Thursday, January 6, 2011

West Mountain: 01/05/2011

Last night I renewed my nearly 20-year tradition of skiing Wednesday nights at West Mountain, from early January into March, with my local telemark ski buddies. Our telemark group usually ranges between 12 and 20 skiers on any given Wednesday night, and a surprisingly high number have been part of the group for as long as or longer than me. Sure, I ski with these guys and gals at Gore and elsewhere, but the common element that defines our group is Wednesday nights at West.

I expect to provide an update on the conditions at West for most of the Wednesday nights that I ski this winter. Sometimes we luck into a powder night, sometimes the surfaces can be scraped down to icy hardpack – just don’t expect a ton of photos.

Telemarker on Mach last night

The parking lot was full last night for the Queensbury Invitational high school race, but the slopes were almost empty. Snowmaking operations were in high gear – I counted more than 20 high-tech fan guns blasting two top-to-bottom runs. We lapped a bunch of runs on one of those (the Mach trail), where the guns had piled up the snow into mounds and whales which were a blast to ski over and launch off. Conditions were generally very good away from the guns too, with lots of loose machine-groomed snow on trails like Alley and Bannister. The exception was on the Face, where the snow was noticeably firmer and the guns were kicking out a wetter, stickier snow. I got 10 or 12 runs in by the time we all headed into the bar for refreshment.

Last night was my first introduction to West Mountain’s new SnowDAG ticketing system. I noticed a number of other improvements at the mountain as well: lighting improvements, brush clearing and widening of the double chair lift line, some new trails that had been cut, and additional base lodge renovations.

With snow in the forecast over the weekend, and cold temperatures for continuing snowmaking operations, things are looking good for this weekend and next Wednesday night.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with JF, conditions were great, especially considering the weather. it was a bit disheartening to see no snow at all on the Midway trail under the northwest triple, just grass. thank god for snow making. Hopefully this storm will change that. But West has done a great job.