Wait for winter or make the snow?
27 Oct, 2010
As I made my way to Main Lodge at Mammoth Mountain yesterday morning, it was the sight of the snowmaking guns, swirls of snow billowing up and loud sounds of the snowguns that kickstarted my heart. As much as I love snowflakes falling from the sky, I truly appreciate that snow guns allow for early season snowboarding to happen. It means that Colorado resorts like A-Basin and Loveland can battle it out for first year after year, or Sunday River in Maine can totally blindside the industry with a opening or in California, resorts like Mammoth and Boreal get a jump start on the early season of snowboarding. There’s no relying on nature to start the season, there’s relying on cold temperatures and a workforce willing to spend the cold bitter nights getting it done.
Mammoth Mountain Photo
I thought about the early season debates I read online where some riders jump right on the snowmaking bandwagon and others are more hesitant wanting the natural snowfall to decide when a mountain opens. While growing up in Washington I used to watch the early season in Colorado and wish that we had that. Some of my favorite days on snow have been early season just cruising and enjoying snowboarding (without new natural snowfall). There’s still that love for an amazing powder day but I enjoy being on the mountain regardless of conditions as long as there’s snow to ride and good people to be around.
I’m anxious to see when Mammoth will open, crossing my fingers for a storm to roll through but also enjoying the comforting feeling that snowmaking has given me (it’s that backup plan). I’ll keep watching the webcams, looking outside the window and if a mountain opens within driving distance with a WROD…you bet I’ll make my way there to have one fun day on the slopes before winter fully begins.
So I’m curious from everyone what you think, does your mountain invest in snowmaking? What are your thoughts on resorts that open due to snowmaking? Do you make the trip to ride the white ribbon of death? Or do you wait it out for the natural snow storms to arrive?