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The West...and the East

skiur

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Question on point 1 - If it is a vail policy to not blow snow early than why do it at mt snow which has a much great chance of melting out than at Wildcat?

The simple answer is NYC. The city is too far away from wildcat.
 

cdskier

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The simple answer is NYC. The city is too far away from wildcat.
Except Hunter is even closer to NYC than MS and abc used that as one of her examples of where Vail stopped making snow...
 

jaytrem

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Proximity to Boston probably doesn't hurt. Not to mention CT.
 

cdskier

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Hunter is too far from Boston.

Hunter is closer to the NYC and Albany areas than MS...Boston isn't a target audience for them in the regular season so why would Boston matter for early season? Also, the NYC and Albany metro areas combined have a population of 20M vs Boston metro being 5M. So Hunter's proximity to Boston should have no relevance to any decisions on snowmaking...
 

Kingslug20

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The Slutskys...and Vail have nothing in common..the old Hunter is gone.
 

ss20

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A minute from the Alta exit off the I-15!
The resorts blow whenever possible Nov 1-Jan 1 because all the major resorts have more snowmaking terrain than they could possibly cover in that timespan...which happens to line up with the Christmas break. In an overly-ideal scenario it could be 20 degrees in the day and 10 degrees at night 5 days a week and the big players would still never get everything covered. So that's why they make snow even when rain is in the forecast. Any acre foot you can get down in November is going to help for Christmas, even if it's gonna be 60 degrees and piss rain for two days.
 

abc

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The resorts blow whenever possible Nov 1-Jan 1 because all the major resorts have more snowmaking terrain than they could possibly cover in that timespan
Yes, it’s a matter of what percentage of terrain they can cover. For example, could be the difference of 80% coverage vs 60% coverage.

Nothing says more coverage is necessarily better, or even noticeable. Hunter is an example. The intermediate had coverage pretty much all season long. But the expert terrain only opened a tiny fraction of last season. I bet 80-90% of the customer probably didn’t notice the difference. :( So why bother making snow (or pushing the snow) there? They can still claim there’s expert terrain there. But good luck if you want to actually ski it!
 
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machski

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All of the above is happening!

1. Vail had blatantly stop making snow in: Hunter, Wildcat, Attitush... any others? (the excuse is labor shortage, but I think the real reason is they don't want to see it melt away in a matter of days)

2. Most resorts have no choice but to blow snow to ensure there's terrain open for the Christmas week. They will close as usual as skier numbers dwindle in spring.

3. Some will extend the season for a week or two on weekends if there's strong demand. That will be more likely in years with poor start early season.
Maybe Vail is still feeling out it's Eastern market and how to play it. I mean after all, once A-Basin jumped ship, Vail didn't toss the towel in on early and late season in CO. They dedicated Keystone to go early and Breck to go late. And they pushed Vail and a few other western properties into May 1st this year.

Given those track records out west, tour position is on shakey ground. I am convinced like Powder discovered under the Nan at K, the East market expects an early and late season product in it's offering. Vail may yet figure out how they want to leverage this in the East as they seem to be out West.
 

abc

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Maybe Vail is still feeling out it's Eastern market and how to play it. I mean after all, once A-Basin jumped ship, Vail didn't toss the towel in on early and late season in CO. They dedicated Keystone to go early and Breck to go late. And they pushed Vail and a few other western properties into May 1st this year.

Given those track records out west, tour position is on shakey ground. I am convinced like Powder discovered under the Nan at K, the East market expects an early and late season product in it's offering. Vail may yet figure out how they want to leverage this in the East as they seem to be out West.
It's a big maybe!

It's a lot easier to extend the season in the west. Just man the lift. With luck, mother nature will take care of providing the skiing. But even if mother nature doesn't quite provide all the snow needed to cover the trail, snow guns can make it up, easily. At least enough trails for the holiday period.

Not so in the east. It takes a lot of work to make enough snow. And if mother nature is in a bad mood, she can wipe tjhat away in a couple days! You've got to start it all over again, and again if necessary.

THAT, is what Vail have NOT figured out! Or, Vail had "figured it out" and decided they're not going to play a losing game against mother nature, at least not in all the mountains.

Late season should have been a no-brainer. There's wall to wall snow at Stowe. So why is Vail NOT doing it in the east? You tell me!

Let's suppose Vail had "designated" Mount Snow and Okemo as the "early season" with sufficient snow making (and Stowe as the "natural" fall back). What do you suppose their late season candidate in the east is? Breckenridge??? ;)

and while we do I am not giving them any of my money.
Good strategy! Let others be the guinea pigs while you play on a safer field.
 
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cdskier

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The argument could be settled with data. I'm not interested in looking it up......just saying, for those who are passionate about their beliefs, there's a way to prove it. You know snowfall averages trending by month for a start.

So uhh...I was a bit bored tonight and discovered that I have 18 years of snowfall data from Sugarbush (thanks to having 18 years of their snow reports saved in my e-mail).

I'm not going to say any of this has much actual meaning (I think 18 years is still too short of a time-frame to look at to really identify true trends), but there are a number of interesting things. Of the top 10 snowiest individual months in the past 18 years at Sugarbush, 3 have been in December (with the overall top 2 spots going to December 2016 with 118" and December 2012 with 102"). April 2007 takes the 5th spot with a whopping 86" that year. (Only 2 Aprils since that point have even broken the 2 foot mark).

I also broke the data into "early", "mid" and "late" season (with early being Nov/Dec, mid being Jan/Feb, and late being Mar/Apr). In 12 of the past 18 years, early season snowfall surpassed late season snowfall.

1651117300392.png


I'm sure there's a lot of different ways to look at this data and draw different conclusions...but one final thing I'll point out...there really isn't noticeably more late season snowfall now compared to say 10-15 years ago. However the past couple years have featured lower overall snow...so the snow that falls late season is therefore just more memorable.
 

machski

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It's a big maybe!

It's a lot easier to extend the season in the west. Just man the lift. With luck, mother nature will take care of providing the skiing. But even if mother nature doesn't quite provide all the snow needed to cover the trail, snow guns can make it up, easily. At least enough trails for the holiday period.

Not so in the east. It takes a lot of work to make enough snow. And if mother nature is in a bad mood, she can wipe tjhat away in a couple days! You've got to start it all over again, and again if necessary.

THAT, is what Vail have NOT figured out! Or, Vail had "figured it out" and decided they're not going to play a losing game against mother nature, at least not in all the mountains.

Late season should have been a no-brainer. There's wall to wall snow at Stowe. So why is Vail NOT doing it in the east? You tell me!

Let's suppose Vail had "designated" Mount Snow and Okemo as the "early season" with sufficient snow making (and Stowe as the "natural" fall back). What do you suppose their late season candidate in the east is? Breckenridge??? ;)


Good strategy! Let others be the guinea pigs while you play on a safer field.
Look, it is a big maybe. But you also need to look at past Vail practices with zero late season skiing themselves when they had partner resorts that did it for them (A-Basin). When A left, they pivoted quite rapidly and not just to the back end of the season as I noted with Keystone (Ironically, pre Vail Keystone use to play for one of the earlier opens in CO anyway). They have added more later closes out west now and Breck they try to run thru Memorial Day. Sure, a season here or there the East gets wiped out for late season from normal winter's worth of snowmaking and natty, but again that is the exception mostly. They own several resorts in Tahoe and the same can happen there, late season and even midseason on some really off years. I just think their ownership period is young out east and believe they will course correct as they iron out all the shortfalls from coming out of the Covid economic/employee turmoil.
 

abc

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I just think their ownership period is young out east and believe they will course correct as they iron out all the shortfalls from coming out of the Covid economic/employee turmoil.
I totally agree it's a bit too soon to draw conclusions yet.

But having gotten a taste of NOT making snow early and closing EVERY mountain with plenty of snow left, during a year of high demand and poor overall snow fall no less, Vail can't help but notice it doesn't hurt their next year pass sale! If you're Vail, what would you conclude?

(I have no skin in the game. I'm not tied to Vail mountains by property ownership etc. And I'm not a habitual early season skier either. Though I typically ski a lot in late season, this year just happened to be one I already skied a lot of slush and wet snow, I don't feel strongly about skiing at this point. So Vail closing all mountain isn't an issue for me personally.

Though if I were to consider buying Epic pass next year, which I'm not, it would have played a part in turning me off)
 
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Kingslug20

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Im tied to Stowe for many reasons..so im Epic...hopefully they start to figure it out.
On another note hope to try these out next week20220428_105046.jpg
 
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