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Loon 12/26

xlr8r

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Date - 12/26/2013
Conditons - Powder (6"), Packed Powder

I know skiing Loon the day after Xmas seems like a really bad idea based on how busy the place usually is, but today ended up being awesome. I figured the typical Loon crowd would be sleeping in after yesterday, or still driving up from MA, so I made sure I was at the mountain at 8:00 and got on the Kanc quad at 8:20. There is was 1" of fresh snow on top of the corduroy to start which made for some great carving first thing in the morning. However the snow started to fall harder and harder as the morning went on. So the day turned from a packed powder groomer morning to a powder afternoon. By the end 6" of nice light snow had fallen, which was much more than the 2" forecasted.

The crowds never showed up as only the Gondola ever had a line, all the chairs were ski on. The deepest snow was on Flume, as it was left ungroomed with snowguns still on it. However my favorite runs were on south peak which was deserted all day. I did many laps on Cruiser, Boom Run, and Jobber, where the snow remained good on the sides of the trails all day.

So after the meltdown last weekend, Loon is back to mid winter conditions.
 

billski

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Thanks for the TR. How was the grooming and what was the consistency of the snow and skiing? Front-side carving? Fast? Did it compress quickly? How about icy spots? For you, how many viable trails were there?
 

xlr8r

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The groomers were near perfect first thing in the morning. The 1" of new snow to start made them all smooth, but not too fast. By midday the center of a lot of trails did get scratchy, but were still edgabe (nothing real slick). The sides were soft all day long as people continued to push snow over from the center. With the exception of the trails under the East Basin Double and the glades, all the major trails are open. They were making snow on Flume top to bottom, Sunset, and Upper Flying Fox which were all open under the guns. Closed trails that had snowmaking guns going were Ripsaw and Springboard. Lower Twitcher has been blasted and should open tomorrow assuming they groom it out tonight. There were also some spot guns located throughout the mountain and base areas. Pretty impressive amount of firepower going on at once IMO.
 

MadMadWorld

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Family friend is the head of snowmaking there and needless to say he had to postpone his Xmas with all the snow that is being blasted there.
 

billski

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Family friend is the head of snowmaking there and needless to say he had to postpone his Xmas with all the snow that is being blasted there.
Oh goodie - inside information. Would you mind asking what their snowmaking strategy is given the current situtation? Pump until they drop? What causes a throttle of snowmaking or just call it quits? Capacity? Revenue? Cost? Calendar? Resource? Hours in the day? "profitable trails"? What trails/features/programs would they be willing to forego?

I know this is a ridiculous number of questions and s/he won't know half of them, but inquiring minds want to know... ;)
 

MadMadWorld

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I'll see what I can get from him. I have talked to him about some of that stuff but I will see if he can fill in the blanks on some of those other things!
 

MadMadWorld

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Oh goodie - inside information. Would you mind asking what their snowmaking strategy is given the current situtation? Pump until they drop? What causes a throttle of snowmaking or just call it quits? Capacity? Revenue? Cost? Calendar? Resource? Hours in the day? "profitable trails"? What trails/features/programs would they be willing to forego?

I know this is a ridiculous number of questions and s/he won't know half of them, but inquiring minds want to know... ;)

So I got a pretty quick response from him this AM. Hopefully I can paraphrase what was said....

Would you mind asking what their snowmaking strategy is given the current situtation?

He said that the current snowmaking strategy is geared towards the holiday crowds (improving terrain park features, condo trails, etc.) They also would like to get South Peak squared up first since they only use one water source for the snowmaking on that side of the mountain. He was kind of vague on what their plans are after that.

What causes a throttle of snowmaking or just call it quits? Capacity? Revenue? Cost? Calendar? Resources? Hours in a day?

His answer to this was very interesting. I will definitely be prying for more information the next time I see him since this can apply to pretty much any ski area. The cliff notes.....Capacity, Revenue, Cost, Calendar, Resources, and Hours are all factors in when, where, and how much. But more often than not it's based on the water supply itself. Loon uses 3 main water sources - Boyle Brook, Pemigewasset River, and Loon Pond. The EPA, NH Fish and Game, and NH DES all monitor how much water is taken and how much discharge is put back into the water supply. Discharge is the water that goes back into water supply when the pumps are shut off. It gets tricky because Loon Pond is the main source for their snowmaking system but is a Class A water supply which means that water can come out but nothing can go back in. This means that the other 2 water supplies (3 if you include Westwood Brook) must receive the discharge from Loon Pond. This creates a few problems because once a month the EPA/DES/Fish & Game check water and pH levels and say that they need to shut down snowmaking for X number of days. The main reason for their recent snowmaking improvements over the last few years is their efficiency. They have new pumps that generate more water during that snowmaking period which allows them to pump out more snow with the same amount of discharge. He also mentioned that newer pipes and pumps helps in keeping the pH at proper levels when water is discharged back into the water supply. Hopefully that sheds some light on the snowmaking process. I definitely learned something new!
 

Abubob

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Nice job dodging the crowds and getting the fresh snow at Loon no less. I avoid Loon as a rule but you've shown it can be done right.
 

billski

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Very cool answers. Seems as if their water draws are more "regulated" than many area. Of course their consumption probably pales compared to many areas. I'm sure the EPA isn't checking on Quoggy Jo! It probably makes the whole snowmaking operation more expensive. But everyone wins in the end. Thanks!
 
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