Somehow Gore Mountain lucked out last week and landed on the right side of the snow / rain dividing line. Nine inches of snow fell on Friday, and while some rain mixed in, it was nonetheless a snow event, leaving behind a dense white base that now covers the trails, glades and trees.
No, our Christmas chores aren't done yet, but we took a family ski day anyway. And conditions were good enough that we'll probably go back tomorrow. Trail surfaces weren't exactly packed powder, more of a granular - powder mix that was fast but still plenty soft and edgeable. The grooming crews must have done a great job working over Friday's moisture laden snow. We arrived late enough in the morning to have missed the really nice early morning corduroy, but we weren't complaining.
While the skies stayed sunny and blue all morning, clouds and some light snow overspread the mountain by early afternoon. Winds were calm and temperatures were cool but not frigid - ideal ski weather.
Up and down temperatures for most of December have made it difficult for snowmaking crews to expand Gore's trail count, but Pine Knot, Uncas and Tannery are now open along with the Topridge triple chair. Crews have already moved to the summit, and the conditions report for tomorrow indicates the summit will open with Cloud and Headwaters. Hawkeye, Open Pit and Lies should hopefully be not far behind.
Conditions on Uncas were mixed: fun if you don't mind skiing under the guns (I don't mind) and sticky, wet snow (I'm not a big fan). Once the guns there are shut down (I was told they were being shut off at the end of the day), the snow should groom up and get skied into good condition. I'm thinking it should ski pretty nicely tomorrow. But for today, the front-side trails were in decidedly better condition, with our pick being the Foxlair-Sunway-Quicksilver combo.
At this writing, it appears we have a nice stretch of seasonably cold temperatures for the holiday week and beyond. And with luck we have a chance at some snow later in the week. If that happens, with the base that's on the ground now, we could be looking at the possibility of significantly expanded terrain - maybe including some glades - by next weekend. THINK SNOW!!
With a few more trails open, cold, blue sky and a festive Christmas spirit at the mountain, the skiing today seemed even nicer than yesterday. Here's a quick update and some photos from 12/24:
- Snow conditions similar to yesterday, maybe slightly better.
- Summit is now open with Cloud and Headwaters.
- Snowmaking on Hawkeye and Open Pit. Hawkeye looks very close to being ready.
- Snowmaking on Wild Air. Looks ready, but didn't open yet.
- Guns were off Uncas. Really nice snow. Trail was ungroomed and developed some really nice soft bumps. Uncas was my pick of the day.