Sunday, December 11, 2011
Gore Mountain: 12/11/2011
Today was the kind of day you just had to be outside: blue skies, temperatures in the upper 20s, and a coating of snow on the mountain to brighten the landscape.
I wasn't sure what to expect at Gore this weekend. We had taken last weekend off because the expected conditions (basically a repeat of opening weekend) didn't really seem to warrant rearranging our family's schedule to squeeze in a day of skiing (now that's not something you'll hear me say often). Since we've finally gotten into a several day stretch of favorable snowmaking temperatures, it seemed like Sunday would be the pick of the weekend, allowing the mountain to get in an additional day and night of snowmaking. That strategy paid off with nice skiing surfaces, great weather and minimal crowds.
Terrain choices are still limited (basically a choice of either Foxlair or Ruby Run to Sunway/Quicksilver/3B), but the available trails were well covered with nice machine-made packed powder that didn't get scratchy until the end of the day.
Gone are the areas of sketchy coverage that we saw on opening weekend: Foxlair's "headwall," the patchy snow on Sunway under the gondola, and the so-called "cocoa corner" - named for the color of the snow when it mixed with mud and gravel on Quicksilver's steepest pitch.
For the most part we were not skiing through snowmaking, although there was a series of guns going on Sunway from the Saddle area down to the Wild Air junction. But snowmaking operations were underway all day on Top Ridge, Pine Knot, Lower Sunway, and the learning area. Guns were staged at the top of Arena and crews appeared to be setting guns on Showcase, so those spots seem likely to get attention next. The big question is when will snowmaking crews be able to get to the summit area? Skiers will need huge cooperation from Mother Nature (think COLD) to get Hawkeye open for next weekend, but it looks promising for the following weekend.
At the end of the day, Beth, Daniel and I picked up Sylvie from the day care (I can't say enough good things about Gore's Bear Cub Den day care), and suited her up for her second "lesson" - basically playing around with her on snow for 40 minutes or so.
It's hard to convey the excitement and enthusiasm skiers feel about getting back on the snow again, but Daniel captured it when his Mountain Adventure instructor from last year, Bob, skied up and asked Daniel how his summer was. His answer: "Too long!"