More on Terrain Openings

Well, after probably getting a few people excited about the imminent opening of new terrain in Whitehorn II, I’m afraid I have to deliver a bit of a blow to those with ‘H’ Gully dreams. After a series of discussions on the matter, the plan for Whitehorn II has changed, and it will likely be a little longer before ‘H’ Gully and environs see their first skiing guest.

The main reason for this backtrack is that a lot of intensive control work is needed to get the terrain adjacent to ‘H’ ready to open, and this would be very difficult to accomplish in a safe and timely manner if there was open terrain immediately next to the slope being worked. Also, with the way the snowpack has been behaving this winter, the avalanche forecaster wants to ensure that every square metre of the terrain receives traffic and gets its snow packed onto the slope. And finally, we realised that opening such a large piece of terrain bit by little bit is not an efficient way to go with this year’s snowpack. Every time terrain is opened, we must ensure all avalanche closures and ski area boundaries, if applicable, are in place and signed accordingly. This can be very time-consuming, and constant changes to what is open or closed means the patrollers are spending a lot of time worrying about setting fences up when they could be making faster progress on control work and getting more terrain open.

On the bright side, stability overall continues to improve, which is a trend that bodes well for expanding the list of open runs at the Lake. The recent sunny weather has made skiing quite pleasant, even though soft snow is getting harder to find (but not impossible). North-facing slopes are generally softer, since they are less affected by the daily melt/freeze action that is more prevalent on south-facing slopes during warmer weather.

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