Snow is On the Ground!Posted: October 18, 2010
With all the snowmaking planets now aligned, Lake Louise has officially begun its gradual transformation from brown and green to white. Overnight temperatures that have dipped well below freezing (and have lasted into the following day) have allowed large snowmaking whales to appear almost overnight. That, along with the near-constant hum of the electric fan guns near the base area, leave little doubt that a new season is lurking just around the corner.
Summer projects are wrapping up as well. The new hut at the top of Paradise chair has its windows in, and the replacement of the section of water pipeline on Juniper will be complete in a few days. As of yesterday, the Trail Crew finished the pounding into the ground of the thousands of t-steel that dot the mountain, and have now begun to attach the snow fence to these steel. Always first on the list of snow fence to be tied are those sections that permit travel around the upper mountain on skis. One of the most important sections is the one along and around the end of the Home Run cat track, leading down from the top of the Top of the World chair. The cat track crosses a steep bouldery slope, and it takes intensive snow farming to make this a skiable pass.
Getting snow to stay on the slope is one thing, and enabling it to survive the early season flood of skiers is a whole other ball game. Every time the Trail Crew passes through they’ll spend time packing the drifts that have formed, making the snow more dense and lowering the top level of the drift, allowing more snow to gather on top. And while many sections of fence are placed right on the run itself, there are a number that go uphill of the cat track. These shorter sections will form drifts that will act as stashes, so that crews can shovel the snow down onto the cat track where it is needed. In a perfect world, we try to capture every flake of snow that blows past the fences. In the end, like many places on the mountain, all the hard work in the world won’t create a run when Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate.