Burke – 12/29/14

I had cleared my schedule this week to spend some time skiing with my family. Mother Nature did not agree with this plan. Nonetheless, I was determined to get out there. We headed up to the mountain right after lunch. It was not crowded, but it was not as dead as I expected. It was definitely a family vacation period. The lodge looked like a crowd from an iCarly appearance at the local mall - which is to say that there were lots of kids and especially tweens. A large proportion of these families were beginners. There was a VERY large percentage of skiers with rental equipment.

We decided to stick to the lower mountain and had low expectations. This turned out to be a good thing. The conditions were not good at all. There was a layer of frozen granular on top of rock hard boiler plate. The loose granular had been scraped off in a lot of places leaving a lot of ice to contend with. The less the slope, the better the conditions.

The thaw has definitely hit the mountain hard. The snow guns were going on Dashney Mile (on the lower hill) with a couple other guns blowing in other places on the lower hill.

We took six runs before calling it quits. None of us were upset to be leaving.

Even though the conditions were less than ideal, I am glad that I got out. Now that I have seen the conditions, I am not nearly as upset to be staying home for the remainder of the week as I would have been.

The people that I feel the most sorry for are the true beginners. The weather we have been having may discourage many of them from continuing with the sport, and that's not a good thing for anyone. I also feel sorry for the families that are only able to ski a couple of times per year.

As far as Burke is concerned, I'm starting to think that they just don't have nearly enough snow blowing capacity as they need. They got caught with insufficient man-made snow when the thaw hit, and their ability to rebound appears to be extremely poor. It seems like the best they can do is blow snow on one lower mountain trail, or on a small portion of the upper mountain - and not at the same time. Once they are done with focusing on the lower mountain, their plan is to blow on Lower Willoughby. While that's nice, that's like putting a Band Aid on a huge gaping wound.

So in the meantime I'll be wishing for some natural snow and hoping that temperatures continue to allow snow making.

The staff seems to have good spirits, and the guests seemed to be making the most of an unfortunate weather situation. Hopefully things will get better sooner than later. I'm just glad that I can make my own work schedule and that my children ski with their school. This will hopefully help to make up for a lost opportunity this week.

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