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Whitetail/Liberty/Roundtop projected opening days?
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15 days ago

Hello DCSki! Does anyone have a guess on when the 3 (former) Snowtime resorts are projected to open?

15 days ago

OrangePeels wrote:

…anyone have a guess …..?

Dec 7

 

Scott - DCSki Editor
15 days ago

OrangePeels wrote:

Hello DCSki! Does anyone have a guess on when the 3 (former) Snowtime resorts are projected to open?

So far, I believe Roundtop is the only resort of the three that has made a bit of snow beyond a quick test of the snowguns.  Looking at the extended forecast, we won’t see reasonable snowmaking temperatures until the middle of next week (around Wednesday night, December 5).  Then, we should see nighttime temps dipping into the 20s with daytime highs around the freezing mark.  If that forecast holds, that’s when I think the three resorts will ramp up their snowmaking.  Depending on how much of Roundtop’s early work holds up (and there’s rain in the forecast this weekend, which won’t help), they might open slightly before the others.  I’m not sure Liberty and Whitetail will have made enough snow by Friday, December 7 to open — they can make a lot of snow quickly but a couple days might not be enough.  They could probably open some terrain by Monday, December 10, but might hold off until the first “openable” Thursday or Friday, which would be December 13 or 14.  So it might be another couple weeks, but if the current forecast holds, they’ll have a nice stretch of snowmaking temperatures around December 5-12.

15 days ago

Thanks for the detailed prognosis, Scott!

14 days ago

I would say a safe bet for a Whitetail opening is December 13/14.. Looking at the forecast after this warm up looks good from Dec 5 - 13 for at least nightly snowmaking. 

9 days ago

Snowmaking started at Liberty this evening.

9 days ago

Looks like Whitetail is blowing tonight too!

Scott - DCSki Editor
9 days ago

SteveinDC wrote:

Looks like Whitetail is blowing tonight too!

Yup!  Looks like they’re making snow on nearly the whole mountain.  The next eight nights should be good for snowmaking, and maybe even around the clock at times.

Scott - DCSki Editor
7 days ago

Whitetail posted a really cool, almost cinematic video showing the start of their snowmaking on YouTube — it’s at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ibHJTh5Iyo

They say they’re going to start grooming snow early next week, so I’m thinking they’ll open around December 14.  Maybe earlier, although mid-week openings are less common.

6 days ago

Liberty opening day is tentatively set for the 14th of December.  YMMV.

3 days ago

Roundtop Sam said he’ll be making a big announcement when opening day is decided.  Until then - he said he’s not saying a word about it.

They seem to be doing well with snowmaking despite the warmer weather. Last few nights they were making it in the mid 30s, but the low humidity put the wet bulb temp below 28 F.

How much of the mountain can each open up after a good week or so of snowmaking?  Do they do it run by run, or have they been able to open most/all of the mountain at once?

3 days ago

Hmm… based on the Whitetail cams, it’s looking decent. They don’t have cams on Far Side or Bold Decision, but Expert’s Choice looks like it has decent coverage.

Liberty’s backside has a ways to go, though.

3 days ago

neat to see the Peak PR machine is already up and running… will also be interesting to see how/what they prioritize among the three… with Snotime, Roundtop was usually first to open and last to close, which seemed to make sense by my unscientific observation of the hardcore skiing crowd they have up there… 

3 days ago

RodneyBD wrote:

neat to see the Peak PR machine is already up and running… will also be interesting to see how/what they prioritize among the three… with Snotime, Roundtop was usually first to open and last to close, which seemed to make sense by my unscientific observation of the hardcore skiing crowd they have up there…

I’m expecting that, given that RT turned on the guns earlier and were able to stockpile a bunch of snow.  RT said they had a lot stockpiled that couldn’t be seen in the webcam.  What that turns into once it’s pushed around the hill is another story.  The webcams look good there though.

2 days ago

I jusy wandered over to Roundtop’s Facebook page and, uh oh… the locals are NOT happy the mountain hasn’t opened yet… 

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
2 days ago

RodneyBD wrote:

I jusy wandered over to Roundtop’s Facebook page and, uh oh… the locals are NOT happy the mountain hasn’t opened yet… 

Although the self-selection that happens for people who post on FB means that the vocal minority are usually people who have a complaint.  I bet some of the complainers that RT is not open would also be likely to complain if they had to ski trails with snow guns blasting.

2 days ago

marzNC wrote:

RodneyBD wrote:

I jusy wandered over to Roundtop’s Facebook page and, uh oh… the locals are NOT happy the mountain hasn’t opened yet…

Although the self-selection that happens for people who post on FB means that the vocal minority are usually people who have a complaint.  I bet some of the complainers that RT is not open would also be likely to complain if they had to ski trails with snow guns blasting.

Agreed. Heaven forbid they take advantage of snowmaking weather while it was around. ST doesn’t have the altitude many others have, and the cold has largely been going around them. I can’t blame them for taking advantage of every moment they can to make snow.

I can’t believe how people have been acting over there. I understand wanting to get on the hill, but geez, no need to act like 2 year olds because they’re not open yet.

2 days ago

I was really hoping to get out one night this week, so I’m a bit dissapointed but its not the end of the world.

I think the bigger concern is Jack Frost, Liberty, and Roundtop (whitetail was a bit more vague) have all posted very simularly worded posts on Facebook regarding this weekend, and this is not how ST has opened in the past. (Jack Frost had already been advertising a friday opening) Whitetail has opened Angel Drop, Sidewinder, and the learning area with 36 hours of snowmaking before and just worked on closed trails to get a base. Then they will close trails one or 2 at a time to snowmake when weather allows to build a base for 24 hours. Roundtop has opened a hike park with less than 12 hours snowmaking. People are already worried about the price of the Peak Pass, so this doesn’t help concerns. I get that the forecast isn’t great, but its still 5 days out, and sunday afternoon is supposed to be dry, seems like grooming out a few slopes at least one of the resorts this past sunday would have been feasable, and then closing Friday/Saturday if the forecast holds.

I don’t like the change of opening direction, but I’ll hold more judgement until I see how they handle the later part of the season, because that is really what I’m more concerned about. 

2 days ago

rbrtlav wrote:

I was really hoping to get out one night this week, so I’m a bit dissapointed but its not the end of the world.

I think the bigger concern is Jack Frost, Liberty, and Roundtop (whitetail was a bit more vague) have all posted very simularly worded posts on Facebook regarding this weekend, and this is not how ST has opened in the past. (Jack Frost had already been advertising a friday opening) Whitetail has opened Angel Drop, Sidewinder, and the learning area with 36 hours of snowmaking before and just worked on closed trails to get a base. Then they will close trails one or 2 at a time to snowmake when weather allows to build a base for 24 hours. Roundtop has opened a hike park with less than 12 hours snowmaking. People are already worried about the price of the Peak Pass, so this doesn’t help concerns. I get that the forecast isn’t great, but its still 5 days out, and sunday afternoon is supposed to be dry, seems like grooming out a few slopes at least one of the resorts this past sunday would have been feasable, and then closing Friday/Saturday if the forecast holds.

I don’t like the change of opening direction, but I’ll hold more judgement until I see how they handle the later part of the season, because that is really what I’m more concerned about.

It may not be how it was done, but that doesn’t mean what they’re doing is a bad thing (not saying you’re saying it is).

Stockpiling makes sense though, especially with the warm snap and rain coming.  See this article here:

https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2015/05/28/the-science-behind-why-those-huge-snow-piles-just-wont-melt?fbclid=IwAR2NDAJq06GC6bi1sdZM1Tdob0p-NYN2cD49YGX7l2tMoqNcmedpSWrLb_0

Keep the snow safer, push it around when the weather’s passed.

I also found a quote in here that explains why it’s good to let the snow sit in a pile for a bit after it’s made:

https://skisawmill.com/snowmaking-basics-and-techniques/

In particular:

“You may wonder why we don’t push our piles of snow out right away. It is important to try to let the snow set up before grooming if possible. Man-made snow is dense enough, it doesn’t need to be compacted. The first day is the most important. Ice inside the snow mass is continually sublimating (evaporating directly from a solid) and recrystallizing into a bonded mass. Grooming too soon will compress the snow, squeezing out air pockets if the snow is not allowed to set up first. This is where layering the snow with a dry layer on top can help reduce the need for grooming.”

Then lastly, with as much as it costs to make snow, they don’t want it melting quickly.

https://snowbrains.com/the-hardships-of-making-snow-cost-reliance-environmental-impacts/

I get that everyone wants to get out there and ski. I do too. But I want something to ski on for more than a few days without them having to rebuild the whole mountain because they wasted all that snow.

2 days ago

The artile on the boston snowpile is interesting. I’ve noticed that Snowshoe will often let snow “rest” before pushing it out as well and heard simular information from them as to the reasoning. 

In general Peak Resorts seem to be pretty agressive in snowmaking at the new england resorts… so I’m not horribly concerned over a few days, a lot of the comments on roundtop’s page are referencing the past.

I truely will enjoy being on the snow no matter where it is and in pretty much any conditions… so if this helps them keep the resorts open until mid-late march I’m all for it. I made the 3.5 hour drive to Big Boulder their opening weekend and have 8 days at Snowshoe already and still was dissapointed to not be able to go after work this week. I suspect plenty of those comments came from people that havent been on snow since March and chomping at the bit to use advantage cards or passes. 

Whenever they open… I’ll be out there 1-3 times a week until they close… so I’ll let the pros do what they can to get the snow down in the less than optimal locations.

Scott - DCSki Editor
2 days ago

Years ago, Joe Stevens (then the Communications Director at Snowshoe) explained to me that every time they groom snow, they lose snow.  So stockpiling makes sense for a lot of reasons; once resorts groom it out, you’ll know there’s a good chance opening day is one or two days away.  Until then, it makes little sense to groom.

It looks like Whitetail has been making a lot of snow on virtually every trail except Far Side and Bold Decision.  (I’m not sure about Sidewinder.)  That is a different pattern than I remember in the past (as rbrtlav notes), so it seems their goal is to have a lot of trails ready on opening day, but we’ll have to see how this weekend’s rain factors into that.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
2 days ago

Here’s a Q&A about snowmaking with from the Dartmouth Skiway in VT, a small hill owned by Dartmouth College.

https://news.dartmouth.edu/news/2018/01/science-snowmaking-lesson-slopes

” … 

OK, so this stuff gets sprayed, making piles all over the mountain. When can you start grooming, moving the snow where it needs to be, and creating varied terrains?  

Fifty percent of snowmaking actually takes place after the particle hits the ground. If possible, you want to let it sit there for 24 hours before you do any grooming, so it has time to “cure.” If you push it around right away, it clumps, and you end up with what skiers call “death cookies”—tough to ski on.

…”

yesterday

rbrtlav wrote:

The artile on the boston snowpile is interesting. I’ve noticed that Snowshoe will often let snow “rest” before pushing it out as well and heard simular information from them as to the reasoning.

In general Peak Resorts seem to be pretty agressive in snowmaking at the new england resorts… so I’m not horribly concerned over a few days, a lot of the comments on roundtop’s page are referencing the past.

I truely will enjoy being on the snow no matter where it is and in pretty much any conditions… so if this helps them keep the resorts open until mid-late march I’m all for it. I made the 3.5 hour drive to Big Boulder their opening weekend and have 8 days at Snowshoe already and still was dissapointed to not be able to go after work this week. I suspect plenty of those comments came from people that havent been on snow since March and chomping at the bit to use advantage cards or passes.

Whenever they open… I’ll be out there 1-3 times a week until they close… so I’ll let the pros do what they can to get the snow down in the less than optimal locations.

I think Peak has a pretty good handle on it with the experienced from New England and New York. I remember back in the 90s that my senior year history teacher’s son was one of the snowmaking managers at Hunter at the time (no idea if he’s still there).  He was also the school’s ski club advisor, so we could usually get out of the day’s lesson if we could get him talking about skiing. :D We learned quite a bit about snowmaking and the new tech available.  Hunter was cutting edge back then, using the York water coolers, more efficient guns, and getting into computer controlled snowmaking.  I don’t doubt that Hunter has only gotten better at it since then.

And drawing on experience like that, I think Peak has a good handle on snowmaking.  As one guy I was talking to last night put it, he’d rather wait a few days and have good snow for a long time than be skiing on mud next week due to squandered snow.  Makes sense to me!

Scott wrote:

Years ago, Joe Stevens (then the Communications Director at Snowshoe) explained to me that every time they groom snow, they lose snow.  So stockpiling makes sense for a lot of reasons; once resorts groom it out, you’ll know there’s a good chance opening day is one or two days away.  Until then, it makes little sense to groom.

It looks like Whitetail has been making a lot of snow on virtually every trail except Far Side and Bold Decision.  (I’m not sure about Sidewinder.)  That is a different pattern than I remember in the past (as rbrtlav notes), so it seems their goal is to have a lot of trails ready on opening day, but we’ll have to see how this weekend’s rain factors into that.

It’s different than what they even posted last week on FB.  They outlined a few runs they planned to start on - mostly the stuff to the left and maybe a run or two up the detachable.  Then the webcams come on and they’re going balls to the wall whevever they can.

I agree with your thinking that Peak has a different plan than the traditional strategy of adding runs piecemeal.  People are already worried about Peak coming and wrecking the good value the SnowTime pass has been over the years, and a radical departure from the traditional snowmaking approach has people up in arms.  That said, I don’t think Peak’s necessarily alone in the strategy change.  As Marz’s article mentioned, winters have been trending warmer so there are fewer snowmaking windows than there have been in the past.  Where a piecemeal approach may have been fine then, and especially with the smaller hills that may not have the money run the system at full tilt, not doing so now can mean some terrain may never open for the season (like Blue Knob last season).

So the approach now seems to be to make as possible whenever possible. The ST resorts are small enough (100-125 skiable acres, give or take) that it’s easier to cover that quickly, where the larger resorts open in sections. The piecemeal approach is becoming too risky.

At least IMO, I’d rather wait an extra week and have more open then having 2 runs and 1 chair open.  Even looking at 7S’s opening day, the benefits to the former approach were apparent.  7 runs, a 24-36” base, and good quality snow.  It felt like January.  I didn’t even need my rock skis.  Terrain was limited obviously, but there was enough open that people could spread out and it didn’t feel crowded.  And there was enough variety to keep it interesting and make a day of it if you wanted to. It was a far cry from the old days of opening with a 2-12” base on Wagner and Fawn Lane. I left there even more excited for the season.

RT’s snow piles held up pretty well over the warm spell between their first round of snowmaking to the latest, as was seen on the webcams.  Yes, some of it melted, but they claimed they had a lot more stockpiled on the west side of the hill that couldn’t be seen.  And that it still made economic sense to get the headstart even with some melt.  We’ll see how it pans out, but at least for now, it looks like it was the right call.

yesterday

marzNC wrote:

Here’s a Q&A about snowmaking with from the Dartmouth Skiway in VT, a small hill owned by Dartmouth College.

https://news.dartmouth.edu/news/2018/01/science-snowmaking-lesson-slopes

” … 

OK, so this stuff gets sprayed, making piles all over the mountain. When can you start grooming, moving the snow where it needs to be, and creating varied terrains?  

Fifty percent of snowmaking actually takes place after the particle hits the ground. If possible, you want to let it sit there for 24 hours before you do any grooming, so it has time to “cure.” If you push it around right away, it clumps, and you end up with what skiers call “death cookies”—tough to ski on.

…”

Great article!

I think that other 50% is what people are having a hard time with - seeing a bunch of snow sitting and not understanding why it can’t (or shouldn’t) be skied on right away.  There’s a lot more at play than many people realize.

yesterday

I wish I lived in a climate with a 6-7 month ski season. I’m happy to shoot for a 4-month season, and maximize a 3-month season. Seasons might be getting shorter, I’ve opted for quantity over quality. Seasons can end abrubtly in March, and many March Mondays, we don’t know who will be open come the next Monday. Not ready for 80 day or 70 day seasons. I wish all local areas would’ve capitalized on this cold dry week and garnered immediate goodwill and provided a good shake-out orientation week for staff.

yesterday

Just curious - are there any places in the US that have that?  Outside of a couple outliers like Killington keeping Superstar open until May or June, even the Rockies don’t seem to stay open much past mid-April even if they have the snow.

My wife probably wouldn’t like a season that long, but I’d be down with it. :)

yesterday

superguy wrote:

Just curious - are there any places in the US that have that?  Outside of a couple outliers like Killington keeping Superstar open until May or June, even the Rockies don’t seem to stay open much past mid-April even if they have the snow.

My wife probably wouldn’t like a season that long, but I’d be down with it. :)

Mt Hood in Oregon comes to mind.  I think it’s often open through August if not year round.

A Basin in CO opens in October and closes in June pretty much every year.

 

yesterday

Winter park will keep Mary Jane open in to May if there is snow and mammoth as well as squaw have had some really long seasons.

if you are just counting being open. I was scrolling through Peak Resorts Instagram page and Big Boulder looks like they have stayed open weekends into May by pushing snow around. Which is really impressive given the location. I suspect Mt Snow might do something similar.

yesterday

rbrtlav wrote:

…if you are just counting being open. I was scrolling through Peak Resorts Instagram page and Big Boulder looks like they have stayed open weekends into May by pushing snow around. Which is really impressive given the location. I suspect Mt Snow might do something similar.

I had a roommate that grew up a few minutes from Big Boulder and he loved that it snowed on Mother’s Day one year. My spring finals at Penn State Hazleton sophomore year included snow flurries — May 2.

Big Boulder was a good mountain to learn to ski on, all that ice made everywhere else seem easier. I’m not sure if the rep is the same since they made it into one big snowboard park.

yesterday

Reisen wrote:

superguy wrote:

Just curious - are there any places in the US that have that?  Outside of a couple outliers like Killington keeping Superstar open until May or June, even the Rockies don’t seem to stay open much past mid-April even if they have the snow.

My wife probably wouldn’t like a season that long, but I’d be down with it. :)

Mt Hood in Oregon comes to mind.  I think it’s often open through August if not year round.

A Basin in CO opens in October and closes in June pretty much every year.

 

Mt Hood always closes after labor Day weekend. It’s covered with summer campers all summer, but Labor Day wekend is blissfully empty.

 

A Basin’s stated goal is to be open thru July 4, although it only attains that every 8-10 years. Mid June is the norm. It once made it thru August. A Basin stays open til it runs out of top to bottom snow.

Loveland is open thru the first weekend in May.

 

Vail resorts just announced $190 million in capital projects. One is to dramatically increase Keystone’s snowmaking ability that would allow it to compete in the “first area to open” contest, and go back to stayng open thru early May.

yesterday

Looks like it’s official that WT is not going to be open this weekend: https://www.heraldmailmedia.com/news/tri_state/pennsylvania/skiing-will-have-to-wait-out-the-rain-at-whitetail/article_a8dabc05-a4ba-5268-8806-f14c7416b603.html

I was really hoping to get out there Saturday…

21 hours ago

Yeah, not surprising. As much as it sucks, I think it’s the right call for now.  If they get thru the rain and the wet bulb cooperates, they could fire up the guns and get a soft coating over the wet snow.

Christmas week looks like it’s shaping up nicely though … all 3 will get some natural snow and have nights cold enough to make snow again.

15 hours ago

Better to wait out the Fri-Sunday rain/ Leave the piles, not groom and next week open up Thurs / Fri.  real cold comes in January. 

2 hours ago

Well, Lib told their instructors a week or so ago that new-instructor/ITC was pushed to this weekend, and return-instructor training next weekend (22Dec).  They’ve got oodles of snow, saved up in piles to conserve thru the warm ra*n this weekend, then push it out.  The 10-day forecast doesn’t look so great for next weekend though- need to wait & see how big that next ra*n event is next thu-fri?

1 hour ago

Certainly doesn’t look promising to open next weekend either unless some of the nights get cold enough to make some more snow.   Last year we had such a good solid cold stretch in early to mid December it allowed Liberty and Whitetail to open fairly early, but this year they’ll struggle to open by Christmas it seems.   You have to give kudos to Bryce who is 87.5% open with just the one cutover trail not open (not sure how much snow they got last weekend, but know they’ve made a ton of snow for them).    Let’s just hope LB and WT can stay open as late as they both did last year to give them a long enough season.

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