A lot of people ask me, "Jarod, how hard is it to be so good looking?" Ok, maybe I don't get asked that a lot, but what I do get asked is how does the mountain decide where to make snow, and what will open next. The simple answer is that the mountain doesn't, it is a mountain, a big hunk of risen earth. There are a group of people who make this decision, and the meet at what is known as, "Snowplan."
There are many mysteries surrounding snowplan, where it is, when it is, who goes, whose turn it is to bring snacks. The location, well that is a secret, all I can tell you is that it is in an underground bunker, deep within the heart of the mountain. In this top secret location, which we will now call "The Compound" there is something known as "The Map," which is a giant topographic map with every trail, along with every part of the snowmaking system mapped out.
As you may have noticed, there are some colors drawn in on the map, well this is where the snowmaking plan is mapped out, it is almost like a big version of connect the dots. Different colors mean different things on the map, and as I learned drawing smiley faces on "The Map" and making stellar designs is frowned upon. So, who does all the figuring, planning and coloring? Funny you should ask...STORY TIME! (Cue A-Team Theme)
In October, a crack group of top individuals were charged with opening Sunday River for the season. These men promptly went to work crunching the numbers and drawing up plans on giant maps. Today, and everyday, these brave individuals work as soldiers of fortune. If you crave snow, if no other mountain has it, and even if Mother Nature won't always cooperate, you can count on them...The Snow Team.
Snow plan is run by our mountain manager, Col. Hannibal Smith, (Snowreporter side note...Ok I know that the A-Team doesn't run snowplan, but I have always wanted to be in with the A-Team, so let me have this dream
). Other participants include our weapons specialist Capt. Howling Mad Murdock, or as you may better recognize them, Snowmaking. (Another Snowreporter side note...if you were wondering what the weapons are, they are snow guns. Again, I just ask you to join me, let the dream unfold...after all this is my blog...
) In charge of grooming is Lt. Faceman Peck, and last but not least is Patrol, aka Sgt. B.A. Baracus.
I pity the fool who messes with Patrol
Where do I fit in all of this? Well, seeing as there only four members of the A-Team, and I am more of an information gatherer, I shall play the part of Remington Steele. Why? Two reasons, one being Remington Steele grows up to become James Bond, and really who wouldn't want to be James Bond. Second, do I really need a reason after that?
I don't see why not.
Anyway, I digress...
At snowplan, the team gathers up information conditions from around the mountain, the weather forecast and upcoming events that may need space on the mountain. From there the discussion ensues about where do we make snow, and what gets groomed and when to groom it. Factors in this discussion include how much snow is on a given trail, has the snow made on that trail had a chance to cure, and of course at this point in the season terrain expansion is the top goal of snowplan. How fast can we make quality snow, and in turn open up new trails and start up different lifts. Of course coverage and safety play a role in when patrol drops the ropes on a trail as well. Once all the different factors have been taken into account and colors applied to "The Map" The Snow Team then heads out to make it happen as their fearless leader leans back in his chair and says, "I love it when a plan comes together!"
Why is snowplan so important? Well it is essentially the blueprint for "building" the mountain each season. There is a method to the madness, and it lies in snowplan, and it also just happens to be the seed which becomes the twice daily snow report...but that is a different story all together...
Until next week, keep checking out the Mountain Report
, and THINK SNOW!