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snow conditions 
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Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:11 pm
Posts: 7
Post snow conditions
Whats going to happen to MRG?
This is the 2nd yr in a row its been awful.
I used to like skiing at MRG. Bolton is now my home.


Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:43 am
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Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:42 pm
Posts: 26
Location: Fayston, VT
Post Re: snow conditions
Even if the snowmaking were expanded up to 2300 feet (which is where the by laws allow it I think), it might have gotten us through the first thaw, but not this time. I was up top on Saturday, and the best skiing was at absolute bottom of easy way, which had some man made snow on it.

How often has Mad River Glen had to close down mid-season like this and is this the most days we have ever had to close mid season?


Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:49 pm
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Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 2:11 pm
Posts: 68
Location: Burlington vt
Post Re: snow conditions
I think the immediate question is how are our financials. Are we ok? This winter looked so promising at Christmas then yuck. The MRG experience is predicated on real snow. We need more! The global warming doubters need to get on board and help make real change. I don't know if its cap and trade or some other process but the evidence to me is overwhelming our species is killing our planet. I sure hope my kids generation does a better job than we did!
So back to the issue at hand,what can we do? Save snow in underground silos? My then 6 year olds idea, make more? Seed clouds? I believe there are things we can do but don't know what. I'd like to see a management comment on the financial and some brainstorming by our community on ways we in a
Communitarian way can help heal the planet. Ideas please
And I'll ask my son too!

Shm


Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:00 pm
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Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2010 11:39 am
Posts: 12
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Post Re: snow conditions
The touchy topic of snowmaking comes up now and again, it would be nice to develop/see some long term plans for Mad River Glen and how we are going to attack situations like these when mother nature does not produce enough natural snow.

I am sure everyone has ideas or some opinions on this, I have always thought maybe a few top to bottom runs off of Sunnyside with snow making. Regardless it would be great to see some discussion on a long term plan for snowmaking.


Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:07 pm
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Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:21 am
Posts: 26
Location: West Newbury, MA
Post Re: snow conditions
I have serious doubts that the benefits of a substantial expansion of snowmaking would outweigh the costs (even if approved by shareholders to go above 2300' - which under the bylaws requires 2/3 vote, with a majority of all shareholders voting). And with necessary upcoming base area improvements I think the discussion is a non-starter at this point. But I'll add ...

There were poor snow winters - sometimes in succession - long before climate change became a known issue. Hell, MRG's grand opening was delayed until late January 1949 for lack of snow. It's always been feast or famine here - but oh, the feasts .... Of course it's depressing to see the mountain closed in February but would the financials improve if expanded snowmaking allowed it to open under marginal conditions? I am concerned for the loyal employees (I hope at least they can collect unemployment during downtime) but I suspect the cooperative's books are better off with the mountain closed rather than open with few skiing it. See the minutes of the Jan 19 BoT meeting: "The mountain opened on Christmas Eve and was followed up by a 2 foot snowfall which led to an epic holiday week. MRG had 3 days of record breaking revenues. ... December was a great month financially. This was achieved due to not running before Christmas and being full throttle Christmas week. We had all the big income from the Christmas week without the expense of the first 3 weeks of December."

Now let's just hope for a gangbusters President's Week. Saw something on Facebook today about a possible Valentine's Day Nor'easter snowstorm ... nine days is way too far out to even speculate, I know, but I'll take a 2007 redux, please.


Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:32 am
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Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:11 pm
Posts: 7
Post Re: snow conditions
I assume there may be a good bunch of locals to put up a fight for improved snowmaking. Although these same people are still in lace ups and Rossi 4s ski built in the late 90s. It is costly to invest in snowmaking, it's also costly to not operate.


Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:16 pm
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Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:11 pm
Posts: 45
Location: Ashland, NH
Post Re: snow conditions
NHrocks wrote:
it's also costly to not operate.

I think the biggest "cost" is when guests plan to ski MRG but can't due to the mountain being closed. Obviously, if it just rained then that is just the way it is. But being closed several mid-weeks and only operating the Practice Slope on the weekend is going to scare people away from booking in advanced or coming to MRG at all if it is viewed as unreliable (whether or not they actually currently had plans or not -- just knowing that a mountain could close down like MRG has could scare people away from advanced planning).

The big question is whether this is a once or twice in a generation thaw or a sign of things to come in the future. Putting aside the hot button political issue of what causes climate change and whether we can "do" anything to change it or not... the fact is that the climate IS changing and we may or may not be hurt by that change.

I certainly think a long term discussion is warranted for having limited snow making installed so that we can ALWAYS spin the Single and Sunnyside with at least one groomer down each. I don't know if this is a good idea financially but we already have trails that are always groomed from the top of the Single and Sunnyside so adding snowmaking wouldn't detract from MRG's uniqueness and we could open sooner and closer later which snowmaking on Bunny to the base. Is it worth it financially? I don't know. But I think it is definitely worth talking about.

_________________
-Steve Rheaume

TheSnowWay.com
"Skiing is not a sport, it is a way of life." - Otto Schniebs


Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:46 pm
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Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:07 am
Posts: 12
Post Re: snow conditions
Great conversation all. Yes snowmaking used to be a dirty word at MRG but with climate change and back to back bad winters it has become a question. As we move from a base area master plan to a "Full" master plan snowmaking is something the board and management will explore. We hear your comments and concerns and will explore our options. Thanks, Jamey Wimble president/GM


Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:37 am
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Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2010 11:39 am
Posts: 12
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Post Re: snow conditions
jamey wrote:
Great conversation all. Yes snowmaking used to be a dirty word at MRG but with climate change and back to back bad winters it has become a question. As we move from a base area master plan to a "Full" master plan snowmaking is something the board and management will explore. We hear your comments and concerns and will explore our options. Thanks, Jamey Wimble president/GM


Thanks Jamey. Appreciate the response!


Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:52 am
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Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:21 am
Posts: 26
Location: West Newbury, MA
Post Re: snow conditions
Appreciate the reply, Jamey. A few quick additional comments:

- Steve R, I wonder whether boosting snowmaking enough for a route or two down from the Single and the Sunnyside would attract enough skiers to make it worthwhile (or too many, resulting in crowded, scraped-off trails!). Personally when I've felt a need to make turns in recent weeks despite the lack of natural snow, I've looked to places with state-of-the-art snowmaking and grooming across a very large % of their trails. It would take a huge investment for MRG to compete with those sorts of places (including its friendly next-door neighbor), not to mention potential issues with water resources/Act 250 etc.

- If "climate change" mainly means snow droughts, that's one thing. If major warming becomes the problem over the long haul (or at least more frequent torches like our dual January thaws this year :evil: :evil: ), well, there are going to have to be some pretty dramatic advances in "snow"making physics to deal with that ...

- I'm curious what lessons may be learned from Magic's experience since they began emphasizing snowmaking improvements the past couple years. Small sample size in that it's just a couple years, but I think it's an interesting case study. This season they notoriously missed out on a gangbusters Christmas week because their only working lift broke down. With benefit of hindsight, perhaps that extremely costly shutdown would have been averted if they'd focused resources on getting the Black Chair available for backup instead of fixing snowmaking pipes. Now, true, if they HAD done that, maybe they'd be closed right now for lack of machine made snow. But I suspect the lost revenues from Christmas week were far greater than whatever they're bringing in now from people going there to ski extremely limited (though top-to-bottom, and both East and West side) terrain. Again, 20/20 hindsight but the bigger question I'm coming to is whether to focus on trying to be minimally open during lean times or to maximize both business and the customer experience (e.g. MRG base area improvements) when it does snow.


Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:54 am
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