Hey everybody ( say it in your head like harry carry...)
It's aboot time I pop in and see whats up back up in the mountains...
I'll deal with bombholes today, since that was the biggest comment on the blog back in the day during the parks the first month they were open.
Natural snow can grip together better, think of it as putting your hands in front of you and interconnecting your fingers. That's a great thing about natural snow, how it bonds. Man-made snow on the other hand is like closing both fists and pushing both hands against each other so the knuckle on one hand is next to the knuckle on the other hand. Your hand may fit those curves and will take a bit of pressure to release from side to side but there's no way you can get the snow crystals to stick together without letting it set up for long periods of time.
So, your natural snow has say, 5 to 10% moisture content there in the wasatch. manmade snow can get down to maybe 15% if you've got a super crisp cold night. Therefore, think of manmade snow like sugar. At the beginning of the seasons we use to try to get landings sloped and that would help out a little bit with bombholes, but regardless of the landing at this point in the season if a bombhole starts you can't fix it without closing the feature for an hour or more. Throwing snow back in there, listening to kids yell at you the whole time because the feature is closed, and then opening the feature back up 2 minutes later doesn't give the snow any time to set up, and then the snow just blows out to the side and creates a bigger hole. so the easiest thing to do, when a hole forms, is scrape a little bit of the edges away, throw a little bit of snow in there if you can, and practice your landings on less then perfect conditions. As it continues to snow into the season and the new snow meshes and takes over from the old snow, then you get landings that hold up better. But then the more you work the snow the more like sugar it becomes and it's just a never ending cycle. For Jons jump way back when, during the initial push on the booter itself, the snow was just like sugar, the cats were leaving less than ideal tracks when they tried to back blade. So we let it set up, had some pizzas (which is a long trek from jonesys to the base area to get your delivery in an old bombi...) and then shoveled the final shape by hand. I set the tiller on it and put the final corduroy on it maybe an hour before it started getting hit.
All i'm tryin to say is... even though the bag jump was set up, and everyone always knows more than the park crew ;) , give it a rest this close to the beginning of the season because, as much as you guys hate hitting stuff that's not perfect, I know i hated it when stuff wasn't perfect and so did the rest of the guys on the crew that rode the features more than I did. Early season snow, even though there's a ton of new snowguns and a ton of new snowmaking capability on three kings, sucks no matter which way you push it.
Thanks for your time, and i'll see some of you 'round when I come up and strap on the skis and/or board again.