or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Lift opening status on powder days
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Lift opening status on powder days

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
On powder days at mountains which have regular avalanche control work for opening up dangerous areas, I would like to see status on those areas posted say on chalk boards at lifts in other areas of a mountain. Sometimes one will endlessly inefficiently hang about one of these lifts not knowing when the lift will actually open. Often the lift attendents in the area have no clue but get constant questions. Of course those doing the control work don't know exactly when that might be but they ought to be able to post some kind of gross estimated time. I suspect sometimes resort locals may like it this way as there is usually a grapevine of gossip among such who thus get some obvious advantage. Opinions on this and what are other members experiences across various resorts? -dave

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ October 28, 2001 01:24 PM: Message edited 1 time, by dave_SSS ]</font>
post #2 of 13
I'm not sure which ski area you might be talking about. I can think of a couple that are real good about letting skiers know about lift closures and openings. ..Maybe you could be more specific. --I think most ski areas are in a 'listening' mode this year. You just might get the attention of the manager of your intended hill with a little input this year. Hard times in the ski world can really change the way places are run.
post #3 of 13
Dave, I feel your pain. Not to be a smart ass, but avy control work isn't like making a pizza.
When you consider that:
Lives are at stake.
That snow science is barely understood.
That the work to address wind loaded cornices is very slow.
Tactics for ensuring safety of that slope may change unexpectedly.

The notion of providing regular updates for the public is ludicrous and certainly irresponsible.

Copper has lost three lives, that I'm aware of, in the line of duty doing avy control work. That speaks volumes on this topic.

Back to your pain... It's a tough call to know when access to the fresh snow on the slope you desire will open. I'll grab a mountain radio on those days and wait for the "all call". You could kinda do the same and stake out at some location where a mountain radio can be heard and wait for the same type annoucement. In both my case and yours, the people who are waiting by the lift are still gonna get the freshies first.

Anyway, what fun would there be for you and me if everyone knew when. Ever been shoved on a powder day while skiing a line in area? I have. Some riders (skiers & snowboarders) get really agro on pow-pow days. It's kinda ugly at times. I wouldn't want every hoo-haa to know when the rope got dropped. It would be a zoo.

Regardless, it's a good question that you pose. I think most would suggest that you go backcountry, do your own avy work, and get the freshies first and last. :
post #4 of 13
You have a valid question.
Much depends on the area,the level of experience the avalanche hazard reduction personnel have, and the history of the area.
Alta for example usually has most of their terrain controlled by the time the lifts are open. They also have a great patrol and a/c program. When I worked at Park City mountain resort, the gate to jupiter bowl was off by itself with little or no supervision. This led to some big lines and pi$$ed off people, especially on snow days when the area would not open til 10:30 or later.
At Big Sky, we organize our control plan according to different factors, but the crux is that we try to have the challenger area open at 9:00 so the guests have some good terrain to keep them entertained until the bowl area (lone peak triple chair) is ready. 10:00-10:30. The South Face area (lone peak tram) is usually last to open due to the length and number of the routes. Our locals are used to this and follow the openings around the mountain.
If we are opening the tram by 10:30, I am smiling. If its later than 11:15 I am grumpy. We keep in contact with our guest services dept. so they have answers to guest inquiries, but not all of them carry radios.
So many things can influence opening times that there is no reason to get bent out of shape by it. I ski a lot of days off and get as antsy as anyone else when I am standing in a line. A patroller friend from Bridger Bowl likes to remind the locals that its about skiing, not curing cancer and if things take a little longer than normal it shouldn't be the end of the world. We are all trying our best.
post #5 of 13
When supervising, or working in certain jobs on a mountain you find the radio is invaluable even when not working - so that when you are freeskiing you can keep updated on all the openings and closing so as to stay ahead of the game.

But since very few ski areas employ any channel scrambling - you can just buy an inexpensive Radio Shack portable scanner, get an earpiece for it and find all the frequencies for any ski area right on the internet.
post #6 of 13
I think that's just part of the game. Most places I ski do a pretty decent job of updating boards, but a lot of it is just paying attention and being at the right place at the right time. Getting to know the mountain a bit, but also being lucky. Like the time a friend and I decided to bop over to Supreme at Alta one day, just in case, just a few folks there, waited at the lift for about 20-25 minutes and ended up being third chair; by the time we got on the chair, the line was already well past the ropes, and people haven't even started to see skiers up yet -- a pretty epic day. You just got to relax and enjoy yourself and things will work out once in a while -- its all good!

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ October 28, 2001 07:02 PM: Message edited 1 time, by Lodro ]</font>
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
PinHed wrote:
"...The notion of providing regular updates for the public is ludicrous and certainly irresponsible..."

Since some places do provide some level of this information already and it doesn't have anything to do with adding to putting the avy crews in danger as you seem to be somehow inferring, your reaction seems a bit strong. Maybe you read something into my post because I did not consider some ramifications. Please explain if so. All I am saying PinHed is that by making some effort to inform the public better some customers are going to appreciate it. Nobody would expect such information to be very firm but the difference between none and some information goes some of the way towards letting customers plan their lift and terrain selection more efficiently. On some mornings there are going to be a lot of unknowns and the message might be something like "The avalanche control team should know by 10am when lift 8 will open."
This would tell customers they might as well ski someplace else for a good while and then start checking later. These are questions that many powder skiers are keenly wondering about.

Todd wrote:
"...you can just buy an inexpensive Radio Shack portable scanner, get an earpiece for it and find all the frequencies for any ski area right on the internet..."
Thanks Todd for that fine advice.

Lodro wrote:
"I think that's just part of the game..."

Exactly this is what it usually ends up being about. The local grapevine of locals of course have the big advantage.

BSR, the attitude at the awesome terrain at Big Sky sounds considerate. On powder days with the low numbers of skiers and huge terrain, one would be guaranteed to have a great day regardless with lots of trackless runs. It has definetly been on my list of places I hope to visit. -dave

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ October 28, 2001 09:20 PM: Message edited 1 time, by dave_SSS ]</font>
post #8 of 13
Just join the Patrol... problem solved.
post #9 of 13
Many of us have access to mountain radios AK, but I think the point here is how avid skiers who *don't* work on a mountain can stay on top of the opening/closure game.
post #10 of 13
Dave, I reread my post and I agree I was too harsh. Sorry. Two bad days in a row. A close friend of mine from Maryland died yesterday and a close workmate of mine from Copper died today.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ October 29, 2001 04:43 PM: Message edited 1 time, by PinHed ]</font>
post #11 of 13
The "which lift next" game on powder days is part of the fun! It's a blend of psychology and operational strategy analysis. One of the big advantages of being a local is that you (1) have the upperrhand in knowing the powder-day-lift-opening habits of a resort, and (2) you are plugged-in to the inside information flow. Hint: If you are standing in a long line waiting for a lift to open on a powder day, and people in the line start whispering to each other, and everyone with old/tattered/duct-taped clothing (but this year's fat skis) start ducking out and heading elsewhere -- follow them!
post #12 of 13
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by AC:
...and people in the line start whispering to each other, and everyone with old/tattered/duct-taped clothing (but this year's fat skis) start ducking out and heading elsewhere -- follow them!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yep, keep your eye's and ears open. And btw, it (usually) never hurts to ask the people that might know. People aren't as insular as you might think. Try asking the guy you're riding up with, 'when do you think that gate will open?' Ski Patrol and especially instructors if not otherwise occupied are also usually happy to share tidbits about the mountain. For the most part, people want to share their knowledge and love of the mountain, I think.
post #13 of 13
There is no better conversation than the one you have with the idiot that thought that because it snowed 2 feet last night the lift would open promptley at 8:00am like it does every weekend their there. Come to find out the line at 8:00 is a mile long filled with "duct tape and brand new fat/midfats", and most everything is almost already skied off! Man are they pissed and you've got the biggest grin plastered to your face while you tell them "oopps you didn't know to be here at 6:30 with a cup of coffee?" Suckers! befriend your local bartender in the ski town of your choice and get the inside scoop. It might take a sizable tip but worth it.

--There's no such thing as friends on a powder day!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Skiing Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Lift opening status on powder days