Last year around this time I posted a short history of our opening dates. At risk of repeating myself I’m going to simply repost that with a few minor changes. With Thanksgiving approaching at the very least it’s good food for thought. I ask folks if they know the difference between a snow cone and a soft-serve ice cream cone. Of course, the answer is Monarch Mountain’s snow is the soft-serve ice cream cone. There is something to skiing all-natural powder or even groomed natural snow that feels so much more forgiving. It’s a lot quieter too without the gigantic snow guns blasting away. Some may say that we could open sooner or stay open longer, if we made snow, but we prefer not to. It can be an exercise in patience, much like the old Heinz Ketchup commercials with Carly Simon singing “Anticipation” in the background. Generally, though, we open well before Christmas.
I ran into some of our patrollers at one of our events the other day and they were beaming with excitement about the season even though we currently have basically no snow on the ground and it’s November 15th. They were giddy because, as they explained, when the snow comes later, it usually comes and then keeps coming, which sets the base better, provides for a better base throughout the season, and generally more stable conditions in the backcountry. When it comes early, like when we opened November 1st a few years ago, the storms tend to taper off until later and the minimal base gets destroyed over the initial weeks after opening not so much by the skiers but by the groomers constantly chewing up the surface. So I am going with that outlook. Glenn, the patrol dog agrees. Gotta love patrollers.
It wasn’t until the 1969/70 season when we began tallying opening day dates and conditions. There have been 50 seasons since then. We opened 40 times in November and 10 times in December. Our earliest opening date was the 1969 season on October 26. Our next earliest was two seasons ago on November 1. Our latest opening in all these years was December 15. In all, we have missed opening before or on Thanksgiving Day only 13 times, with the average November opening day being the 19th. Four of those years we opened on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Not so bad considering we bank on nothing except Mother Nature.
So again here we sit in mid-November with very little snow on the ground and I’m not worried in the slightest because we have been through this anticipation period many times. This year though, when opening day is announced, I might just pass out with the anticipation being so great. So there’s that … and Carly Simon singing in the background.
See you soon on the slopes!