Category Archives: GM’s Blog
This has got to be one of hardest parts of my position, when do you start to reduce terrain due to the surface conditions, hazards/safety and way finding all the while balancing the economics of the situation.
Now in our 3rd day in a row of moisture, warm daytime temps & night time cloud cover (trapping the “heat”) all of which has done the lower mtn absolutely no favors. Baring the 3 footer at the 6000’ level, I am sorry to say that the lower mtn is done for the season. We’ll give it another few days to see if anything significant changes, but the patrol is now charged with trying to do tear down in less than optimal conditions.
While actual records are sketchy, typically the lower mtn will always last as long as the upper mtn does, but this is the 3rd time in 8 years it’s had to close early.
As to the Village Side it has now been designated as a “soft boundary”, which means it is accessible, not patrolled, not maintained and not really recommended, so travel with a partner and at your own risk. Be forewarned though, there will be large open expanses of limited or no snow cover, as time goes on, some walking may be required also there has been some over zealous and illegal snowmobile high lining activity so watch out for the deeply rutted sled tracks. To that end, I hear rumor to the effect that the village roads are scheduled to be plowed sometime after Easter.
Once again Mother Nature has been dealing us difficult cards for the groomers. The team has done a stellar job throughout the season and lately it just doesn’t seem fair to judge them by what they are up against these days (nights). Its kind of a waiting game, can’t go too early or too late and we can’t really get a good surface due to the frictional coefficients between old snow and new saturated snow. We need the snow pack to fully morph into a real melt/freeze cycle to get some crystallization or the pack becomes more isothermal. In the meantime we are working on the timing and surface prep so a little patience would be appreciated.
We are getting lots of questions on pond skimming. We will start building the platform shortly after Easter as it takes a couple of hundred man hours to prep, line, fill and finalize. Last season we went all the way thru the process and then it snowed, got cold & froze the pond with razor sharp shards of ice that we were unable to remove. Let’s hope for a better outcome this year. Remember to bring extra clothes on the 13th!!
On closing day – it’s still projected for the 21st weather and conditions permitting. But as I have previously stated, as a precautionary measure, we have moved our events off that weekend and up to the 13th & 14th just in case we don’t have favorable conditions to make all the way to 21st. – gm
I know, I know – what a terrible grooming job we did (or didn’t do). On Wednesday night it was just too warm, wet and saturated to lay anything down. The groomers were creating more of mess with each grooming pass than they were able to clean up. It was disastrous. Hence, by default it became a powder day, for about an hour anyway. You all know what a heart stopping moment it is when you round through Snoopy’s Hanger and nothing’s groomed – just want you to know – you aren’t alone as my heart was in the pit of my stomach too!
As much as you want to believe we didn’t groom anything because we were too cheap, it was actually & truly conditions driven. We have extra crews coming in earlier tonight and with the colder temps we should be back on track for Friday & the weekend (baring any winch cat break downs that is).
The lower mountain didn’t fare as well as we had hoped either; major rains below 7000’ certainly didn’t do us any favors. The lower mtn was closed today (Wed) to give it a chance to set up and possibly turn hard enough & into that beloved stand on top carving experience. As much as I hate to let it go, this is probably the last weekend for the lower mountain. We will try to keep it through the last $12 Tuesday, but from here on out the Griz ramp is all hand work because we can’t get a cat down the access road any more. The team has to haul snow 30yrds in ski patrol toboggans to keep the ramp useable. So, get it now!
As to closing day – with all the warm temps we’ve had and forecasted warm days, the 21st is probably a pipe dream unless it snows significantly or stays really cold at night. So, just in case, we are shifting those last week end events, being Slush Cup and Season Pass luncheon, to the weekend of the 13 & 14. Check the web site for details.
The weekend of the 13th &14th will be jam packed with Reggae, Pond Skimming, Slush Cup and the annual Season Pass Luncheon – yah mon, lets get it on! Now I’m afraid to say how many days are left – we’ll just have to leave as – not many, gettm’ while you can. – gm
With Spring officially just around the corner we will be down to the final 30 days of the season. Regardless of what you’re thinking, the product is still quite good, almost everything is still ski and ride-able. The heat is on though and which tanks first is anybodies guess on the lower mtn or village side trails, only time will tell. Currently they are mostly open and actually good riding as long as you keep your eyes open and get there early. Of course it’s going to snow (always a game changer) again this season, but not until we absolutely need it.
The lower mountain continues to open & close based off of the best ski/ride windows to preserve the snow surface so it stays relatively smooth without the deep ruts that tend to occur during the max heat of the day. While these unpredictable hours may disappoint some, its all about maintaining the ski quality which will delight others. Its all weather and temperature driven, most likely it will be open every morning & closing daily around noonish. What’s really going to drive keeping the lower mountain open will be how long we can maintain the Griz Access Road for emergency evacuations if there is a lift failure. Did I mention the hours of operation are all weather & temperature driven?
On the village side, Home Run has definitely seen better days so while its not officially closed, it does have a ribbon across the top but its still accessible as a soft boundary from the sides. The ribbon also directs visitors over to Lunch Run which is still hanging in there. Our intentions are to maintain village access until the day we close, however and this should be no surprise, safety will always trump everything else.
Lastly – the 2013/14 season passes are now on sale, gettem now & beat the December crowds & before the price goes up on May 1st. Be sure to check to see if you can renew your pass on line, remember once you own an adult pass, it renewable, so you don’t need to get a new picture.
Only 38 days left, so let go! – gm
With the start of March upon us, the true madness begins on the Tuesday the 5th with the 4th year of $12 Tuesdays. Skiing, Riding and Striding are still very good and between the Cross Center, Village and Mtn there are plenty of activities goin’ off. There are fun races including Nastar and Senior Games, wine tasting/socials and much, much more!
Check the events calendar on the “Make Plans” tab then “Schedule”for details.
Here are a couple of operational modifications on the Mtn. With the current conditions on the lower Mtn, Griz Chair will be on a daily delayed opening schedule. It will open as condition permit, instead of the usual first thing in the morning. The other change is that Koala Chair will then open at 9a, hence running all day. Essentially we have just flip flopped the two schedules, Griz goes on a delayed opening and Koala now runs all day. We will monitor conditions and make other adjustments as necessary. Needless to say new snow can be a game changer!
You may have seen “Free Ticket Fridays” on facebook, it’s actually a contest to WIN free tickets, not actually free to all who show up. We are trying to double our facebook fan base, the strategy behind it is to bring in your friends, be entered into the Friday drawing to win 2 tickets good anytime for the rest of this season. By doubling the fan base we can have a greater outreach when we do launch special promotions to actually drive volume to the ski area and village. So one more time, the only free skiing on Fridays are for the contest winners, to win, bring a friend to the fold of BV facebook and await for your name to be drawn!
The 2013/14 Season Pass Sale will be launched around March 16th. To avoid confusion regarding prices for the current year being mistaken for next years pass we have made current prices a little harder to find.
- $12 Tuesdays, don’t miss the 2nd cheapest days of the season and only 52 days left so ya better get to it! GM
Gone Missing again – this time however I am going to blame technical difficulties in that my PC crashed, the back up failed and the back up to the back up had also failed. I was without a computer for 2 weeks. As of Sunday I am whole again, just less 20 yrs of accumulated files, information, contacts and history. But hey, who doesn’t like a clean slate in life!!
NEW SUBJECT – I sometimes hate to engage at this level because it’s usually a no win situation for me, but since I still haven’t learned my lesson, here we go again!
There seems to be lots of suggestion on FB on how to improve attendance, better promote and bring excitement back to BV. So just to clarify something I have said over and over “I don’t need another skier/rider on a Saturday or Sunday” and you guys should know that better than anybody, the facility just can’t handle it!
So let’s consider the following for M-F & go down the list.
- Skiathon, Vertical Challenge, Enduro or the like to support charities. Great idea, now just bring me the details: how to do crowd control, speeder control, how to manage maze/lift lines, how to track laps, who’s the sponsor, what happens when the lift has intermittent stops, which lift(s) make the most sense? My past life experience tells me its cheaper for us to just write a check to a favored charity – NO we’re not writing any checks just yet.
- Recreational Gates/Racing – Nastar is back, for a small fee you can run gates all day of course this is only weekends and holidays and you can buy a Nastar season pass!! Just don’t look at the clock on your through the finish
- We have tried several LTS promotions; our problem is we don’t have the resources to properly promote it. So only a handful of people seem to ever take us up. Look for an end of season special cause we will keep trying as we need to bring new skiers into the sport. Its called trial and conversion, NSAA has designated the month of January as learn to ski month
- Special discount days – is $12 Tuesday not enough?? We could probably extend it but that has not been discussed yet for this season.
- Have Photo sessions – We have a wonderful operation here called West World Photo they would be happy accommodate all your photo needs.
- Theme days – yes its cool to see all the different types of personal expressions but I am not sure why we would have to give a discount to those who are coming anyway and willing to pay the going rates.
- Poker Run – the 20th (+/-) annual Monte Carlo night is coming to BV in mid to late March stay tuned for exact date!
Ok I did it, most likely I will not re-engage on any of these in this format – if you want further discussions, stop by the office & we can carve out an hour or so to discuss feasibility vs sustainability. Cheers GM
Let’s go skiing on Super Bowl Sunday, well at least till 3p anyway. No the Mtn is not doing any special discounting to drive more business at a lower cost on Super Bowl Sunday and no we are not closing at 3p, however, we are showcasing the Bear Valley Village as the place to be!
There are all kinds happenings at Sky High and the Griz Bar, starting as early as 11:00a or make a full day of it with a Creekside Brunch at 9:00a (mmm bloodys & mimosas) – so check it out:
1) Bring your sticky back lift ticket (pass holders keep reading) from Super Bowl Sunday to Sky High or Grizzly Lounge in Bear Valley Village and get a .49 cent draft beer or soda (same day lift tickets only, promotional or complimentary tickets are not valid for this promotion)
2) All fans who join us at Sky High or the Grizzly Lounge by the third quarter will win a free lift ticket voucher when (not if) the Niners win. (Voucher valid March 1st until closing day in April of 2013, and yes, you must be present when the final whistle blows to win! Applies to all fans 18 years or older)
3) For the 2012/13 Pass Holders that come into Sky High or Grizzly Lounge on game day, will receive a ”Team BV $6 voucher” good for any purchase any time at Sky High or Grizzly Lounge when you join us for the game. (promotion valid for any pass purchased in spring, summer or fall & sorry comp passes do not apply.)
So, again, the mountain will operate all the way up until normal closing times in all operations and yes, yah gotta pay full price to play on the mtn. PLEASE NOTE = THE TV’S AND MONTE WOLFE SALOON ARE CLOSING AT HALF TIME OR 5:30 WHICH EVER COMES FIRST, PLEASE PLAN ACCORDINGLY. Many of you have heard me quote the Oak Ridge Boys before – “you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here”! GO 49ers & cheers, GM
It’s nice to be wanted and to know I’m missed. I have had several loyalists reach out to me lately to let me know the importance of maintaining regularity and updated information on the blog. Apparently, every year I need that little reminder – so once again my bad for not providing a more up to date blog. GM – Gone Missing – I like it!!
All that being said – skiing and riding are very good, even though we haven’t had any significant snows in awhile, the 148% above average snows from December are still worthy of carving out those deep rails all over the corduroy. This time of the year the avg base is 61” & today we are at 64”. I’ve been out 4 times in the last 8 days, each time I start on the lower mtn & found it to be fine skiing, worthy of multiple trips.
Let’s not forget there is a whole lot more to Bear Valley and the Hwy 4 corridor than just downhill skiing and snowboarding. The Bear Valley Cross Country Center is open daily with tons of Nordic, sledding and tubing. Bear Valley Snowmobiles have their rental fleet poised for action in the surrounding back country along miles and miles of groomed trails.
Need a half day break from the snow? Remember passing through Arnold, Big Trees, Murphys and Angels Camp?
Back down toward Arnold, there’s Big Trees State Park, I think the trees there rival most of the other acclaimed “big” trees in the state. Well worth the price of admission and the 30 minute walk that takes an hour plus to marvel at the massive amount of lumber towering vertically above the forest floor.
Murphys & greater Calaveras County boasts that there are over 30 wineries and no shortage of tasting rooms along main street Murphys. When was the last time you saw the huge chunk of gold, a magnificent forty-four pound Crystalline Gold Leaf Specimen – the largest in the world!
When you started your travel day, you most likely passed through Angels Camp – “the base camp of the Sierra”. Don’t miss touring your way up and down historic Main Street.
And last but not least, there are not many places in the US of A where in the middle of winter you can go skiing in the morning, drive less than an hour to play golf or even go water skiing. Gotta love the climate in NorCal!!
So the message here is get off the couch enjoy the great outdoors cause there are only about 80 days of skiing left this season!!
The ski patrol has been performing their due diligence on the lower mtn for the past couple of days. Things are shaping up nicely, some minor activity here and there, but with at least 3 avalanche related fatalities in the state, we are taking every precaution including using time to our advantage.
That being said, the lower mtn will be officially open on Sunday, however if you happen to be around the top of Griz on Saturday afternoon you just may be in for a treat as we are considering a “soft opening” sometime after noon on Saturday the 29th!!
It is still fairly boney at the bottom and there are no shortage of stumps rocks willow and free flowing streams – sooooo please be careful and don’t forget to ski with a partner/buddy/friend.
Last but not least – the village side should be open (no longer soft boundary) on Monday & there might even be a groomed trail on Saturday or Sunday.
We are off to at great start to the season, yes we have had some hiccups along way, but all in all its appears to be an awesome start to the season. Cheers – GM
How great is today!! Finally, opening day its here and what a great day it is, cool temps have kept the snow in prime condition, the cats had an awesome night laying out that famed and sought after corduroy. With just about the whole upper mtn open there is plenty of room to spread out and get some early powder turns in.
So the million dollar question – When will the lower mtn open?? Soon, very soon would be the right answer. HOWEVER – safety is always first and of course skiing & riding has gotta be next. The patrol will be checking it out over the weekend as we have high hopes that this next storm cycle will drop 2 to 4 feet of snow around that 6000’ level. Currently there is only about a foot of snow at Griz base. As I have said year after year – check out the rocks, stumps, boulders and stubbies as you pass by Cottage Springs.
We want and need Griz to open as soon as possible; it’s a huge asset and instrumental to the seasonal success of the Resort. If this next storm materializes, we’ll be doing everything we can to deliver it as soon as possible and yep; here it is again – in a safe, reasonable and prudent manner. Only 122 days left, so whatareyawaitnfor!! GM
With the opening day less than a week away, things are finally starting to take shape – of course this last 12” of snowfall has certainly contributed greatly to providing a skiable surface for ALL abilities to enjoy.
We will open on the 20th with all services available, including the village shuttle bus (check web site for updated schedules), Café, Espresso, Snow Sports, Rental Shop, Reba Sports, Performance/Demo Center, Tickets/Passes and of course the MONTY WOLF SALOON!.
As for lifts and trails – Cub/Super Cub, Koala and Kuma are in the bag serving the upper mtn & bowl. The backside/Polar/Pooh are somewhat iffy because of the more westerly exposure there are many open ditches with running water and several rock gardens in the narrows and pinch points. We’re working with the available snow but it definitely needs one more storm and a few more nights of cold temps for snowmaking to connect the dots.
With opening day being free for all, (be sure you pick up a free ticket at the ticket office) it could turn out to be very, very busy, so are working to have as much open as we can, as fast as we can, but want to do it in a safe, reasonable and prudent manner. If you intend to attend that day you may consider arriving early, get your turns in, perhaps visit with Melissa and then escape before it gets too crowded. After all its only day 1!! – GM
6 days and counting