Originally Posted by SkiMangoJazz
Nice to hear a mogul skier appreciating corduroy. Those are beautiful shots and boy would I enjoy carving it up on that surface!
Thanks... I'll take that as a compliment!
Originally Posted by stevesmith7
Can I ask a grooming question? Some of the terrain in your cord shots looks kind of steep. I remember 20 years ago people going to great lengths to groom steep slope including winching cats on cables, etc. What changed? Are the machines different to allow steeper operation?
Actually, the terrain in those pix isn't super steep. Definitely some steeper pitches, but nothing >22deg. However, there have been some significant equipment advances, most of which occurred in the mid to later 1980s. Winching is mainstream at this point. Nearly every ski area has at least one winch cat to groom the steeper terrain. The first iterations of winch machines required two snowcats to winch a trail. One cat had a front-mount winch, and this cat was essentially stationary. The other cat was a standard grooming cat that would hook onto the winch cable with its blade. The operator in the winch cat would use a big control panel to pull and lower the grooming cat. Now, winches are a capstan style, and it only takes one cat to winch a trail. The overhead winch boom allows the winch cable to be hooked onto a tree or a concrete pick point, and then the operator grooms as normal, but also operates the winch to assist with climbing and to help avoid sliding.
Originally Posted by skier219
Very nice. I am really fascinated by grooming these days (snow grooming that is; my wife tells me I need to shave my ski beard and improve my personal habits). Which brings me to a question that came up in today's skiing; at my local mountain, they scavenged snow from closed trails and jumps in the closed terrain park to fill in some bare spots and lay out some fairly nice connector paths (about 1-2 feet deep) around lifts. Some of the snow would have been transported over a distance, maybe across a road at one point. We were wondering if a snow cat has any ability to pick up and carry quantities of snow, or would the resort have used some sort of bucket loader / dump truck?
Speaking of cats on steep terrain, I watched a cat slide down a steep trail sideways at Alta last season. I assumed it wasn't intentional. The guy barely pulled out of the slide in time to miss a building...
You can actually get a bucket loader attachment for a cat, but most areas don't use them. Some park cats have the ability to "carry" a small amount of snow, but not enough for something like rebuilding lift ramps. Most likely, they just pushed huge blades of snow, one blade at a time, to get the snow where they wanted it. This is called "majoring."
Sliding is part of the fun. It's rarely intentional, it's often scary, but it's usually quite a rush. Even happens on steeper intermediate cruisers if the snow is soft. Learning how to steer in a slide is a challenge, but there are all sorts of tricks you can use. I was just a couple feet from taking a demo cat into the woods on a steep sidehill pitch after 3 feet of snow. Pulled out just in time.
Originally Posted by johnnysdg
Where is that? It looks awesome!
Mt. Ellen @ Sugarbush. And thanks!