Today seasoned veteran patrollers, Chris and Ted were the designate team to review the lower mtn. They departed at the Griz gate around 11:30a and returned via the lift just after 1:00p. As they worked there way down they were very optimistic on the upper portions, however as they preceded further down, the optimism quickly faded away and more safety concerns/issues arose. The snow is very unconsolidated and on the lower third they would break through down to the ground, rocks, branches and stumps. At the bottom of the bowl there is less than 18” on the ground.
West Ridge and Snow Valley are not even in consideration, the boulders on the Goat Trails breakover and the willow are the blocking factors. Off of West Ridge there have been multiple wet roller ball slides everywhere.
In the interest of not getting skunked this season, we intend to come up with a plan and provide a safe but limited amount of skiing and riding experience on the lower mtn. That being said, we have a regulatory requirement from the USFS in that we must be able to evacuate stranded skiers/riders from the bottom of the bowl by some other means besides the chair lift. We need to be able to get a snowcat and the tour cat down to the bottom of Griz and more importantly back up again.
The PLAN – once we reach an agreement that the conditions are ready (late next week) and if we can effectively evacuate people out via the road, we will open Griz Gate for a limited time in the mornings for “corn snow” skiing, then closing just before the surface conditions get rutted and sloppy. This provides and maintains a quality ski/ride experience for the following days and future guests.
However, the lower mtn will remain closed at least through this weekend. Early next week the patrol will re-evaluate the conditions as this weeks forecast is to remain unseasonably warm, it could rain, get very cold and then snow again this weekend.
Another update this weekend.
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