What a difference a year can make. Last year’s early ski season at Bogus Basin was a total bust. I’ve been skiing Bogus since the mid-Eighties, (season pass holder since 1998), and we were always skiing by Christmas. That wasn’t the case for the 2011-12 ski season. The resort didn’t even open until January 19th. This season Bogus Basin was able to open on December 21st.
At this point, you still wouldn’t be able call this a “banner” year. The resort actually opened with somewhere around a 14-15 inch base. In years past, it seems to me that they wouldn’t open it unless they had around a 20 inch base. I suspect that Bogus Basin management wanted to avoid to successive years of not being open for Christmas. Although the snow is a bit thin in places, I think the gamble has paid off.
Now, here is the other interesting observation that I have made. Conventional wisdom says that you shouldn’t be skiing off-trail in these conditions. However, I’ve been out 5 days already, and most of my runs have been off-trail. I’ve put a couple of very minor scratches in my bases, and my son-in-law who snowboards has one that was decent, but certainly not a core shot. So what contributes to this? Here is my theory, (I’d be interested in other’s experiences/theories).
- I know the mountain very well. I’ve skied every inch of it and have mountain biked and hiked many sections. So, I have a very good idea of where the trouble is.
- Equipment; my ski that I use for all-mountain terrain is a pair of Rossignol S6 skis. They are 110 underfoot, which isn’t extremely wide, but it sure beats the old 70-80 mm skis that I used to ski on. The “float” that these skis or boards provide keeps us up higher and allows us to avoid many of the obstacles that we used to hit.
In regards to point “1” above, what if you don’t have a “home” area that you know so well, or if you are at another resort early season? Here are a few thoughts:
- Try to find and ski/ride with someone who has that in-depth knowledge.
- Look for areas that hold more snow; north facing slopes, natural openings in the trees or brushy areas, and on the leeward side of ridgelines. (These suggestions are for inbounds, patrolled terrain, not backcountry).
- Avoid obvious rock zones, areas in the trees where there are a lot of downed trees and the steeper/gnarly terrain.
Here are a couple of videos that show the early season conditions, and I slipped in a third one that shows what I had to do “for kicks” last Christmas with no snow. So, the bottom-line for me is any snow is better than no snow!!! J
Here is an unofficial guide to skiing Bogus Basin (my home area), that features GPS enabled maps and video tours.
The official Bogus Basin web site is: http://www.bogusbasin.org/