Waiting on the Weather

It looks like Mother Nature and Old Man Winter aren’t quite on the same page at the moment and with some warmer temperatures and rain forecasted this week, we will be waiting at least another week before the lift chairs start moving. But even if Mother Nature isn’t quite ready for winter, Blue Mountain Resort certainly is. We had initially been targeting November 27 as the start to the ski season and with that in mind, the team here at Blue has been checking a lot of items off the to-do list. To hopefully help you get through the waiting period leading up to our official Opening Day, here is some behind-the-scenes insight into all that goes on in preparation for winter.

From Gondola to Chairlift

One of the most intensive changes that happens on resort is the changeover from the Gondola to the Silver Bullet Chairlift. Each gondola car is individually removed and stored on Resort. All of the elements of the lift is then inspected before the chairs are then loaded up onto the cable. The systems are once again tested and after careful installation and calibration, ta-da! We have changed from the system from pedestrian and downhill biker-mover to skier and rider-mover.

Snowmaking, snowmaking, snowmaking

Earlier in the fall, the snowmaking team at Blue set out to test all of our systems well in advance of the season. After a season of not using the pumps and lines, there can sometimes be leaks that need to be repaired and but running air and some water through the system early, any pre-snowfall work was taken care of.

As we are now seeing favourable temperatures for making snow, the team is taking advantage of every snowmaking window. The magic formula for making snow is a bit complicated but what we’re looking for is a minimum of a 4 hour window with consistent -2.2°C temperatures. We have started making snow leading up to Opening Day to store and use once we have enough of the white stuff to safely open trails.

Around on the Grounds

There are many things that go into changing over the grounds from green season to winter. Leaves need to be cleaned up, summer attractions need to be closed up, and a lot of work is put into festive décor around the resort and through the Village.

What is particularly interesting to see is the Cascade Putting Course transform into the bottom of the Smart Alec ski run. To make the Cascade Putting Course seem less out place with the surrounding natural environment and to deal with the practical challenge of skiing over half the course in winter the grounds team has developed a “pot in pot system”. Nineteen native trees (Maple and Spruce) are placed throughout the Course. The trees are planted in a high-end potting soil, in holes that are specially designed to properly drain and are irrigated throughout the summer. With quite a bit of effort, these trees are physically removed from the Course and stored every fall. The trees are kept in the pots for 2 years. Once the 2 years are up new trees are brought in as replacements and the older trees are planted throughout the Resort. It’s a great way to add to the natural beauty of the Putting Course while keeping a pipeline of new native trees available for planting wherever they may be needed.

A Team Effort

As the official opening day gets closer, the Resort is still preparing for the busy season and looking for seasonal staff to help serve the thousands of guests Blue Mountain draws each season. Seasonal jobs are great for student schedules and Blue has launched a new Tuition Assistance Program to help those working students save for their post-secondary education. After working at Blue for two consecutive seasons, student employees are eligible to apply for $500 toward their post-secondary education for each season they’ve been with us at Blue. Want to ski for free and join team? Visit our employment page to find out more!

Blue Mountain Resort’s earliest opening day was on November 25 in 1989 and a typical season starts around mid-December. The updated opening day for the season is yet to be confirmed but Blue Mountain will be providing updates on their social media accounts and on www.bluemountain.ca. Stay tuned and think SNOW!

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