TR: 7S 2/18-19 BK 2/20
February 20, 2006
Skied 7S Saturday and Sunday. Skied BK monday. The crowds at 7S on saturday were the thinnest I ahve seen on a holiday this season. I expect it was the extreme cold and high winds that kept people in the lodge and off the slopes. There were a few very nice wind repenished powder lines adjacent to trees on the north face. Over all it was variable conditions with alternating wind scoured hard pack and light power or crud. Sundy conditiosnwere more predictable, but crowds were slightly heavier. Conditions were VERY fast. I was arcing GS turns at high speed and getting air off rollers on the north face most of the day. All the natural snow trails at 7S were closed / unskiable.
We got up late on monday and headed to BK after noting that Extrover was open as per their website. When we arrived at 11:30 AM, we bought four hour tickets and I double checked. Extrovert and lower high hopes were both listed as open. After a warm up on Deer run, which was nicely moguled up with some very nice snow, it turns out that extrovert and lower high hopes were both roped off closed. I asked a lift operator at the midstation and was told that "operators did not show up for work" which prevented them from opening all of that terrain. The guns were on lower high hopes and large piles of snow were every where waiting to be groomed out before opening the trail. This leads me to believe that the reason these trails were closed realted to the mt. operations and maintainence people--I am specualting here though. The snow on extrovert looked like loose powder from the lift and should have skied like a dream. I have rarely been soo tempted to duck a rope.
We ended up staying for 3 hours. Conditions were variable. There was plenty of BK's charachteristic ice; however the warm temps and sun did help to soften up much of the hill.
Stembogan trail was open and that provided a lot of fun. The conditions arround a couple of corners were dicey, which is typical on that trail, but it was freshly groomed (we skied on right after the groomer moved off) down to large chunky corn snow.
The "environmental degrdation" or whatever you call it is visable to skiers left of jackrabit. Basicly it looks like work men with bull dozers just went in there and drove arround haphazard and then left it. I probably wouldn't have noticed had I not been specifly looking though. The area in question are out of the ski area's boundry and only visable forma few palces on one trail. The scenery at BK reamins among the prettiest in the area.
Any damage to the glades has been over blown. There was no natural snow cover today and the interirior of almost all glades were plainly visable form the chair lift or trail side. My visual inspection showed most of the glades to be in at worst fair condition. Most seemed very good. There were no glarring problems. The only thing they need is snow.
Sadly, I think this is the case for most of BK's lower mountain trails. The snow coverage on stembogen and eastwall traverse was uniformly thinnner than any other trail I skied. We skied the trail right after the groomer passed it looked good for the first two runs. When we came back an hour later there were many brick sized rocks turned up on the traverse and gravel strew arround on many of the turns. This would not happen if the trial had a decent base under there. I doubt it would take much snow to cover that traverse. It is obvious that that have paid the majority of their snow making attention to the upper mountian trails. This results in the long dealys in opening expert terrain. What trails they do have open on the lower mountain are thin on snow cover with rocks waiting below to be turned up by a hockey stop or heel edge.
I have not skied BK in 3 years. In that time I have tried Just about any ski hill arround here not named snowshoe. Now on going back to BK, the first thing I noticed was how antiquated looking their snow guns were. All the problems with rocks on piste, thin cover, ice, delays in opening lower mountain terrain, etc.. It all goes back to a lack of snow. With many other resorts arround improving snow making it seems BK has noticably fallen behind the level of service at nearly every other local ski hill.
I may check out BK again next Sunday to see if they finally have their issues sorted out and have their double black trails open. Lets hope so.
Fun weekend! Not much to add to Tromano's post. I enjoyed my first trip to BK. Here are a few pics:
. With many other resorts arround improving snow making it seems BK has noticably fallen behind the level of service at nearly every other local ski hill.
Thanks for the fine report and photos. Above quote is sad, but true. I hope someone from the BK ownership was passing thru Nebraska and bought that $364 mil powerball ticket. The place needs an infusion of cash. How were the crowds at BK today?
I was back at Wintergreen again 2/20 and it was amazingly uncrowded. All slopes open, with real nice cover (all manmade) too.
PS: Where is tromano standing? Top of Extrovert?
There were hardly any crowds at BK today. Though, not sure what is typical.
The picture is right past the entrance to Extrovert.
Jim, Crowds at BK were light. The pictures was taken on the east wall traverse. Extrovert is just to my left and out of view. There was pelnty of snow on extrovert to open the trail. It makes me sad to go all the way out there and then be denied.
I think 364 million would be a great place to start :P. However new snow guns and facilites won't help if staff don't show up. I think their probems may be deeper than simple lack of cash. It is very sad, BK has the most potential of any ski hill in this region.
Thanks for a great review of BK. I have just a few comments and questions. The snow coverage is nearly always marginal on Stembogan because the snowmaking air/water hook-ups are so far apart that, when snow is made, it results in piles of snow that are a considerable distance apart. Then, the groomers must push the piles of snow together, which results in rocks being fetched up into the snow. As for the snowmaking guns at BK, the ski area has continued to buy lots of fixed guns, similar to, or the same type as are in use at 7-Springs. However, the snowmaking system at BK could use more air compressors. By the way, did you notice stumps in the glades? Did you also notice that some of the glades have grown up into brush and saplings? Did you notice the poor condition of things, etc. around the loading area of the #1 chair? Was the new expanded terrain park open? And, in general, do you question the wisdom in creating so many gladed ski runs (around 16 of them) without snowmaking, given that BK averages only 100 inches of snow per year? In closing I might add, in a previous post, I correctly predicted that Extrovert wouldn't be open.