Burke 1/9/14

After some 14 hour work days this week due to having tons of work to get done, I treated myself to a quick getaway at Burke.

A couple of inches of light snow had fallen overnight. It made a difference. The snow that can be pushed around is now more like packed powder than loose granular. Conditions are still hurting, though. They remain very much variable. On Willoughby, it was nice sin spots and then pure boilerplate in other spots. The couple of inches of snow that they got just isn't enough to hide the boilerplate. Lots of trails had just plain ice instead of boilerplate.

The biggest issue that I noticed is that the snowmaking is turning into a game of whack-a-mole. While Willoughby was okay, Lower Warren's way is a complete ice-fest It's really showing that they can't refresh trails when they really need to. So for 98% of skiers, they've merely replaced Warren's Way with Lower Willoughby, which means that opening up Lower Willoughby isn't as big a positive as it should be. Sure, Warren's Way is open, but only a fraction of skiers will even consider it.

I tried some natural snow trails. It became very apparent that ropes were dropped to increase trail count rather than because they actually had enough snow. Lower Fox's Folly was a good example. They list the trail as open, but there's lots of grass coming through and it looked like nobody at all had even tried to ski on it. I skied Upper Fox's Folly, which was a mistake.

I asked an employee with mountain opps if it was worth skiing anything on the east side of the MBX lift, and was told that it was very thin cover and very icy. I passed.

So it appears that this weekend the trail count will be rather deceptive. You are going to have the vast majority of skiers compressed onto Willoughby. While they've blown snow on Lower Dipper, I was told that Upper Dipper is an icy mess, so is it really worth it? Some people will no doubt migrate that way, but not enough.

Having said that, it was an absolute blast to sneak away and get some runs in. Prior to reentering the sport last year, I would have just sit inside and complained about how overworked I was. Getting outside makes such a difference! And while Willoughby was not great, it was not bad. So it was definitely worth heading up to the mountain.

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