Snow in the ForecastPosted: November 14, 2010
Could this be the moment we’ve all been waiting for? It could very well be…
Forecasts have been calling for snow early this coming week for a few days now, and as Monday approaches, chances still look good for our first good dump of the season (other than the ones we had in August!). If Lake Louise gets the 20-30cm of snow that some are expecting, then things will get a whole lot better in a big hurry, especially if the snow is followed by one of our greatest friends – the wind. New terrain openings may still be another snowfall or two away, but there’s no question we can do a lot with one big dump. Avalanche control teams will work hard to get into as much terrain as they can, and the Trail Crew will be visiting all of their fences to make sure newly formed drifts get stomped down, reducing the likelihood of that snow blowing somewhere else. Crews can travel more and more on skis, making travel around the mountain that much quicker.
As in previous years, a snow cat was parked up in the Saddle, near the top of the Top of the World chair. This is done because cats cannot travel on the delicate alpine terrain unless there is the equivalent of 40mm of snow cover on the ground (about 40cm of snow) to protect fragile plants and ground cover from potential damage. We usually reach that amount of snow up in the Saddle before we do lower down, and since the cat would have to travel over the lower mountain runs in order to get higher up, parking it up top allows us to begin track-packing much sooner (track-packing is just what it sounds like – a cat travels over every available square foot of snow in order to pack down into what will become the dense, base layer of snow). If the forecasts produce, the cat will be starting up in a matter of days.
Monday will also see a big increase in the level of activity surrounding the World Cup, which is just two weeks away. With most of the snow in place on lower sections of the course, a large Bell 212 helicopter will spend most of Monday flying snow guns, generators, and fuel to the uppermost section. We’ll have crews spread out along the course to receive the loads, and if all goes well, the guns should roar to life Monday evening.