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Snow Harvesting Builds the Base for a Long Season

Categories: Guest Connection Inside Meadows Tech Talk Weather Blog

Mt. Hood Meadows’ innovative snow farming and slope maintenance techniques have literally built a base for a season that has been so stingy with natural snow. Snow harvesting November and December snow from the parking lot allowed for preview days and continuous operation since opening December 21.

Our groomers appear to be magicians, conjuring up sweet groomed corduroy for days or even weeks without natural snowfall; almost like the shoemaker’s elves, coming out every night to get the work done.
But there is much more science to our approach to building and sustaining the base, and then enhancing it to make the surface so deliciously carveable.

The video provides insight into the professionalism, talent and drive these innovators use to fortify the base and create the best snow surface possible. It also speaks to the ability and commitment this company has to make the most of whatever natural snow we receive. With our snow farming tools, talent and commitment, our crew believes we will continue to deliver a high quality skiing and snowboarding experience with the current snowpack - even if sunny days with high pressure continue for weeks.

A special thanks to Director of Slope Maintenance Sam Cordell, Director of Mountain Operations Tom Scully, Grooming Manager Rob Gayman and Cat Operator Alec McCleskie  for taking the time to show us how we snow farm. We are proud to showcase our entire grooming and slope maintenance teams and the results of their efforts.

Note: The conditions are extremely good this week (or as Scully would say they are “FABULOUS”) thanks to the drop in overnight temperatures. Not only does that allow us to make snow, but it actuates the freeze - thaw cycle needed to create perfect corduroy. Our crews adjust their shifts to time their passes so the cord has a chance to set up overnight, in time for lift opening. We are experiencing primo spring conditions, firm, edgeable corduroy in the morning, soft groom by afternoon. But because we have the lower February sun, we’re not getting the slushier conditions associated with late spring conditions. Enjoy!