2019-20 Race to Open

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Re: 2019-20 Race to Open

Postby EMSC » Thu Oct 24, 2019 4:29 pm

Annnddd.... Eldora announces they will open Friday Nov 1st. https://www.eldora.com/culture/blog-and-news/blogs-and-news?page=3981

Clearly done snowmaking on Hornblower/International; Looks like they are making snow on LaBelle; webcam shows them making snow on Chute race trail, and certainly they are making it on some lower mtn and terrain park areas too. Combined with forecast very cold temps between now and next Friday they may even be able to open more trails in time for the first day of the season.

Tony Crocker wrote:By my observation that scenario is more the rule than the exception in Colorado.

Unfortunately yes, Thus my cross-my-fingers wish for continued snowfalls. Wosrt case is dry conditions for a period of time to either melt/refreeze or dry out to sugar snow. Either of which gives you super unstable snow at the very bottom of the snowpack.
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Re: 2019-20 Race to Open

Postby tseeb » Thu Oct 24, 2019 9:38 pm

Mt Rose on the NV side of Tahoe with an 8260' base is supposed to open one beginner lift tomorrow 10/25. $20 for one beginner run that splits into two runs for the last third. They must have made a lot of snow earlier as it has not been much below freezing this week and Truckee, less than 10 miles away at 6,000' is supposed to be 74 on Friday.

It is supposed to cool off after Saturday. I have to take my Mom to rental near Auburn, CA (not much over 90 miles away from Rose) on Saturday, but I will miss this. It was about 90 at my house today, but with short days at least the house does not heat up like June-Sept.
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Re: 2019-20 Race to Open

Postby EMSC » Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:21 am

tseeb wrote:Mt Rose on the NV side of Tahoe with an 8260' base is supposed to open one beginner lift tomorrow 10/25. $20 for one beginner run that splits into two runs for the last third. They must have made a lot of snow earlier as it has not been much below freezing this week and Truckee, less than 10 miles away at 6,000' is supposed to be 74 on Friday.


Well it is also true that Tahoe has always been kind of banana belt skiing to some degree (temperatures wise).


As expected in Colorado, Copper opened today for racers only. Looks like up/down load on Super B with just Copperopolis open on Excelerator for today. Lots of snowmaking going on at Copper though. I'd expect to see a reasonable number of additional trails open up in Colo over the next week with both snow and very cold temps expected sun-thurs (at least).
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Re: 2019-20 Race to Open

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Oct 26, 2019 2:21 pm

The huge Diablo wind event predicted over most of northern and central California this weekend may be a positive for snowmaking.

The heat associated with Diablo/Santa Ana conditions is enhanced by airflow from higher to lower elevations. Temperatures at altitude, especially at night, can be quite cool and humidity is negligible. This is an ideal snowmaking scenario. Snow Summit has had signs on its lift towers for quite awhile touting the quality of its skiing during Santa Anas "when it's beach weather in the cities."

Mammoth early season snowmaking is quite reliable in terms of weather (high altitude/low humidity). The microclimate ~50 miles north of Mammoth is almost continental. Occasionally you will see Bridgeport or Bodie State Park listed as the coldest spot in the lower 48. I have seen that at least twice this month. As in most of the US West, the limiting factor on Mammoth snowmaking is water supply. The wells Mammoth uses for snowmaking water were significantly impacted by the end of the 2012-2015 drought but are presumably replenished by now.
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Re: 2019-20 Race to Open

Postby TRam » Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:10 am

Snowing here in Northern Utah this sunday am. Looks like 2-3 inch today and 5-10 forceast Tuesday with super cold temps. Me thinks Brigthon or Soli will be open next weekend. after last weeks 15+" storm they Should have 20-24" base up there of natural snow by then and really cold air for snowmaking!!
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Re: 2019-20 Race to Open

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:11 pm

I've done my first review of snow totals.

The Front Range October totals of 48 inches at Breckenridge, 36 at Copper, 44 at Keystone, 40 at Loveland and 44 at Steamboat are impressive. Whether that translates into high amounts of early season terrain open remains to be seen. Al's Blog today reflects that reality:
Al's Blog wrote:OK, the million dollar question, when does Lenawee open? The snowmakers are doing a fine job. If you are a seasoned A-Basin follower you know that our water for snowmaking is somewhat limited. The snowmakers are matching inflow to our reservoir with output from our fan guns. We are using every drop of water available to us. The snowmakers are strategically dropping some snow in the final key spots to get things open up there. So close.

I'd say the water capacity is very limited if it's taking this long to get a third trail open at A-Basin with October weather about as favorable as it can get for both snowfall and temperatures. I'm guessing Loveland doesn't have much water either. It will be interesting to see what the big areas in Summit County do in November. Does EMSC have any idea how much water they have?

No signs of life on Brighton or Solitude websites today. Only Snowbasin reports 20 inches season snowfall and a 11 inch base. The Snowbird SNOTEL (not run by the ski area) reports an 18 inch base on about 30 inches snowfall.
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Re: 2019-20 Race to Open

Postby EMSC » Thu Oct 31, 2019 10:18 am

Tony Crocker wrote:Does EMSC have any idea how much water they have?


Not in detail. I do know that Loveland has much more access to water than Abasin does. Abasin actually pulls water from the Snake River (no not that snake river) down by Keystone. They are required to leave specified minimum stream flows, so ironically Abasin would be able to blow snow much more quickly if it had been warm during the day to melt the recent snows (at least on South faces) so that stream flows would increase. Their ideal is warm days and cold nights with some snowfall that melts into the creeks.

Most of the other central Colo ski areas have decent sized snowmaking reservoirs that they replenish over the spring and summer months which allows for continuous snowmaking operations.

I've been interested to see if you will count any of the October snows toward season totals given the large Oct this year. Ironically, it's probably not enough to open trails on it just yet (40" packs down too much out here); But if we could find a way to get another 20-30" that would be enough to open a fair bit of greens and blues on natural snowpack.

I do have detail on Eldora's water rights and I'll create a separate post on that at some point because it illustrates how complicated water rights are in the western US. It's not obvious or simple at all and every ski resort is quite different in what they have access to.
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Re: 2019-20 Race to Open

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Nov 01, 2019 11:03 am

EMSC wrote:I've been interested to see if you will count any of the October snows toward season totals given the large Oct this year.

Percent of open terrain at Thanksgiving is good indicator of whether that October snowfall is relevant. The best evidence would be ski areas advancing their opening dates, as Lake Louise did by opening today with 23 inches snowfall plus snowmaking. Lake Louise probably has big league snowmaking because it hosts an early season World Cup Downhill.

I'm not seeing expansion at Loveland or Keystone with this extra natural snow and better snowmaking than A-Basin.
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Re: 2019-20 Race to Open

Postby tseeb » Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:59 pm

Monarch opened today without snowmaking and claim the most open terrain in the country according to https://sNOwbrains.com/monarch-mountain-open-friday/ who also say Aspen will open before their usual Thanksgiving day opening.
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Re: 2019-20 Race to Open

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Nov 01, 2019 11:26 pm

Wolf Creek is similarly open today on 22 inches snowfall and an 11 inch base. That's standard operating procedure for Wolf Creek to open fast in very low tide coverage, but perhaps new for Monarch. The Gothic Snow Lab has had 21 inches also, so Aspen is probably similar. The Front Range areas have had more, several of them over 40 inches.
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Re: 2019-20 Race to Open

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:39 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:The best evidence would be ski areas advancing their opening dates

https://www.steamboatpilot.com/news/bre ... YNnA8T6ExE
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Re: 2019-20 Race to Open

Postby sierra_cement » Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:44 am

Other than http://bestsnow.net/seas20.htm, is there any other place that shows snowfall totals for the season? Last year, I used the epic pass app but this year I'm tracking more mountains.
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Re: 2019-20 Race to Open

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Nov 11, 2019 5:33 pm

onthesnow.com collects automated data from the resorts, usually starting when they open. The display is in daily calendar format. Example here of A-Basin

These are useful for seeing incidence of recent snow, but less so for season totals. I have seen examples of missed days and double counted days. In-season I only use running totals from ski area websites. I may occasionally use onthesnow.com to check unusual data.
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Re: 2019-20 Race to Open

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Nov 16, 2019 7:48 pm

I updated http://bestsnow.net/seas20.htm today and it's quite ugly. The first half of November has been bone dry in the western US, with no area receiving more than 3 inches snow and most getting zero. Front Range Colorado is now no better than average and other US regions are far worse. The only places with reasonable November snow were Revelstoke/Kicking Horse and Banff/Lake Louise.

It's been more promising in the Northeast. Jay is not open but it's had 34 inches snow in November. Plus it's been cold for snowmaking.
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Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
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Re: 2019-20 Race to Open

Postby tseeb » Sun Nov 17, 2019 11:21 am

Alta has pushed back planned opening from Nov 23 to Nov 29 according to sNoBrains. Not a good sign.
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