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Making snow when rain is approaching?

skisheep

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Even though rain is in the forecast for Friday, Whiteface seems to be aggressively making snow. Why do they do this, if it is all just going to wash away on Friday? How much snow can rain erase? In other words, if it rains for an hour, how much snow pack does that melt, and is the amount lost still worth making the snow?

-skisheep
 

Smellytele

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Even though rain is in the forecast for Friday, Whiteface seems to be aggressively making snow. Why do they do this, if it is all just going to wash away on Friday? How much snow can rain erase? In other words, if it rains for an hour, how much snow pack does that melt, and is the amount lost still worth making the snow?

-skisheep

If they didn't make snow they would lose what they already have so it is either lose some of what they make or lose some of what they have.
 

Cheese

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Usually the hope is that water will either flow through or run over the snow causing minimal melt. Fast snow loss more likely comes from a warm breeze or a dark patch of ground which attracts the sun's heat and grows.
 

ScottySkis

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Sent from my ADR6410LVW using Tapatalk 2

And Christmas coming up they need to get as much open as possible.
 

skisheep

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OK That would make sense if it was just base building but they also are working on new terrain. I guess that the amount that they can blow in 2 days on new trails won't get washed away in 8 hour of rain :)

Thanks

-skisheep
 

BenedictGomez

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Also, isnt it okay to have rain (turns to ice) early in the season? For base-building material that is. Then fresh snow builds up on top of it.
 

drjeff

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Total risk/reward call right now.

Let's be honest - next week is traditionally one of the busiest weeks of the year for a ski area. They want/need to get as much terrain open as possible for both marketing reasons and crowd dispersement reasons. I'm sure many a mountain ops/GM type have been both incredibly frustrated and also anxious about the weather we've generally had across *most* of ski country this early season and have situations where they've made the call to make snow (and had it be the wrong call, and also not made the call to make snow and then had the actual weather conditions not be as bad snowmaking wise as forcasted - kind of the old damned if you do, damned if you don't scenario)

#2 - this "storm" will for just about everyone have a warm, wet component to it for some time, but apparently only for a short duration with some real cold behind it. Makes the call to make snow a bit easier as if they can make enough of a whale in a short time, and then don't touch the whale before the warm, wet stuff arrives, chances are that a majority of that whale will be intact come later today when the cold starts to arrive, and mountain ops will need less time to make snow to get that trail open.

My guess is that if this same scenario weather wise occurred say a week or 2 ago, and NOT just before the Christmas week, then you wouldn't have seen so many "aggressive" calls by mountain ops folks in the last 24hrs. Since they know that some of the $$ they've been spending running the snowmaking system the last 24hrs will just end right back up melted in the snowmaking pond within the next 24hrs
 

drjeff

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OK That would make sense if it was just base building but they also are working on new terrain. I guess that the amount that they can blow in 2 days on new trails won't get washed away in 8 hour of rain :)

Thanks

-skisheep

The new terrain part is the easier call - if they can make enough of a snowmaking whale and not groom it out before the wet part of the storm hits, that whale will act as an insulation layer for a good chunk of what they produce and it will just put them that much closer on the backside of the storm when the cold air arrives to having enough production to get that trail open sooner. Making snow and then grooming it out into a thinner layer will likely result in more "product" loss during the warm part of the storm. Bulk of snow is the mountain ops departments friend in warm weather events like this! :)
 

slatham

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All good points:
- Piles of machine made snow don't melt quickly
- Given weather pattern thus far, and up coming Holiday's, they need to use every opportunity to put base down
- What wasn't mentioned was the forecast was for snow, cold rain for maybe 12 hours (probably less) and then snow. Thats not a forecast where you worry about loosing snow. In fact it should be a net gainer (note - WF only reported 1" new this am but VT areas show 4-7")

Lets hope this storm is a pattern changer and we get locked in with cold and snow. Been tough fall on many levels, we could use it!

THINK SNOW!
 

skisheep

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Thanks for all your responses! The whole thing with the whales makes sense because less surface area = less meltage.
Hopefully this is a net positive for Whiteface they reported 1" but they often underreport stuff like this so who knows?

Thanks

-skisheep
 
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