Originally Posted by Sugaree
How long should 25 inches of dry powder stay un-touched before grooming it out into packed powder??
I know, this question seems vague.....
Simply put, how long should the soft bumps and crud stay on the mountain before it gets groomed?? 2 days?? 3?? 5?? 8??
Even if the powder were to remain "unspoiled" by skiers, the wind, temps, or rain would make quick work of it. The longest I have ever seen dry powder (12" or more) last is about 7 days.
Snow with some moisture to it sometimes lasts a bit longer. I'm thinking of the Valentines Day and St. Patrick's Day storms from (I think it was two seasons ago). Although neither of those storms dumped dry powder, the snow did stick around for quite a while (and extended spring skiing by around 2 wks in my estimation).
Examples of instances in which dry powder didn't last:
1. On the Sunday before Christmas Gore Mtn. in NY got MORE than 25 inches of dry powder (closer to 36" over Sat/Sun). I skied it on Sunday, I skied it again on Tuesday, on Wed. December 24th, 2008 it rained. The result was a powder massacre on a grand and depressing scale.
2. Check MRG's web site right now. They got 4'+ of snow over a week's time (first dump Wed. Feb. 18, 2009 supplemented on Sat. 2/21 and Sun. 2/22. Then last Friday, (yes, you guessed it), it rained. Here's a quote from MRG's web site:
Fortunately our Single Chair Weather Blogger, Josh Fox projects a snow storm to refresh conditions with 6-10" beginning this evening and into Monday. Friday's "meteorological sucker punch" turned our 5 1/2' of new snow from truly epic in scope to well, not so much.
IMHO, in the East something else (wind, freeze/thaw, rain, locusts, plague, etc.) will take care of the powder "problem" you describe long before the "right" time comes to groom it. I suspect that's why some Eastern ski areas (that shall remain nameless) "preemtively" groom the very next (frickin') night after a storm hits in an effort to keep the snow (or whatever it's going to turn into) on their slopes.