'Tail or Lib snow conditions???
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RiverOfBass
February 9, 2008
Member since 12/25/2006 🔗
13 posts
All,

Would really like to hear a snow report from someone who rode today. Called 'Tail and apparently they think they have enough snow, so they're not planning on making any tonight (another reason why this place sucks). I can clearly see grass via Whitetail's web cam. Liberty said they may make it.

hopefully they'll make some...
Scott - DCSki Editor
February 9, 2008
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,131 posts
Whitetail (and Liberty) probably won't be making snow tonight, but not for the reason you were given. The current forecast shows the temperature slowwllly dipping down overnight to 32 degrees at 6 a.m. tomorrow. It might be several degrees cooler on top of the mountain (unless there's a temperature inversion), but that's pretty iffy for snowmaking.

The news is better tomorrow, because the temperature will keep going down, possibly hitting single digits overnight Sunday. And I'd bet Whitetail will be blasting the snowguns all across the mountain as soon as the temperature allows, even if there's lots of skiers on the slopes. In fact, this year, I can't think of many (any?) times when it was below freezing and Whitetail didn't have guns going on at least some of the slopes.

You probably spoke with a general operator at Whitetail, who has been trained to always give a positive answer. "Rain? Heck no -- we have delightful mixed precipitation!"

But even though you see grass in the webcams, people aren't skiing on the grass. (Well, the better skiers, anyway.) The trails might have grass at the edges, but base depth is usually just fine on the "open" part of the trail. Keep in mind Whitetail's slopes are much wider than Liberty's. Both resorts keep huge mounds of snow at the tops of slopes that they use to patch up bare spots each night.

With the rapidly falling temperatures, conditions tomorrow could be quite a bit different than today anywhere you go (e.g., icier, as the soft snow freezes up without the benefit of a fresh layer of snowmaking).
David
February 9, 2008
Member since 06/28/2004 🔗
2,444 posts
and it is REALLY windy this evening, which doesn't make shooting snow where you aim all that easy either....
RiverOfBass
February 9, 2008
Member since 12/25/2006 🔗
13 posts
what forecast are you looking at? according to weather.com's hour by hour for tail, it should def. be cold enough to make snow...

http://www.weather.com/outlook/recreation/ski/hourbyhour/717013:11
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Scott - DCSki Editor
February 9, 2008
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,131 posts
I think I'm looking at the same forecast as you. It shows:

Saturday, February 9:

9 pm: 42
10 pm: 40
11 pm: 39
12 am: 38
1 am: 37
2 am: 36
3 am: 36
4 am: 34
5 am: 33
6 am: 32

That's why I said it didn't appear possible to make snow until 6 a.m.

(Make sure you're looking at the dry bulb temperatures, and not weather.com's "feels like" or dew point column. The "feels like" column takes into consideration wind and humidity, and has absolutely no bearing on whether snow can be made.)

But it's even worse than it appears. The raw temperature itself isn't the sole factor in snowmaking. What matters is the wet bulb, which takes into consideration the relative humidity. From weather.com, you can see that the rel humidity will be around 60% throughout the night. When the humidity is that high, the temperature has to drop to the low 20's before good snowmaking is possible (ideally, 20 or below). Here's a chart that shows the relationship between wet bulb temperatures and snowmaking:

http://www.snowathome.com/pdf/wet_bulb_chart_fahrenheit.pdf

As David noted, it's also going to be very windy -- another thing that kills snowmaking.

You're probably seeing "Few Snow Showers" listed by Weather.com, but even though there might be snow showers falling from the sky, that doesn't mean Whitetail can make snow on the ground. The snowflakes are forming miles above Whitetail where the air is much colder.

One other thing to keep in mind -- Weather.com's forecast for Whitetail is really a point forecast for Mercersburg, PA, which is close to Whitetail but can differ by several critical degrees. So it may be slightly colder at Whitetail than the forecast implies (not enough to make a difference tonight, though). There are times when Whitetail can make snow on the top half of the mountain but not the bottom half. But given the overnight conditions, I don't see how or why Whitetail would try to make snow. By tomorrow night, conditions will be changing to the low 20's / teens with humidity around 25% -- which is absolutely ideal conditions for snowmaking. That's when the snowguns will fire up.
RiverOfBass
February 9, 2008
Member since 12/25/2006 🔗
13 posts
we are looking at different forecasts...look up "whitetail ski resort" on weather.com and then check hour by hour....sunday early morning throughout the day is cold....but i called again and he said that humidity may play a factor...

roundtop looks like they'll be making....not surprising, they are a great resort
RiverOfBass
February 9, 2008
Member since 12/25/2006 🔗
13 posts
i just called liberty, they said they're making tonight...
Scott - DCSki Editor
February 9, 2008
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,131 posts
I've had a fever the past few days, so it's entirely likely I'm doing something dumb, but isn't this the forecast you're seeing? (It's what I see when I click on your link.)




Or, in graph view form:





Based on that forecast, Whitetail might be able to fire up the snowguns near dawn, but I still think the humidity will be too high.

I don't see substantially different forecasts for Roundtop or Liberty on weather.com in terms of when the temperature actually drops below freezing.

When the temperature is dropping, Roundtop, Liberty, and Whitetail usually dispatch their snowmaking teams and have them standing by, ready to fire up the snowguns as soon as the weather stations on the mountain show the conditions are right. You can *often* (although not always) tell their intent by checking the webcams after 11 p.m. If the lights are still on, the snowmakers are probably not getting the night off. But there's plenty of times when the temperature never quite drops low enough all night long.

In any event, assuming I am looking at the actual data and it matches what really happens (and I'm not just hallucinating), if you're trying to pick a resort to visit tomorrow based on expected overnight snowmaking, I don't think you're going to find much manmade at any of the three by the time the lifts start running. But wow, conditions should be getting great as the day and days go on, thanks to the arriving cold front.

I also don't think anyone can accuse Whitetail of skimping on snowmaking. As I said, they have been running the guns at full-blast (and considerable expense) almost every second this season that the laws of physics have allowed them to.
RiverOfBass
February 9, 2008
Member since 12/25/2006 🔗
13 posts
i feel stupid...i was looking at the "feels like" column! sorry! yeah, i think i'll postpone
Scott - DCSki Editor
February 9, 2008
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,131 posts
Better you than me! \:\) Weather.com's design does lead the eye to that column. I really doubt the snowguns will be going at Roundtop, Liberty, or Whitetail until around dawn, at the earliest. Then again, weather.com's hourly forecast can vary a lot from reality.

If you can postpone 'til Monday, you should find some sweet conditions (without anyone crowding up the slopes).
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
February 9, 2008
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,097 posts
RiverofBass,
I think you must be looking at the "real feel" temperature.
The Colonel \:\)
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
February 9, 2008
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,097 posts
"Dispatch the snowmaking crews..."
Even more reason more resorts should invest in the amazing York (I think!) automatic snowmaking system that Wintergreen. Each gun measures humidity and temp. and adjusts the snow stream to best possible when the guns go on. As skier219 frequently mentions, the Wintergreen resort, with a bare bones minimum of human intervention, makes the best snow of any local resort.
The Colonel \:\)
Mo
February 10, 2008
Member since 03/26/2001 🔗
33 posts
Snow conditions at Liberty today (Sunday) were primarily loose granular with something akin to mashed potatoes on Dipsy Doodle. A large area on the side of Lower Blue Streak had completely melted. But overall the slopes were in decent shape considering the recent warm temps.
Crush
February 11, 2008
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,000 posts
heh yeah we were there on sunday from 11-3 actually it was better than i thought it would be. i skied mostly eastwind from top to bottom or strata .. ultra was a patchwork heh i had to jump over one bare spot. but fun making big fast railroad turns and the back side was protected very nicely from all the wind and it snowed a little too which looked nice. big surprise coming back down on white lightning ... it was all clear so i ripped off of the dogleg/headwall and came back down on a solid sheet of ice ... ha! windmilled my arms a little and did a stomach crunch and got back on my toes but that was sort of funny it made me laugh.


so saturday evening we drove to charlestown and pulls some slots and drank ... it was a really nice place! i like the casino it was pretty big and oh man we won some money ! enough to pay for dinner ($80 ), two rounds of drinks ($20), hotel (nearby comfort inn), and all skiing costs the next day ($96 for lift tickets, $20 for after skiing drinks)!!!!

And also - the comfort in in WVa right near the bridge that goes over the shenandoah had these really good gravy and biscuits for breakfast! it was so good i had to be careful not to over-eat so i could ski!

yeah!
langleyskier
February 11, 2008
Member since 12/7/2004 🔗
824 posts
Later this week and next weekend should be great at both areas.
therusty
February 12, 2008
Member since 01/17/2005 🔗
422 posts
If I recall correctly, the guns started coming on at Whitetail on Saturday around noon. A snowmaker told me that they were targetting for 10 AM. But the sun broke through the clouds before then and started warming things up. When they did finally get the guns turned on, the first few hours were a joke. The wind was blowing 90% of the "white mist" right off the trails and what little did get on the slopes was very wet. By 5:00, the guns were starting to make a difference.

Whitetail uses a private Accuweather forecast to plan snowmaking. There are times when we choose to not make snow (e.g. MLK weekend or when a window is too short). But there are also times when we try and it just does not work out (2 weeks ago they blew a half inch in the base on Friday night and then gave up - the web site reported no snowmaking at all).

Whitetail has automated almost all of the fan guns. You notice the difference the most in marginal temps (27-31). However, the tower guns and old fashioned guns still have an economic niche to fill. 100% automation would not save money for Whitetail and does not make a difference in many situations (e.g. laying down base, the half pipe and trails like ridge runner and fall mount). If you're a Whitetail regular, you'll already have noticed that we've been making some great snow ever since we started our snowmaking upgrade program shortly after Snowtime took over. The weather still has a big impact, but the snow gets better every year.
fishnski
February 12, 2008
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
Its Great to Hear that you can still pull off a Good time at Liberty after your skiing out west lately Crush...Course its the package deal..The whole trip thang!..Its your Attitude..Not so much the Altitude..Keep on Gettin it Crush!
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