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By Kim Clark, Bluewood General Manager
It’s mid-November, and the snow is falling. Our Guests and staff are anxiously awaiting news about opening day for Bluewood. What are the factors that we consider in determining when we can open the area?
First off, all regulatory permits and reports must be filed with the appropriate agencies and submitted to the U.S. Forest Service. Once their checklist is complete, they issue Ski Bluewood our letter of operation. That is the easy part.
Next we need to make sure all of our equipment is serviced and ready to go. This includes everything from the lifts, snow grooming equipment and snowmobiles, lodge, retail and rental shops, kitchen and bar to the ticketing system, and on and on and on. Every department has their pre-season start-up routine that involves lots of back-breaking labor and hours of meetings with all of the stakeholders.
Once the snow starts to accumulate, it is time for the tough decisions. The single most important decision is based on Safety. Is there enough snow, and does it have the correct density to provide a good, safe base? If the snow will not compact enough to make a good, solid base you run the risk of going right back down through the snowpack to the rocks, stumps and ground below.
This presents several problems. First is the risk of personal injury on the groomed slopes. Second, as you all know, Bluewood Skiers and Riders love to go to that secret stash of fresh snow, sometimes located off the groomed runs. If they should get hurt during low snowpack, that puts our patrollers and staff at higher risk to go rescue them.
The last part of the equation is what happens if we open too soon and it stops snowing for a while. You might wonder why that matters, as we should be open no matter what. In preparing the slopes for you, our Guests, we must make multiple trips over the snow surface with the snowcats. If we lack adequate snowpack we will be turning up rocks and debris into the snow that will stay with us for the rest of the season and will result in a less-than-desirable skiing/riding surface.
All these factors are taken into consideration before announcing our opening day for the season. While we have received over 30 inches of snow on top of the mountain, and it looks great with over 17 inches of settled snowpack, the base area was almost bare again earlier this week. We realistically need around a minimum of 24 inches of snow to make a safe and enjoyable surface. We ask for your understanding as we wait for the next rounds of forecasted snow. Once we reach an adequate snow level we will need approximately 72 hours to do the final preparations before opening for the year.
We will keep you updated about the conditions on our mountain and want say Thank You for your patience. We are looking forward to a great season!
Please, THINK SNOW…
Hey Tri-Cities--Ski Swap & Gear Sale next weekend!
Are you going to the Snowlander Expo in Spokane tomorrow (Sat., 11/21)? If so, drop by the Bluewood tent! We'd love to...
Rising sun lights up the summit. Top of Skyline Express this morning.
5 days ago: Behind-the-scenes work underway at Bluewood in preparation for opening day. Visit https://t.co/xvpc8GddCg for details from GM Kim Clark.
19 days ago: Last day of season pass sale 11/7. Low as $249 with savings up to $100. Click for $400 bonus offer with pass: https://t.co/SV0Z0130ij
81 days ago: 9/5/15 - First snow of the season--2 inches on top. YEAH! http://t.co/1mvTNHAgRz