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Does weather really matter if you are skiing groomers?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
My daughter and I have a trip planned to CO in a few weeks. I find myself watching the weather a lot, but does it really matter? We will ski the groomers, so if it melts during the day, and freezes at night the snow cats will turn it in to cordorouy, right?

If it snows, all the better, we have a fresh coat on the groomers.

Hopefully it won't rain, that would suck.

Maybe one day, when I grow up, I'll graduate to powder and moguls....
post #2 of 24
Of course it matters. It affects the quality of the corduroy and, over time, how long the corduroy lasts before it's skied to nothing but ice. Weather also affects visibility, how hot or cold you are, wind direction and wind chill, on and on. This is an outdoor sport.

Today we started here with fog or dense mist, making it far colder than I expected, then after lunch brilliant sun, and I was opening my pit zips and taking off the mittens. Snow on certain slopes started to soften and get grabby.
post #3 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mcpowell View Post

My daughter and I have a trip planned to CO in a few weeks. I find myself watching the weather a lot, but does it really matter? We will ski the groomers, so if it melts during the day, and freezes at night the snow cats will turn it in to cordorouy, right?

If it snows, all the better, we have a fresh coat on the groomers.

Hopefully it won't rain, that would suck.

Maybe one day, when I grow up, I'll graduate to powder and moguls....


On the one hand, it matters.  If day time temps are in the 20s during your ski trip, the groomers will be different than if there is a warm up into the 40s with freezing temps overnight.  The groomers will be more fun with 4-5 inches of fresh snow on top of the base.  But at the same time, it doesn't make that much difference so watching the weather is less important.  For instance, a powder hound with a quiver might bring different skis depending on the weather forecast.

 

For my trips out west that are planned months in advanced, I usually manage to not look at the weather in detail until a week or two beforehand.  Anything much before then is rarely relevant.  That said, I still read first hand reports for where I'm going.

post #4 of 24

It can matter in the following ways:

 

Visibility

Comfort--Temperature, winds, precipitation

Melt/freeze or rain/freeze--Frozen corderoy in the mornings

Soft groom, new snow, or above freezing at night--Nice at first, but progesses to a chewed up mess.

post #5 of 24
And if it's too warm the snow gets sticky and dumb.
post #6 of 24

I spent last March in Summit County, CO.  For the region it was a particularly warm, dry month they tell me.  I am from the mid-Atlantic and tolerate what pass for sub-par conditions in the West fairly well.:)  I thoroughly enjoyed that whole month and fell into a relaxed pattern where each day I casually rolled into a different Vail resort at about 11am.  By that time any refrozen trail surfaces had softened and the snow was a pleasure to ski for the rest of the day.  I especially enjoyed skiing bump runs that had been firm and less forgiving before the mild weather.  During that month my frequent refrain was, "if you can't have fresh snow, day after day of sunny, 45 degree temps under blue skies isn't a bad alternative."  BTW, I don't ever recall being bothered by rain above any of the bases at the areas I visited during that month.  

 

You have a good attitude and I think you and family will have a great time.

post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toecutter View Post

And if it's too warm the snow gets sticky and dumb.

This has got to be funny, and I just don't get it...how can snow be dumb? th_dunno-1[1].gif
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mcpowell View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toecutter View Post

And if it's too warm the snow gets sticky and dumb.

This has got to be funny, and I just don't get it...how can snow be dumb? th_dunno-1[1].gif

Hmmm.... because it doesn't agree with you?

post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post

I spent last March in Summit County, CO.  For the region it was a particularly warm, dry month they tell me.  I am from the mid-Atlantic and tolerate what pass for sub-par conditions in the West fairly well.smile.gif  I thoroughly enjoyed that whole month and fell into a relaxed pattern where each day I casually rolled into a different Vail resort at about 11am.  By that time any refrozen trail surfaces had softened and the snow was a pleasure to ski for the rest of the day.  I especially enjoyed skiing bump runs that had been firm and less forgiving before the mild weather.  During that month my frequent refrain was, "if you can't have fresh snow, day after day of sunny, 45 degree temps under blue skies isn't a bad alternative."  BTW, I don't ever recall being bothered by rain above any of the bases at the areas I visited during that month.  

You have a good attitude and I think you and family will have a great time.

Being from Georgia, anytime the ground is white it's a lot of snow for me.

My family went skiing the week after Christmas, and had a blast. We enjoyed it so much, my daughter wanted to go back for Spring break. It took less than two minutes to convince me. I read Opensnow every day, and watch as everyone frets over the snow, temps, depth of powder, tracked out, upcoming storms, etc. Heck, it's all got to be better than anything within 3 states of here.

BTW, I'm jealous of a "March in Summit CO". That sounds awesome!
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Of course it matters. It affects the quality of the corduroy and, over time, how long the corduroy lasts before it's skied to nothing but ice. Weather also affects visibility, how hot or cold you are, wind direction and wind chill, on and on. This is an outdoor sport.

Today we started here with fog or dense mist, making it far colder than I expected, then after lunch brilliant sun, and I was opening my pit zips and taking off the mittens. Snow on certain slopes started to soften and get grabby.

^^^This.

 

Nice corduroy is a joy.  Refrozen cord is it's own kind of torture.

post #11 of 24

I try to enjoy my skiing from a variety of different perspectives. Sure, perfect corduroy and fresh powder can make the day more enjoyable but you can always work on a new challenge, a new skill or try to refine what you've got. Or if you're like me, take pleasure in suffering for a good cause - then the weather is less bothersome.

post #12 of 24
Have you ever heard how Inuit have over 100 words for snow? So do skiers. The reason for that is because there are hundreds of different types of snow. All the different types affect the quality of your skiing, on groomers or not. A groomer isn't a magic wand. It only smooths out and mixes up the snow it has to work with, it doesn't change the fundamental quality of the snow that's there. Soft snow will still be soft snow. Wet snow will still be wet snow. Ice will still be ice, it'll just have the top few inches ground up into sugary ice pellets, or big chunks called death cookies and ball bearings. A groomer can't turn ice pellets into snowflakes, but given enough time, they'll turn snowflakes into ice.

So yes, weather, and the snow it produces, matters. A lot.
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mcpowell View Post


This has got to be funny, and I just don't get it...how can snow be dumb? th_dunno-1[1].gif

 

Oh, it's funny alright.

post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mcpowell View Post

My daughter and I have a trip planned to CO in a few weeks. I find myself watching the weather a lot, but does it really matter? We will ski the groomers, so if it melts during the day, and freezes at night the snow cats will turn it in to cordorouy, right?

If it snows, all the better, we have a fresh coat on the groomers.

Hopefully it won't rain, that would suck.

Maybe one day, when I grow up, I'll graduate to powder and moguls....

 

Here's my example from my experience... I'm also a groomer-only skier.

 

I skied out west at Vail for the first time last year. I had heard how great conditions were likely to be, but they'd had some warm weather. Thankfully they got 7" the day before we got there which helped refresh things. The first day conditions on the groomers were really good - smooth snow, not much ice - equivalent to very good conditions for the mid-Atlantic where I usually ski. So it was good - but not the amazing stories I'd heard. Conditions got a bit worse each day after that as the warm weather deteriorated them - harder, icy spots, etc.

 

Then I went to Aspen this year, where they got 40" and really cold temps in the couple of days before I got there. NOW I finally got to experience what great conditions are like on groomers. Everything the first morning was soft, turns were easier, everything was smoother, and it makes you feel like you're better than you are. It was fantastic.

 

So yes, the weather still matters to me, even as a groomer-only skier. And of course, get out there early, because groomers are best first thing in the morning too!

post #15 of 24
Yes
post #16 of 24
Yes, fresh powder makes a big difference. That said, CO doesn't get as icy as other places.
post #17 of 24

It matters more than any other factor.  Temps, cloud cover, precip, barometer, it all matters quite a lot.  It even changes dramatically through the day.

post #18 of 24
Had an early season client ski day in UT this year - it rained the that night in PC, to be honest the next AM, the groomers were awesome. Soft and easy to rip a turn without being slushy at all. We were sweating bullets about conditions - but they were great bell to bell.
post #19 of 24

Sure it can matter.

 

But I bet it won't matter enough to stop you and your daughter from having a great time.  Especially if the weather turns, but you're willing to ski anyway and ask for local intel on where -- and where not -- to ski (lifties, ski hosts, ski patrol, instructors).

 

Example:  A few years ago in Sun Valley with my wife, it was drizzling very lightly at the bottom, and snowing wetly at the top.  A grizzled ski host recommended the opposite of what I would have guessed.  He said stay down low and ski all by yourselves until you're wet.  It turned out to be a great day.  At 1:30, just before our clothes broke through and we quit, we were still skiing over untracked, rain-softened corduroy.  We later found out that there were less than 500 people skiing that day.  Best day ever?  Of course not, but one we'll never forget!

post #20 of 24

You can't really go wrong in most conditions out west.  Cold & snowy is great.  Warm & sunny is enjoyable to and feels great to have laid back spring days.

 

The only conditions I find that are not super enjoyable when you get a day of clouds, flat light, and/or wind after a warm sunny day where the mountain turns into boilerplate and never softens up. Particularly if they groomed when the snow was still soft and temps above freezing from the day before.  

post #21 of 24
Thread Starter 
Well, here's to hoping we don't meet up with any death cookies or frozen chickens.

But, and I hope this doesn't jinx anything, right now the forecast is looking pretty good for the week leading up to March 12th.

Counting down the days....
post #22 of 24

Watching out for frozen chickens on the trail.

 

 

:)

post #23 of 24

The quality of groomers is dependent on the mountain terrain and snowpack base itself, the weather, and the groomer crew.

It's like baking a cake. you need the right baking ingredients, the right baking equipment, and the right baker to put it all together.

 

 

BUT, with respect to the weather, the main thing to take away is if there's nothing you can do about it, don't worry about it.  No use worrying about things you can't change

post #24 of 24

I'll say, if your skis are tuned well and you have good technique then you'll be able to have a better time in these tough winters. Yea the snowmakers and groomers can really do magic. Make sure you say thinks to the mt Op's guy's if you see then around the hill.

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