Roll Out the White Carpet!Posted: November 4, 2010
Despite warm daytime temperatures slowing snowmaking efforts at Lake Louise this week, we’ve still had cold nights, and this year’s crop of snowmakers have done a great job of building giant snow whales along the length of Bald Eagle, Wiwaxy, and Easy St., which will combine to make the run available from the top of Glacier chair on opening day (tomorrow!).
Once the whales have been made and have had a chance to drain their excess moisture, the snow cats head out onto the mountain to spread it all out and “connect the dots” to make the run. If the whales don’t have a chance to drain (which usually takes a day or two depending on whale size), the snow will be more difficult to push, and will result in a choppy surface that will be more prone to icing up as the season progresses.
As the cats start spreading the snow, they still do not have their “whale tails” which are the rear implements that till and lay the snow out in the familiar corduroy texture that people love. The focus is on covering the run as much as possible, and then the snow gets to sit for a while as it settles. This is another key step, since it hardens the snow surface and also results in a firmer, more consistent snow surface. As excited as folks are the strap on the skis for a new season, we need to practise a little patience in allowing the whales to drain and the newly-spread snow to settle. Jumping the gun on either of these may produce a run sooner, but it will be an inferior product and could affect the quality of the run later into the season.
On the upper mountain, we don’t yet have quite enough snow to travel on skis, but we’re getting close. Thanks to the fence put in place by the Trail Crew, the Summit platter can be ridden with skis on to the top, but there’s nowhere to go from there unless by foot. Another 10-20cm’s of snow and we’ll be in business.