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3 hours ago, PhineasC said:

That’s interesting. Last season at Cannon they left a bunch of piles for days on a trail my kids and I wanted to do and I was that guy on the lift wondering why they were not grooming them for so long. LOL

Haha it’s a big perception issue.  Trying to explain why a trail is buried in snow but is just sitting there for a couple days.

Often the decision is made based on quality vs quickness of opening trade-off.  If it’s a main route that will spread skiers out, even if icy, just opening it up will lead to a better experience… those usually open fast and you hope to fix it with more grooming or natural snow in the coming days.  If it’s a secondary route, it’s definitely going to sit for a few days to drain.

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19 minutes ago, powderfreak said:

Haha it’s a big perception issue.  Trying to explain why a trail is buried in snow but is just sitting there for a couple days.

Often the decision is made based on quality vs quickness of opening trade-off.  If it’s a main route that will spread skiers out, even if icy, just opening it up will lead to a better experience… those usually open fast and you hope to fix it with more grooming or natural snow in the coming days.  If it’s a secondary route, it’s definitely going to sit for a few days to drain.

Alternately, one could always go whale jibbing! I do wonder how that drain period is impacted by the temperature/web bulb at which the snow is blown. For example when its 10 degrees out and you're skiing under a bunch of guns that are immediately producing gun powder, that feels like a finished product.

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5 hours ago, MRVexpat said:

Alternately, one could always go whale jibbing! I do wonder how that drain period is impacted by the temperature/web bulb at which the snow is blown. For example when its 10 degrees out and you're skiing under a bunch of guns that are immediately producing gun powder, that feels like a finished product.

Yeah man, great silky snowmaking whales are one of the best surfaces out there for having fun... popping off the piles, having confidence in the surface.  The crazy thing is even at 0-10F you'll end up with some blue snow in the middle of the piles, so sometimes the best option is to just let skiers have at it for a few days.  That silk turns to chalk and snowmaking whales become a playground.  At Stowe it usually has to be an expert level trail, but sometimes can be a secondary intermediate route that is open ungroomed with snowmaking.

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10 hours ago, powderfreak said:

Do you have a snowcat to push uphill?  Its something that being familiar with the snow output of the operation that if you think you can do it, you probably can.  Mother Nature is the biggest wildcard though.

We do have a snow cat. Our groomer thinks he can do it. Granted we'd need cold temps as you mention. 

Thanks!

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PF or anyone with experience in the ski world...

My 18 yo son has decided that after his first semester of college that it's not for him. He's dreaming of heading out west to find a job at a ski area. I'm not excited, but I get it. Is there a NNE resort that would be a good place for a young kid to try this?

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3 hours ago, NECT said:

PF or anyone with experience in the ski world...

My 18 yo son has decided that after his first semester of college that it's not for him. He's dreaming of heading out west to find a job at a ski area. I'm not excited, but I get it. Is there a NNE resort that would be a good place for a young kid to try this?

Not PF but can chime in with some bits of advice and relatable piece of experience on that front:

I went out to the midwest for school and graduated with a regarded business degree from a Big Ten university. Moved to Chicago and realized that the corporate life and midwest (although the 13-14 winter was a snow and cold weenies dream) wasn't for me. Had a high school friend at the time who had graduated UVM and was working/living at Sugarbush with extra living space and decided to take the chance on an open internal audit position at the resort for one winter. Well, one turned into four and the seasonal auditing job became a software management position after a few months. That inevitably led to some invaluable experience (working with the Austrians at Axess on our RFID transition (the bane of many on here, apparently) was one of the coolest things ever). I've since moved on from the mountains on account of life etc. but wouldn't trade that experience for anything. 

At the risk of sounding too self indulgent, what I'm really trying to say here is if your son has a passion for snow sports and knows deeply that he has a future in the industry, there are certainly opportunities. I knew several guys at SB that started out as lifties but through inquisitiveness/hard work/trade school related knowledge, were able to eventually get positions in mountain ops management etc.

Working at a ski resort is most certainly a labor of love however, you can make a good living off of it with some savvy and passion for whichever place you land at. Obviously, in this day and age there are nuances what with corporate takeovers etc. What cant be beat though, is the quality of life and people you meet in a mountain town who are there for the same reasons you are. 

P.S. yes this is a plug for Sugarbush, the greatest and (nearly) snowiest place you can ski in New England :D

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On 10/29/2021 at 7:48 PM, NECT said:

PF or anyone with experience in the ski world...

My 18 yo son has decided that after his first semester of college that it's not for him. He's dreaming of heading out west to find a job at a ski area. I'm not excited, but I get it. Is there a NNE resort that would be a good place for a young kid to try this?

Housing is a HUGE problem.  Make sure he has a solid place to sleep before he goes.  In Vermont housing is in an EXTREME crisis.  People with decent paying full time year round jobs like teachers and nurses can’t find housing.  Every day people are begging for help finding something on the local FB pages.  Families having to move out of the area because they can’t find anything for any amount of money. 

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3 hours ago, Skivt2 said:

Housing is a HUGE problem.  Make sure he has a solid place to sleep before he goes.  In Vermont housing is in an EXTREME crisis.  People with decent paying full time year round jobs like teachers and nurses can’t find housing.  Every day people are begging for help finding something on the local FB pages.  Families having to move out of the area because they can’t find anything for any amount of money. 

I didn't think about that, but certainly an issue.  Whenever someone posts a $1500 1 bedroom rental on the local FB pages here, there are always 50 nasty comments about how high they are priced and and no locals can afford them(which is true). Its certainly really tough for alot of local population in the retail/blue collar workforce. Its always been tough for affordable housing/rent, but just enough inventory thats affordable that most could find something. Post covid there is almost no rental inventory and forget about buying at a reasonable price.  A nurse I know that has 3 kids that go to my kids school had to move across the border to NY for affordability/availability after her rental was going to be put on market.  Cant blame the owners of these places, chance to make hundreds of thousands more than they would have in pre March 2020.

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8 minutes ago, backedgeapproaching said:

I didn't think about that, but certainly an issue.  Whenever someone posts a $1500 1 bedroom rental on the local FB pages here, there are always 50 nasty comments about how high they are priced and and no locals can afford them(which is true). Its certainly really tough for alot of local population in the retail/blue collar workforce. Its always been tough for affordable housing/rent, but just enough inventory thats affordable that most could find something. Post covid there is almost no rental inventory and forget about buying at a reasonable price.  A nurse I know that has 3 kids that go to my kids school had to move across the border to NY for affordability/availability after her rental was going to be put on market.  Cant blame the owners of these places, chance to make hundreds of thousands more than they would have in pre March 2020.

I think the Air BnB short term rentals have a detrimental effect too. Especially in resort adjacent areas. 

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1 hour ago, mreaves said:

I think the Air BnB short term rentals have a detrimental effect too. Especially in resort adjacent areas. 

It definitely does.  Housing is a huge issue around these parts but it's also always been expensive from here to Waterbury to the Mad River Valley and then also Montpelier to BTV corridor.  Great accessibility to higher paying jobs in those zones too, plus resort and vacation rentals.

Air BnB does hurt a lot in the resort areas but also like Backedge said, it's hard to blame homeowners.  Vermont has very friendly renter laws that makes it very tough to get rid of renters and/or recover money from them.  You also think about your property/house/condo/apartment and imagine the wear and tear on that place from a seasonal rental to 20-something year olds who are ski bumming for a season.  I know many who used to do seasonal rentals but their places would be destroyed by the young crowd partying and skiing all winter... where as now they do AirBnB to like adult couples for weekends who aren't going to punch a hole in your wall on a drunk Friday night.  Several people who used to rent seasonally just got fed up with it too, renting their house out to be a party pads for a winter.

You sort of have two things going on... 1) renters always are leery of 18-26 year olds who do most resort/hospitality/restaurant jobs just because they do lead to wear and tear on a property and 2) you can just make more money with Air BnB.

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On 10/29/2021 at 11:38 PM, MRVexpat said:

Not PF but can chime in with some bits of advice and relatable piece of experience on that front:

I went out to the midwest for school and graduated with a regarded business degree from a Big Ten university. Moved to Chicago and realized that the corporate life and midwest (although the 13-14 winter was a snow and cold weenies dream) wasn't for me. Had a high school friend at the time who had graduated UVM and was working/living at Sugarbush with extra living space and decided to take the chance on an open internal audit position at the resort for one winter. Well, one turned into four and the seasonal auditing job became a software management position after a few months. That inevitably led to some invaluable experience (working with the Austrians at Axess on our RFID transition (the bane of many on here, apparently) was one of the coolest things ever). I've since moved on from the mountains on account of life etc. but wouldn't trade that experience for anything. 

At the risk of sounding too self indulgent, what I'm really trying to say here is if your son has a passion for snow sports and knows deeply that he has a future in the industry, there are certainly opportunities. I knew several guys at SB that started out as lifties but through inquisitiveness/hard work/trade school related knowledge, were able to eventually get positions in mountain ops management etc.

Working at a ski resort is most certainly a labor of love however, you can make a good living off of it with some savvy and passion for whichever place you land at. Obviously, in this day and age there are nuances what with corporate takeovers etc. What cant be beat though, is the quality of life and people you meet in a mountain town who are there for the same reasons you are. 

P.S. yes this is a plug for Sugarbush, the greatest and (nearly) snowiest place you can ski in New England :D

This times 100.  Great post man.

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23 hours ago, Skivt2 said:

Housing is a HUGE problem.  

This was the issue when I was ski bumming at Steamboat back in 90/91.  We lost our shitty farmhouse (I shared with 4 other early 20 somethings) to a furnace fire and the next nearest housing I could come up with mid season was in Oak Creek, 40 miles away.  I was driving an old RWD station wagon and the high country roads were always snow covered, and if you went off the road for any reason, you got a ticket.  I gave up and came back east before the season was over.    

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23 hours ago, Skivt2 said:

Housing is a HUGE problem.  Make sure he has a solid place to sleep before he goes.  In Vermont housing is in an EXTREME crisis.  People with decent paying full time year round jobs like teachers and nurses can’t find housing.  Every day people are begging for help finding something on the local FB pages.  Families having to move out of the area because they can’t find anything for any amount of money. 

Housing is a giant problem with the Colorado resorts as well.  I am guessing at all resorts nationwide, but I was reading about Crested Butte and some others in Colorado facing this,

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27 minutes ago, Brewbeer said:

This was the issue when I was ski bumming at Steamboat back in 90/91.  We lost our shitty farmhouse (I shared with 4 other early 20 somethings) to a furnace fire and the next nearest housing I could come up with mid season was in Oak Creek, 40 miles away.  I was driving an old RWD station wagon and the high country roads were always snow covered, and if you went off the road for any reason, you got a ticket.  I gave up and came back east before the season was over.    

Yeah I mean ski town housing has been an issue for decades and decades.  It just slowly gets worse but larger scale it’s nothing new.

Out west is on another level though.

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3 minutes ago, powderfreak said:

Yeah I mean ski town housing has been an issue for decades and decades.  It just slowly gets worse but larger scale it’s nothing new.

Out west is on another level though.

22988252-B121-4181-9D0A-AF10A1E65564.jpeg.26b8ec3e92c8a2fc6f6e0f284b5cd6de.jpeg

That’s ridiculous. Same issue here on Long Island in the Hamptons. Areas where workers used to Live now sell in the millions. So everyone is forced to commute in and out to work. It’s unsustainable. 
I was able to find a nice house to rent near Stratton with friends for this winter, but we are all late 30s with Careers and are there to ride not party. When I was younger and we did party our rentals did take a beating. 

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Yeah.  It is very very difficult in Vermont.  It’s not just that ski bums looking for seasonal winter housing that are scared.  People with large incomes from professional jobs who can pay a pretty decent amount for rent can’t find anything available.  The people pleading for help daily are heartbreaking.  There was one woman who had gotten a job teaching at the public school and had not realized that there would be no where to live. Sad.

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By and large, the same people who complain about housing prices are the same people who will bog down a housing development in environmental lawsuits for years or block an apartment complex because it “changes the character of the town.” 
 

IMO, they just don’t want people to move there.

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