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Employee of the Week: Greg Grosso

Bruces was graded a straight up A+ first thing this morning and it was so good I just lapped it for awhile. It was nice to get off the Silver and Bonanza train for awhile to tell you the truth. Kudos to the groomers and Rose for grooming another run for us to play on!

Greg Grosso is the Rose Employee of the Week by listening to us old timers for a change and moving the ticket checkers up toward the second third of the “holiday maze” and breaking the rope at that point so that empty stalls may be reshuffled so that each chair is full. Brilliant breaking the rope lines there and allowing cross-overs. Also nice to have the ticket checkers stand up where skiers actually stop naturally. That way everyone gets checked and skiers aren’t stopping what seems like 150 miles from the load board which is tough with kids in tow, kicking a snowboard along or just old and grumpy guys and gals like a few of us.

I have to say there are average employees who do what they are trained to do… and then there are a small percentage of employees who keep trying to improve things, make them better, work out the kinks and who are dedicated to keep improving the guest experience and their safety. Greg is definitely in this second category. Give Greg a hug or high five when you see him… he deserves it!

Sven

Good Snow, Beers, Brauts and Om-Pah Pah. Life is good.

Many skiers and riders had a great time this Saturday as Rose put on one of the their great annual events, the German Beer Garden at the Slide Lodge. Hard to go wrong here as the brauts were hot with about 7 kinds of mustard, a nice selection of German Beers and of course the German Costumes and the Gruber Family Band.

Second to that was the incredibly great job the groomers did last night in “fixing” the mountain. What had been fairly mediocre skiing yesterday on Fresh Groomed Gravel* in places was magically transformed into rockless fast flying groomers by Dave Hahl and his crew. Where they got all the fresh snow from is anybodies guess, but get it they did and virtually all the gravel was gone revealing perfect cord on many runs. Without much fresh snow it has been a real gift to have so many runs groomed so often. Today on the Slide Side these runs included Silver, Bonanza and Bruces while on the Rose side all the Face runs were groomed plus Ramsey’s, Aidas, Jetta, Lakeview, Carson and ATW. Working with very little natural snow and conditions too warm to make anymore, Rose has done an amazing job after every wind event to cover the blown in gravel. Kudos also go out to patrol who was on shovel patrol this morning removing the occasional rocky mess or orphan rock on the groomers. Hats off to Rose  for keeping the slopes white instead of white with black dots.

Off-piste, you just have to be careful and expect the occasional rock or log… I would call it early season skiing in January… but look around Tahoe, you think its bad here, at least we CAN ski off-piste, you can’t say that at some of the other places where dirt, rock and logs await the ski bases if you leave the white stripes painted down the groomers. Another nice day awaits tomorrow. Ski you there.

Sven

  • The phrase “Fresh Groomed Gravel” is copyrighted to Turnin Tim. Special Thank you to Tim for the use of the term.

Slide Side Closed Glacial Ice the Culprit

This would be a day to clean out the garage, change the oil in your car, catch up on those texts and pay some bills. Not a day to ski. Between the wind and ice (Firm Conditions in ski area lexicon)it is a great day to get some other stuff done… the rest of the week is forecast to be warm and fairly mellow starting tomorrow. I don’t often advise against skiing but I do today.

Sven

Its better than dirt…

OK. So we didn’t get our 18″ to 36″ forecast… there was a lot of groaning in the lift line this morning… so much so that I hiked out and did some side country and enjoyed the clouds playing tag in the sky. It was still a beautiful day out there despite the fact that we actually lost snowpack due to all the rain yesterday… maybe thats what they meant… we would lose 16 to 36 centimeters of snow due to all the rain. In that case, they might have been pretty close down low on the mountain. Here is a pic of things late yesterday at the Stafford Reservoir in front of the Slide Lodge…

It was better than that today as the pond was smaller, still, you could still see yellow dirt marks percolating up through the pack and the Pondo snow stake was back down to the 1 foot mark. However… with all that being said, Rose still has the best skiing around Tahoe with about 5″ of freshies to play in up top and a couple down low.

We can groan all we want, but the fact is… its better than dirt. I took the liberty of taking a very slow photographic tour of the mountain on my first run and just marveled at the natural beauty all around me in the trees, the snow, the sky and the always effervescent Mountain Chickadee’s who seem to rally in bad weather to remind us all that its just good to be alive and moving through the world with boards on our feet.

So no, I didn’t stay long, but I did stay long enough to remind myself that no matter how persnickety Ma Nature wants to get, we can can still have fun on whatever she gives us. And I thank the heavens that I don’t live a mile from Mudstar. I can’t imagine how bad it must be down there.

Sven

12 Hours of Rain Later…

Well, its been 12 hours of constant rain at 7640 feet and the thermometer hasn’t changed all that much. Checked in with NOAA and it sounds as if the brunt of the storm has sagged South and came in warmer and drier than forecast. I know I hyped this forecast so let me be the first to apologize… not looking so hot at the moment unless you are a cold water kayaker… then you would be loving this.

BC users please be careful of loaded wet slopes… there a variety of avy problems currently. Refer to the Sierra Avalanche Center before venturing out the next couple a days.

Once again I was lulled into believing a forecast… like a really bad blind date… arrrrrrrgh.

As our week spoken tweeting Prez would say…

Sad.

Sven

 

“Wet” Powder this morning

Woke up at 5:00 am to rain falling on a tin roof… however, far from the romantic notions of Nora Jones, it irritatingly reminded me that, once more, the storm had come in warmer than forecast. Went to the window looking for crystals in the mix… no such thing. It was 40 and raining once again at 7600 feet in midwinter.

This brings our rain total this season so far way into the double digits, similar to last year, but without the snow to soften the wet blow. Does this just mean another ski day lost or is there something more?

For nearly 25 years now I have been carefully watching the snow totals up here at Sky Tavern and today is just part of a very disturbing trend of a snow line that continues to move uphill. A friend who was a park ranger in the Galena Park stone cabin years ago told me that our weather at Sky is what Galena used to get 35 years ago. We live in a place where twenty years ago we went years without seeing any rain, all our precipitation falling as snow. The Desert Research Institute corroborates my findings by stating that the snow line has moved up the mountain a thousand feet on average in the Sierra’s just in the last decade. This is not just a recent trend. The V & T Railroad used to face 6′ of snow in Washoe Valley and avalanches in the tracks big enough to stop freight trains on the way to Virginia City. Although my personal experience of weather in these mountains is short and weather typically take millennia when making changes… I think every skier and rider can agree that all this rain  is unsettling and uncomfortable to say the least.

And we think its bad here at 8200′. Imagine the situation Northstar (recently renamed Mudstar) or even Squallywood is in as well as the other “low base” resorts around the lake. Unless they are planning on running Mountain Bikes in the winter… this trend is even more disturbing from a commercial point of view and you better believe they are talking about it in the board room. Thus Rose’s new tagline… “Where the Snow is.” Although today even Rose is receiving rain on the lower mountain… or “wet powder” as the ski area lexicon goes.

My guess is that we might have 10 to 15 feet of white stuff on the ground had we had cold enough temps so far this year but the rain and warmer temps just keep coming. Tonight the snow level will drop and we WILL get snow for tomorrow and we can forget about this inconvenient issue for awhile but like it or not, according to me and about 99% of the scientists out there, the world is warming at an alarming rate and as skiers and riders, we are on the front lines.

None of this will change tomorrow however. There is an almost 100% chance that it will snow and there will be some fresh pow in the morning. And like drunk teenagers “borrowing” their Mom’s convertible, we will have the top down and be hooting and hollering enjoying each moment happily and momentarily oblivious to what may come tomorrow, next season or a decade from now.

Sven