Can a ski resort have too much snow?
Can a ski resort have too much snow? Snow Safety Patroller Ryan Evanczyk stands on the mountainside at Arapahoe Basin ski area, where he works, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, in Arapahoe, Colo. Evanczyk has had his hands full lately performing avalanche mitigation, given the large amount of recent snowfall. (AP Photo/P. Solomon Banda)
Can a ski resort have too much snow?
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For ski resorts in Colorado and the Sierra Nevada, it's a good problem to have: too much snow.
 
Recent storms that walloped mountains across the West dropped up to 10 feet of snow, creating thrilling powdery runs. But once avalanche danger emerged on roads and at the slopes, several resorts made the unusual move of shutting down.
 
While the closures cost resorts income from lift tickets, the businesses will likely make it up in the long run. The resorts will promote the fresh snow and get more people excited to come up and carve powder turns.
 
"It's like you just go out and get barreled, you drop in and come up, an' pah! Drop back down. Powder everywhere in your face, you know? ... Mashed potato powder," said John Lencki. He is a New Hampshire native who was skiing Jan. 12 at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area.
 
It's a change from previous years beleaguered by drought. Even this season, the Colorado snowpack got off to its worst start in more than 30 years, forcing some ski areas to push back opening day this fall.
 
Here's a look at the problems - and joy - a thick blanket of snow can bring to ski resorts in the West:
 
How often do resorts close because of too much snow?
 
Heavy snow typically does not affect resort operations but it often creates problems on the roads leading to the slopes, said Chris Linsmayer, a spokesman for Colorado Ski Country USA. It is an industry group that represents more than 20 resorts.
 
"It's extremely rare (for snow to close a resort). I've been skiing my whole life and it's never happened to me," he said.
 
Why were the resorts in Colorado closed?
 
Avalanches pose problems, more so on roads than at the resorts. Ski patrollers use explosives to mitigate slides every day. Portions of resorts that are at risk are closed.
 
"We have closures and we have ropes. We have gates and we really try to steer people to specific areas of the hill to keep them out of avalanche terrain," said Ryan Evanczyk, a ski patroller at Arapahoe Basin.
 
"The big message here is not necessarily the mountain is unsafe, but the roads to get to and from the mountain were unsafe," Linsmayer said.
 
How much snow has fallen?
 
The three Colorado resorts that closed received 3 to 5 feet over several days.
 
In the Sierra Nevada, storms dumped the most snow the mountains have seen in six years, the National Weather Service in Reno said. It helped ease the effects of California's lingering drought. Federal monitors said that more than 40 percent of California is out of drought.
 
Why is Colorado seeing extreme avalanche danger?
 
"The simple answer is we've gotten a lot of snow in a short amount of time," said Ethan Greene, director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.
 
He compared the snowpack to the construction of a building. If you build one story at a time, the foundation has a chance to adjust to the added weight.
 
"But if you plunk down a 20-story building in a couple of minutes, it's likely to break," he said. "When you have this amount of snow in a couple of days, it piles up really fast and the snowpack has a hard time adjusting to the new load.
 
"With that rapid loading - a lot of weight in a short amount of time - it becomes unstable," Greene said.

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween78/can-ski-resort-have-too-much-snow/

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How are explosives used to promote safety?
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COMMENTS (24)
  • sjulia-dav
    2/02/2017 - 05:50 p.m.

    In response to this article, I agree that the resort should close it can have to much snow. One reason I agree they closed them is, because they are dangerous with to much snow. Another reason why I agree with them closing it is, because in the article it says "The big message here is not necessarily the mountain is unsafe, but the roads to get to and from the mountain were unsafe". A third reason is Colorado's avalanches are dangerous. In the article it says "The simple answer is we've gotten a lot of snow in a short amount of time," said Ethan Greene, director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center." Even though some people like it when its snowing hard, it can still be very dangerous.

  • dmatthew-dav
    2/02/2017 - 07:53 p.m.

    In response to "Can a ski resort have too much snow?
    " I agree that there can be a thing called to much snow. One reason I agree there can be 3-5 feet of snow which can be deadly even if it is a ski resort. Another reason is that the snow has the power to break a twenty story building. It says in the article "With that rapid loading - a lot of weight in a short amount of time - it becomes unstable". A third reason is the snow will cause an avalanche because people are going to blow up the snow which would cause an avalanche. Even though snow is amazing, I think there is a limit of how much snow a person can have.

  • zlily-dav
    2/02/2017 - 10:40 p.m.

    In response to "Can a ski resort have too much snow," I found this article interesting for three reasons. First, I was surprised to learn that too much snow can cause a ski resort to close. The article states, “Recent storms that walloped mountains across the West dropped up to 10 feet of snow, creating thrilling powdery runs. But once avalanche danger emerged on roads and at the slopes, several resorts made the unusual move of shutting down.” This surprised me because I thought ski resorts would welcome any and all snow. Second, I found it interesting how ski patrollers alleviate the risk of an avalanche. The text mentions, “Ski patrollers use explosives to mitigate slides every day.” I was surprised that explosives would be used because they are generally thought of as being dangerous and unpredictable. Finally, I thought it was interesting that even though some resorts had to close temporarily and some would see this as a negative, others were happy to receive so much snow and saw it as a positive. The article says, “In the Sierra Nevada, storms dumped the most snow the mountains have seen in six years, the National Weather Service in Reno said. It helped ease the effects of California's lingering drought. Federal monitors said that more than 40 percent of California is out of drought.” So, although there may be a temporary lapse in business for some ski resorts, the snow was welcome because it ended another serious situation, a drought. Even though it may be possible for a ski resort to have too much snow in the short term, I think that is a small price to pay if it ultimately leads to increased income and alleviates other problems like drought.

  • jacquelynt-
    2/06/2017 - 08:38 a.m.

    I never know that a ski resort could close down from to much snow. For when I go skiing there's never enough snow

  • sterlingt-
    2/07/2017 - 08:41 a.m.

    i never new a ski resort can have alot of snow on it

  • ybailey-dav
    2/07/2017 - 06:42 p.m.

    In response to "can a ski resort have too much snow" I agree that ski resorts can have too much snow. One impact of too much snow is avalanches. The resorts don't typically get harmed but the roads were people are driving do. If too much snow is on the sloops then skiers can also be harmed if an avalanche occures. Another reason is ski patrol also uses explosives everyday to migrate the sloops. If this caused an avalanche or any harm to people at the ski resorts negative outcomes will occur. in the passage it says"ski patrollers use explosives to navigate the slopes everyday." My final reason ski resorts can have too much snow is the powdery snow could get all over you while skiing causing issues to see where you are going.

  • jaydenr1-mac
    2/10/2017 - 12:40 p.m.

    Explosives are used to promote safety by if there was a mountain of snow in the way they can just blow it up to get threw.

  • ialexis-dav
    2/16/2017 - 07:25 a.m.

    In response to "Can a Ski Resort have too much Snow," I agree that a resort can end up with too much snow. One reason I agree is that the risk of an avalanche is greater than when the resort had a lesser amount of snow. Another reason is that the ski patrols will have to close off certain portions of the resort, and they will have to use explosives to lessen the amount of snow on the ski trails. It says in the article "When you have this amount of snow in a couple of days, it piles up really fast and the snowpack has a hard time adjusting to the new load. With that rapid loading - a lot of weight in a short amount of time - it becomes unstable". This means that there is an even greater risk of someone getting hurt. A third reason is that the amount of snow can cause problems on the road as well as on the ski trails. With all the snow on the road, it can cause accidents and traffic jams. Even though lots of people like to ski on fresh snow, I think that they should think twice about how an accident could occur, and make sure that the road to and from the resort is safe to drive on.

  • hmckenzie-dav
    2/16/2017 - 04:15 p.m.

    In response to "Can a ski resort have too much snow?," I agree that too much snow is not a good thing for a ski resort. While you are skiing down the slope, you do not want people falling in front of you and you do not want you to fall. A lot of snow could cause the resort to close and/or many of the slopes to close. When you are driving, it is very dangerous, when the roads are really wet it causes many people to slip and the wheels on the car to stop rolling. I do agree that having to much snow can be a bad thing. In the passage, "Recent storms that walloped mountains across the West dropped up to 10 feet of snow, creating thrilling powdery runs. But once avalanche danger emerged on roads and at the slopes, several resorts made the unusual move of shutting down." This means that people could also not be safe but could not escape the danger. Even though people might like the snow, I believe that to much snow could be a bad thing.

  • fpresley-dav
    2/16/2017 - 04:36 p.m.

    In response to "Can a ski resort have too much snow?," I agree that a ski result can have too much snow. One reason I agree is that the more snow you have at the ski resort, the more safety instructions you have to go through. If there is more snow than usual, it would be harder for the ski resort to keep people safe. Another reason is that an avalanche can come out of nowhere and hurt someone on top of a hill or driving to the hill. It says in the article, "'The big message here is not necessarily the mountain is unsafe, but the roads to get to and from the mountain were unsafe,' Linsmayer said." A third reason is that the ski patrols have to use explosives to help the avalanches. Explosive are very dangerous and can be used in the wrong way. It could also be possible that an explosive accidentally causes an avalanche. Even though these things are very unlikely , I think it is possible that it could still happen and it would be very unsafe.

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