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What is good grooming? - Page 2

post #31 of 46

It really is amazing how much the techniques of different crews can vary.  I agree with everyone who said the grooming at Squaw is horrible - it really is for the most part (except maybe Shirley). Especially compared to Northstar.  Of course, when you look at the clientele and terrain at each resort, it makes sense that N* would place more emphasis on the groomers while Squaw is more worried about avy control work, roping off specific terrain on some days, etc.

post #32 of 46

Overheard at snow bird a few years back,at the top og Big Emma, " this is a GREEN run! It's got Moguls! I never saw MOGULS on a GREEN run!!  I smiled all the way down to the parking lot.  Ski Dude, a lot of the Blues off Storm Peak at Steamboat are groomed in just that manner, the edges are left to bump up and the centers are mowed.  At least they used to do it that way, have not been there in a few years.

post #33 of 46
Quote:

But really, my local hill now has "Best Grooming in the West" on their front page

What local hill is this (I see you are in the PNW)? I don't think any of our local areas put the attention into grooming that you get in, say, Sun Valley or Deer Valley or other destination resorts that don't get the kind of snow we do. Crystal is saying they now have the best in the Northwest, but that's not really saying much. And that's fine--sure, groomers are fun, but here they just get snowed on and skied out, and everything ends up bumpy anyway.

 

From Crystal's website:

 

Quote:

New for 2012-2013

Three Pisten-Bully Snow Cats
Can you hear them purring? We purchased 3 new top-of-the-line 600 PistenBully snow cats, which feature new flex tillers that will lay down the best corduroy you’ve even seen. With these new cats, and our newer winch cats, we’ll have the best grooming fleet in the Northwest. If you thought our grooming was good before, just wait until you see what these kitties will do. The price tag – $1 million.

 

post #34 of 46

IMHO and from actual experience:

 

Best grooming:

Northstar

Beaver Creek

 

closely followed by:

Copper Mountain

Solitude

Breckenridge

June Mountain ( I hope that they reopen next season.)

 

I was unimpressed by Deer Valley when it didn't fulfill the high expectations based on previous claims.

 

I have low expectations at Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, and Kirkwood, but have been surprised on a few occasions by some well groomed runs. However, groomers aren't the reason to go to these resorts.

post #35 of 46

       I'm not really sure what makes for "good" grooming, but I know what makes bad grooming! I really don't mind groomers, they can be fun during dry spells and are good for working on edging and carving skills. That is, if the grooming is somewhat consistant. What is annoying, and actually kind of dangerous is hard groomed snow with sharp edges between passes and big divots out of the track.  I hate to admit it, but I get more freaked out by this kind of terrain that almost anything off piste! I am curious about what percentage of skiing injuries are cat-track related.  

       The basic problem, I believe, is that mountains are not parking lots or even golf courses, that is, they are pretty far from flat! The groomer has to try to make some parts flat, and sometimes the results are mixed. This is not meant to disparage the grooming crews, I'm sure they do the best they can, but some of the bumpier, curvier  bits of the mountain are probably best left au naturel.

    I guess I am in the "less is more" camp as far as grooming goes.

post #36 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Christy319 View Post

What local hill is this (I see you are in the PNW)? I don't think any of our local areas put the attention into grooming that you get in, say, Sun Valley or Deer Valley or other destination resorts that don't get the kind of snow we do. Crystal is saying they now have the best in the Northwest, but that's not really saying much. And that's fine--sure, groomers are fun, but here they just get snowed on and skied out, and everything ends up bumpy.

All groomed runs end up bumpy after skier traffic take its toll. Honestly, I think Chrystal's grooming is generally very very good given the topography of the place, and certainly improved over last year. Every once in awhile you see a bad bot of work on a particular spot, but the main groomers are all plush and prepped to lay'em down first thing in the morning. Of course if thers"'s fresh snow, there's not much point.smile.gif
post #37 of 46

Nub's Nob = good grooming

 

Granted they are much smaller than most places, but the surface they put down is amazing.

 

Places out west may groom a lot, but I often see a lot of "sloppy" grooming - lap lines, ridges, potholes, cookies

post #38 of 46

"Grooming??!?" What is this "grooming" you speak of?  rolleyes.gif      (There actually is grooming at Whitewater. But not much, compared to most places.)     

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

 

Well generally:

 

  • "Half cuts" are great when done...bascially each pass, overlaps the last pass, by "half".  This creates a smooth as carpet with no ridglines at all.
  • Grading - good grooming, basically cuts the peaks off, and fills in the holes, and doesnt hit dirt ever.....this is easier said then done, and most operators just follow the terrain, and some screw up and rip dirt...not good, because the dirt is now in the snow, so it cant be fixed really. 
  • time of night - when the grooming is done makes a huge difference in what you get.  Better skiers prefer the snow to be groomed immediatley after skiing closes as the snow is "groomed" then it has all night to "set", this creates a hard fast surface.  "Skidders" (read most people), prefer the grooming to be done as late at night as possible, after the snow is set (so the groomer rips it up just before morning, and no time to reset)...this ensures the snow is still really soft first thing the next morning...however, the snow often gets "ball bearings" all over the place (which suck) and then the soft snow gets scrapped off to hard snow underneith very quickly and leaves little piles of soft crap everywhere....
  • Total areas covered

 

Well, if you have to do it, the above would appear to be a good summary.

 

And if you don't have freshies, going out first thing on a good pair of relatively narrow carving skis and laying railroad tracks before the runs fill up is a lot of fun. You get to really see if you're truly carving. Can you do true arc-to-arc turns for 1,600 vertical feet without letting your speed go completely nuts? Finish your turns enough to control speed and initiate the next one cleanly? Tip your skis far enough so you can brush a hand on the corduroy without crouching over or tipping your shoulders to the inside of the turn?

 

Play with what you've got.

post #39 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Christy319 View Post

What local hill is this (I see you are in the PNW)? I don't think any of our local areas put the attention into grooming that you get in, say, Sun Valley or Deer Valley or other destination resorts that don't get the kind of snow we do. Crystal is saying they now have the best in the Northwest, but that's not really saying much. And that's fine--sure, groomers are fun, but here they just get snowed on and skied out, and everything ends up bumpy anyway.

 

From Crystal's website:

 

 

To be clear, I wasn't in the least upset by the claim (by Crystal)...assumed it was marketing speak but it did trigger the question of what actually would constitute the "best" grooming in the west, northwest, near east, or east st. louis for that matter.  The banner with "best grooming in the west" quote was in the carousel at the top of the home page...or at least I'm 90% sure that is what it said. It is no longer there.

post #40 of 46

Another angle here is the question of tactical grooming vs. strategic grooming. Most of the comments have been about tactical grooming - how does what they did last night affect my first run this morning. I understand - or think I do - that there is a longer-range strategic element to it as well. For example, I was at Sunday River a week or so before Christmas. They had had almost no natural snow, but there was 8 - 10" of fresh. It was a weekday. Pretty much the only people there were the die-hard powder hounds who played hooky or were going back to scut jobs in the dishroom or were plain rich or whatever. Imagine our disappointment - but not, in retrospect, profound surprise, Sunday River being what it is - when we discovered that most of the open runs had been GROOMED. frown.gif  The explanation that we received via the telephone game was that they were desperately trying to lock in a base for the Christmas week. In other words, they weren't grooming for US (hardly); they were grooming for the people who were going to be there a week later.
 

post #41 of 46

Aspen ski corp does a great job with the Beasts.  The rookie on Aspen Mt. has seven years experience, loves his work and it shows.

 

 

How can you not love groomers?   If you don't love them now, you better learn, because that's were everyone finishes their ski career.

post #42 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

............

 

How can you not love groomers?   If you don't love them now, you better learn, because that's were everyone finishes their ski career.

 

 

Fundamental truth of the Universe!  Now, how do I go about convincing the local hills to invest in Beasts??

post #43 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by afski722 View Post

Nub's Nob = good grooming

 

Granted they are much smaller than most places, but the surface they put down is amazing.

 

Places out west may groom a lot, but I often see a lot of "sloppy" grooming - lap lines, ridges, potholes, cookies

 

Yeah, you get spoiled skiing Nubs.  I've been to a lot of places known for groomers (Deer Valley, PCMR, Vail, Beaver Creek, Bretton Woods, Mt snow, Tremblant) and none of them as consistently great grooming as Nubs.

 

Then again, my tastes may be different. One of the things I see a lot out west is lightly grooming a run and only doing it every couple of days.  And by 'lightly grooming' i mean that they just smooth it out without packing it down.  This makes for fantastic conditions for the first half hour - nice smooth soft creamy snow - but after ten am it's pushed around into piles of proto moguls and it's like skiing over speed bumps.  When they do this the groomer has compacted the snow enough that it's dense (and therefore lumpy when skied out), but not enough to keep it in place so the surface stays smooth.

 

No doubt that this is in response to complaints about the snow being 'too hard' but the fact remains that if the snow starts out "firm' in the morning it will still be smooth in the afternoon, while snow that starts out soft will be lumpy by noon.

 

So my take on grooming is that it's like shaving - if you're going to do it, you need to do it every day and do a thorough job.   Otherwise you just look scruffy.  No problem with areas leaving some or even most of the terrain ungroomed, but once they start grooming it needs to be re-groomed regularly (or left completely natural).

 

My $.02

post #44 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt View Post

 

Then again, my tastes may be different. One of the things I see a lot out west is lightly grooming a run and only doing it every couple of days.  And by 'lightly grooming' i mean that they just smooth it out without packing it down.  This makes for fantastic conditions for the first half hour - nice smooth soft creamy snow - but after ten am it's pushed around into piles of proto moguls and it's like skiing over speed bumps.  When they do this the groomer has compacted the snow enough that it's dense (and therefore lumpy when skied out), but not enough to keep it in place so the surface stays smooth.

 

No doubt that this is in response to complaints about the snow being 'too hard' but the fact remains that if the snow starts out "firm' in the morning it will still be smooth in the afternoon, while snow that starts out soft will be lumpy by noon.

 

 

Um, no, I don't think they do it in response to the snow being "too hard."  Groomed snow stays softer out West because the water content is much lighter to begin with, and the air temp typically cold enough to keep the snow from melting together to make it firm.  They didn't set the groomer to "fluffy," they are just working with different snow.

post #45 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post

 

Um, no, I don't think they do it in response to the snow being "too hard."  Groomed snow stays softer out West because the water content is much lighter to begin with, and the air temp typically cold enough to keep the snow from melting together to make it firm.  They didn't set the groomer to "fluffy," they are just working with different snow.

 

My experience is that even out west the runs that are groomed daily set up firmer  than the runs that are groomed less frequently, which only makes sense since every time you run a multi-ton groomer over the snow it packs down.  I hear you about the snow being different to start with, but the grooming frequency and settings (e.g. a groomer operator can adjust the amount of pressure on the snow and the tiller depth) definitely affect the results.

 

I see this whenever I ski "across the street" at Boyne.  Despite being only about a mile apart, the groomer settings produce very different snow conditions.  In fact, the groomers at Boyne and the groomers at Big Sky are remarkably similar in their 'once over lightly' approach.


Edited by Walt - 1/31/13 at 10:23am
post #46 of 46

Don't kick up rocks, make death cookies or strange trenches/divots you can't see (because groomers encourage speed) until you're right on top of them.  Some areas still don't have this part down.

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