The Lowdown’s First Birthday!

It was one year ago today that I posted the first article on the Lake Louise Lowdown, created to provide a behind-the-scenes look at the operation of the Lake Louise Ski Area. Up until now, January of 2009 was the busiest month for blog visits. This October, however, has blown January out of the water, with over 13,000 hits this month alone. At the same time I suppose it’s no surprise that many people are as excited as I am for the start of the season.

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It has just started to snow lightly in Lake Louise this morning, and the forecasts are calling for steady snow throughout the week. Temperatures are also dropping, which means the snowmaking system can run at or close to capacity all day long, without daytime temperatures warming enough to interrupt.

On the upper mountain, large drifts are forming around our snow fences, some up to four or five feet high. Natural snow depths vary wildly, mostly because our terrain varies wildly as well. Our avalanche forecaster has noted that we’re about 20-30cm of snow away from being able to travel on skis, although there are likely some places where this is already possible. Places like Boomerang, for example, which are flat with few surface features can be skied earlier than those places, like Whitehorn I, which are more bouldery and require much more snow and wind to make a viable ski run.

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Drifts forming at the top of Paradise chair. (photo: Dan Beaudoin)

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Long snow fences line the front side of Summit. (photo: Dan Beaudoin)

In the photo below, a snowmaker performs the tried-and-true sleeve test, which is a good indicator of the quality of snow being produced by the gun. The snowmaker stands in the snow “fallout” zone and holds out his arm. If the snow crystals bounce off the sleeve, they’re dry. If they stick, they’re wet, and the snowmaker will adjust the air/water mixture to achieve the desired result.

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The ol' sleeve test. (photo: Brett Saunders)

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7 Comments on “The Lowdown’s First Birthday!”

  1. Bryan says:

    Congrats on the 1 year Chris. Keep it coming.

  2. Trevor says:

    It’s been a great year! I really appreciate all your insights and I’m looking forward to getting out there.

    What’s the status of the Highway 1 twinning? When I was out there last (late September) about 9km was done, but the whole section past the Hwy 93 had construction speeds. Any good news for us there to go along with all the snow?

    -Trevor

    • lakelouiselowdown says:

      Trevor,

      The highway’s coming along. The 70 km/h is still in effect, but we’re hoping it’ll be like last year, when they raised it back to 90 km/h once all construction was done for the winter. They’re still going strong, and a long stretch west of Castle Junction has been paved. It looks like traffic will switch to that side for awhile, but not sure when that’ll happen.

      I think that despite the 70 km/h, it’s still better, and will be great once it’s done.

  3. Steve says:

    Happy birthday! It’s been a good year – looking forward to reading more!

  4. Diggers says:

    We had such a good time last year that we are going to be back next year – really cant wait and the pictures look great – really hope the opening days goes well next weekend.

  5. Happy Birthday! Keep up the good work Chris. Your blog updates always make me wanna jump on a plane back to the Lake! So I guess its working 🙂
    Hope those boys are keeping your computer running for ya,
    Dan

    • lakelouiselowdown says:

      Hey Dan,

      Thanks! The computer’s humming along nicely, just in time for opening day.

      Hope all is well,
      Chris


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