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WJenness

Gunstock - 1/14/2018

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Went to Gunstock yesterday on a voucher with a friend.

It was pretty rough.

If I had paid $88 to ski that yesterday, I would have been pretty upset.

On Thursday, they were reporting 47 trails opened, 40 of which were groomed.

By the time the storm cleared out, they were down to 25 trails. (Snow report has them back up to 40 today, but I honestly find that hard to believe based on what I skied yesterday.)

The top of the mountain felt like (slightly) pulverized granite to slabbed granite. There was nothing resembling snow on the top half of the mountain. This was the firmest surface I remember skiing since the time I accidentally went down a race groomed Obsession at Sunday River about 6 years ago, the day before the NorAm race that had been water injected.

Lower down, some of the trails were groomed out pretty decently (best trails of the day we found were Sidearm and Tiger, Upper Smith/Smith was pretty decent as well). The best looking trail of the day was probably Cannonball, which had a race going on, so was not publicly accessible. 

The flash freeze hit them HARD. There were places where it looked like the water froze so fast it went from rushing down the hill to frozen in place with some serious air bubbles beneath the surface. Streams of water in the parking lot leading to storm drains had frozen in place and were pretty deep.

There was no evidence of snow making effort post thaw (which probably makes sense for them given this coming weekend's forecast). The only possible exception was the very top of the Penny Pitou lift (beginner chair), the surface for the first 50ish vertical feet was nice, and then it went to sheer white ice. It was NOT a good day to be learning yesterday, but there were a ton of people on the magic carpet and the Pitou lift... Easily the longest lift lines on the hill.

Anything without snowmaking is down to practically bare ground at this point.

The Blundersmoke park looked like it had just been built out in preparation for the weekend, but now it is closed. There is a bare strip running totally across the trail about ten feet long towards the bottom (guessing there was a river running there post deluge), all of the takeoffs are practically gone, and the rails are all sadly flopped over at 30-45 degree angles.

Underneath the walkway that connects the two halves of the main lodge, the ground around the ticket windows was covered by anywhere from one to three inches of solid ice. There was a poor guy who spent the entirety of his work day hammering on it with a shovel to break up the ice. He had gotten about 20% of it done by the time we left around 2PM. Also saw an excavator being used to break up ice behind the main lodge (parking lot side).

I hope they get some snow or find some serious snow making money in the budget, because they need it.

The snow report says that the snowmaking team 'has a plan' but nothing more specific than that.

-w

 

Edited by WJenness
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So the reference to Snowmaking in Gunstock's mountain report has been removed.

That's a worrying sign.

I wonder if they are having issues (frozen pipes, out of water, etc) or are out of snowmaking budget?

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I spoke with someone that works there today and he said that they actually had to cut through the ice on the hill with a chain saw to create an underground “river?” to drain the water.  Some guy skiing hit a weak spot, broke through and wound up in freezing cold water up to his waist.  I hope they can recover.

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2 hours ago, Catherine said:

I spoke with someone that works there today and he said that they actually had to cut through the ice on the hill with a chain saw to create an underground “river?” to drain the water.  Some guy skiing hit a weak spot, broke through and wound up in freezing cold water up to his waist.  I hope they can recover.

Yikes. sounds like a fun time!

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20 hours ago, Catherine said:

I spoke with someone that works there today and he said that they actually had to cut through the ice on the hill with a chain saw to create an underground “river?” to drain the water.  Some guy skiing hit a weak spot, broke through and wound up in freezing cold water up to his waist.  I hope they can recover.

Oh man! I'm glad I missed out on that fun! Sorry it happened to that guy, though!

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Even though this was much earlier in the year and it's been a lean winter so far, I felt I had to comment. We are local to Gunstock and have had season passes since the 70s. It appears the snowmaking is only used to get open and maybe provide coverage through the holidays. No extra snow piles will be stockpiled to improve or extend season. Once Febuary school vacations are over the fan guns etc go in the barn. The zip line and coaster attractions drained the budget maybe.

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