Getting ready to open!

Getting ready to open!

With the arrival of the first significant snow fall of the season we are preparing the slopes for our opening day. Unfortunately we did not receive as much snow as we had hoped for, and the liquid moisture we received on Sunday did not help.

John Vermaas, Skibowl’s Mountain Manager with over 40 years of experience, gives us a look at what it takes to get the slopes ready for skiers and snowboarders:

      “It is critical to take the time required to build a base before the slopes are open for skiing. Initially, the grooming machines head out on the slopes to ‘track pack’ the first snow by driving on every run possible to achieve the first compaction. Squeezing the air out of the snow allows for the snow crystals to bond together, making the snow denser. After this has been done and the snow has set undisturbed for several hours, the grooming machines return with their rotary tillers and start the actual grooming process. The rotary tillers pulverize the snow crystals and remove even more air, and then the snow is compressed under the weight of the machine. This process seals the snow surface making it more resistant to wear from skiers, snowboarders and warmer temperatures. The initial ‘track packing’ and first grooming of the snow surface creates that first layer on which the season is built.”

Track Packing Lower Bowl

The grooming crew did an outstanding job track packing the lower slopes, and they were able to get a tiller groom on the Multorpor chair runs.  The snow now needs to sit for a few days and nights to set-up.  With the temperature so warm, if we tried to open for skiing right now, the base would be skied off in one day and we would have to close.  After a few clears nights, all the moisture in the snow should freeze up, giving us a more solid base to work with.

Mt. Hood Lane with a tiller groom

At this time the plan is to open this Friday, 1-17-14 at 3:00pm.  By Thursday afternoon we will know what lifts we will be able to open up for the weekend and will announce it on the website and snow phone (503-222-BOWL).

Skibowl would like to thank all our loyal season pass holders for your patience and understanding during this difficult start to the season.  Keep in mind that we normally ski well into April, so there is still a lot of time left to make up once the snow comes.  Stay positive, keep doing your snow dances and we will see you on the slopes soon!

Team Skibowl

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Mt. Hood Skibowl is an equal opportunity service provider and employer. This institution operates under a special use permit issued by the Mt. Hood National Forest, USDA Forest Service