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Skiing Whales??????

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zephyr
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Posted: Jan 30, 2007 - 10:53 PM GMT

I was at cannon on saturday and the zoomer trail had "whales" on them as the report said at the bottom of the zoomer lift. The "whale" were humongus mounds of snow which you basically ski down. Anyone ever seen these before?

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ski whaleback. that is all.
wanderingskis
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Posted: Jan 30, 2007 - 11:05 PM GMT

Yes! They had some of those at Wachusett on Friday of last week on Ralphs Run and Look Mom!!! Very fun to ski!
telemechanic
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Posted: Jan 30, 2007 - 11:46 PM GMT
Edited: Jan 31, 2007 - 12:57 AM GMT

A whale is the pile of snow a snow gun makes before it gets pushed out by a groomer. At Loon today there was at pointy one on Rolling Bear that looked like Mt. Crumptet (think Grinch). There were enormous ones at the top of Sunset that filled the entire width of the narrows at the top of the trail. You had to climb up them to get past. When they make snow to open the terrain park each whale (a dozen or more) is usually as big a small house.
elcamino57
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Posted: Jan 31, 2007 - 12:05 AM GMT

I love it when they whale up the slopes, use to be an early season thing, not now. Have not come across any yet this year. Maybe next week.
JerryG
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Posted: Jan 31, 2007 - 3:39 AM GMT

Is this a joke??? I honestly thought that whales were the norm just after a trail has been opened with snowmaking. The idea being that you make a ton, wait for the water to settle, and then groom it out after a couple fo days. Whales can be fun, but a lot of the time, they are powdery on one side and blue ice on the other. Regardless, I assume those that ski at places that make A LOT of snow are used to seeing whales almost every time snow is made, but perhaps some areas make much less snow. Could be why they don't open? I am admittedly spoiled by by good snowmaking.

__________
"Thru the darkness of Future Past the magician longs to seeone chants out between two worlds 'Fire-walk with me.' " http://33isthenew23.blogspot.com
shenty
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Posted: Jan 31, 2007 - 2:14 PM GMT

I love whales. The had a bunch at Sunapee on Wingding and Skyway on Saturday. It takes some of the routine out of an otherwise standard groomer. It also tests your reactions, in flat light I've hit a few and either got unexpected air, or had to quickly compress to absorb the whale.

But they don't last too long as they are essential storage.

__________
There's no waiting for friends on a powder day.
professor
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Posted: Jan 31, 2007 - 6:08 PM GMT

One season in the early 80's (that is, the dark ages of snowmaking and grooming) Stowe made an oversized "whale" on Liftline, right above its confluence with National. It avalanched, and made a mess out of that part of the mountain for much of a season.
JerryG
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Posted: Jan 31, 2007 - 6:11 PM GMT

Sunday River had two snowmaking avalanches last week while preparing to open Black Hole, a trail with a short, but very steep headwall. They blew snow over natural, which can be an issue sometimes if there is little or no underbrush. The second slide was when a winch-cat was actaully on the headwall and the snow let go. Good thing for the winch. The cat wouldn't have gone far, but it would have freaked me out, especially at night.

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"Thru the darkness of Future Past the magician longs to seeone chants out between two worlds 'Fire-walk with me.' " http://33isthenew23.blogspot.com
Skileader
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Posted: Feb 01, 2007 - 7:42 AM GMT

Quite a few whales on upper Mackenze at W/F on Tue. Great snow.

__________
Bob P.
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Posted: Feb 01, 2007 - 12:39 PM GMT
Edited: Feb 01, 2007 - 12:59 PM GMT

Unfortunately for my readers I have my two cents worth on this subject. Whales can be rather dangerous even when they aren't in avalanche condition. Bromley has about a hundred of them right now on their fastest trails. I find them rather un-natural in their shapes and positions which can throw your rythm off dramatically while descending. They also appear quickly and are hidden behind the snow of the guns. Futhermore, when left for a period of time, they often gain a slick crust which doesn't break under a skier's weight. It's also easy to jump them and then land at bad angles on the next one. One time I went up to the North face of Mt. Snow in the spring with a highly skilled skier. They had blown a huge 30 foot whale above the steepest section of Ripcord. He went over it in fine style, but I hesitated at the apex, bailing out. I was the object of derision for hours after that. Nevertheless, he can no longer ski without excruciating pain due to his persistent ankle injury and the way he insists on aggravating it when skiing while I continue to enjoy the sport. Both of us had previous ankle injuries prior to that day which had pretty much ended our competitive careers. He now lives in the South because he suffers emotionally seeing skis on roofracks when he can't go skiing.
Bkroon9175
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Posted: Feb 01, 2007 - 5:50 PM GMT

True Grit at WV had big whales on it yesterday.........
DrJeff
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Posted: Feb 01, 2007 - 5:57 PM GMT

How'd you like to ski/ride these whales??
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elcamino57
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Posted: Feb 01, 2007 - 6:33 PM GMT

Quote:
Unfortunately for my readers I have my two cents worth on this subject. Whales can be rather dangerous even when they aren't in avalanche condition. Bromley has about a hundred of them right now on their fastest trails. I find them rather un-natural in their shapes and positions which can throw your rythm off dramatically while descending. They also appear quickly and are hidden behind the snow of the guns. Futhermore, when left for a period of time, they often gain a slick crust which doesn't break under a skier's weight. It's also easy to jump them and then land at bad angles on the next one. One time I went up to the North face of Mt. Snow in the spring with a highly skilled skier. They had blown a huge 30 foot whale above the steepest section of Ripcord. He went over it in fine style, but I hesitated at the apex, bailing out. I was the object of derision for hours after that. Nevertheless, he can no longer ski without excruciating pain due to his persistent ankle injury and the way he insists on aggravating it when skiing while I continue to enjoy the sport. Both of us had previous ankle injuries prior to that day which had pretty much ended our competitive careers. He now lives in the South because he suffers emotionally seeing skis on roofracks when he can't go skiing.

Anyone that has been to Mt Snow knows Ripcord is sometime dangerous and there is a sign there before you go down, Seems as though your friend should have had more common sense when going down, I usually check it out from the bottom first from River run, then make a mental note of which side to take being the conditions, personally it is to short of a trail for the pitch but it can be really fun sometimes when it is the right conditions. My son and I did the spring race there one year, the Gladitor event and it was just a great time. I dont know how you screwed up your ankles, I never had come across this in all my years of skiing and ski racing, maybe your boots were to loose, something is wrong there. Hope this info helps you out. Goodday.

yardsale
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Posted: Feb 02, 2007 - 1:42 AM GMT

Most areas smooth out their whales soon after they are finished making snow on that particular trail. Loon, as I understand it, caches snow by keeping whales in tact in certain strategic shady areas so they can "use" this snow later after they have exhausted their snow making water credits - which this year will probably be early Feb.
weedywart
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Posted: Feb 02, 2007 - 2:09 PM GMT
Edited: Feb 02, 2007 - 2:11 PM GMT

Quote:
Seems as though your friend should have had more common sense when going down, I usually check it out from the bottom first from River run, then make a mental note of which side to take being the conditions, personally it is to short of a trail for the pitch but it can be really fun sometimes when it is the right conditions. My son and I did the spring race there one year, the Gladitor event and it was just a great time. I dont know how you screwed up your ankles, I never had come across this in all my years of skiing and ski racing, maybe your boots were to loose, something is wrong there. Hope this info helps you out. Goodday.
Sorry, but I don't think you know all that much about skiing in spite of your experience. My friend was an excellent skier and a former competitive gymnast. He found the trail easy. He injured his ankle on either the Plunge or the Stairs at Telluride when he lived there. He attributes the injury to skis that were too long. Personally, my sprain was due to skiing bumps in heavy, soft snow with a rear entry boot and skiis that were too long. I recently read on a sport's medicine website that ankle injuries were quite common in winter sports.

telemechanic
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Posted: Feb 02, 2007 - 5:23 PM GMT

Quote:
Most areas smooth out their whales soon after they are finished making snow on that particular trail. Loon, as I understand it, caches snow by keeping whales in tact in certain strategic shady areas so they can "use" this snow later after they have exhausted their snow making water credits - which this year will probably be early Feb.


Many areas preserve snow in "Whales" for use late in the season (a pile melts slower than snow thats been spread), commonly at the top of trails or in natural depressions. This kind of whale blends into the slope of the trail unlike the freshly made whales that been mentioned frequently in this thread.

Loon has traditionally ended its snow making season the week before Massachussetts school vacation not because of water but because that is when we've pulled the plug for years. This year should be no different especially since the weather in November and December was so poor for making snow, we didn't even open until December 8th(?). As long as the level of the East Branch River stays normal we can make snow. The question posed by some at the mountain is whether we'll go later this year to make up for lost weeks of snowmaking. My guess is "No". One, because its a budget thing, and two, because in the last two weeks we've made an incredible amount of snow.

joshua segal
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Posted: Feb 02, 2007 - 5:40 PM GMT

JerryG said:
Quote:

Whales can be fun, but a lot of the time, they are powdery on one side and blue ice on the other.

elcamino57 said:
Quote:
..., I usually check it out from the bottom first from River run, then make a mental note of which side to take being the conditions,...

weedywart attacked:
Quote:
Sorry, but I don't think you know all that much about skiing in spite of your experience. ...


If I am skiing whales, I too will do like both JerryG and elcamino57. Check out whether they are icy or have knife edges on the down hill sides or whatever. It makes for a mucher safer and more pleasant run the next time.

And weedywart: you can disagree without being defensive or disagreeable

__________
Joshua Segal
yardsale
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Posted: Feb 03, 2007 - 12:54 AM GMT

I wrote
Quote:
Most areas smooth out their whales soon after they are finished making snow on that particular trail. Loon, as I understand it, caches snow by keeping whales in tact in certain strategic shady areas so they can "use" this snow later after they have exhausted their snow making water credits - which this year will probably be early Feb.


Then..
Quote:
Many areas preserve snow in "Whales" for use late in the season (a pile melts slower than snow thats been spread), commonly at the top of trails or in natural depressions. This kind of whale blends into the slope of the trail unlike the freshly made whales that been mentioned frequently in this thread.

Loon has traditionally ended its snow making season the week before Massachussetts school vacation not because of water but because that is when we've pulled the plug for years. This year should be no different especially since the weather in November and December was so poor for making snow, we didn't even open until December 8th(?). As long as the level of the East Branch River stays normal we can make snow. The question posed by some at the mountain is whether we'll go later this year to make up for lost weeks of snowmaking. My guess is "No". One, because its a budget thing, and two, because in the last two weeks we've made an incredible amount of snow.


Thanks, I always thought that Loon was restricted in the water they used - they could only use so much then they were shut off - I assumed it coincided with MA Feb school vaca week - because they wanted the best possible conditions leading up to that week and blew so much snow so they could taut it but would use all available water. Every year (for the past 8 years) I come up to Loon for mid-week skiing with a very large group around Feb 8-13 or so (3 days midweek depending on year) and the conditions have always been superior and in talking to MT employees - they would tell me that they go all out in snowmaking just prior to that vaca week and that they have exhausted their snowmaking water and were done. So I guess thats wrong and they simply stop because after all the MAholes leave, there is no reason to make more snow. BTW, in recent years, they have lucked out, as after the official shut down of snowmaking they have rec'd serious natural snow to sustain them.
weedywart
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Posted: Feb 04, 2007 - 12:53 PM GMT
Edited: Feb 04, 2007 - 12:55 PM GMT

weedywart attacked:
Quote:
Sorry, but I don't think you know all that much about skiing in spite of your experience. ...


Whoa there pal. What makes you classify my post as an attack? In my opinion he doesn't know all that much about skiing, and I made it clear. For that matter I don't think you do either.
Quote:


And weedywart: you can disagree without being defensive or disagreeable
I don't read your personal messages as I know they are going to be personally offensive. Informing someone that they are posting out of ignorance and demonstrating why their ideas are wrong in my world doesn't constitute a personal attack. For that matter attacking ideas and opinions is allowed. I haven't been opening this thread as it won't give me any more information than I already have. Futhermore, if I find your experience narrow although extensive, I will also see it as lacking in wisdom. Finally, I don't know how you can disagree without being disagreeable, but perhaps in your world snow is not white.

skiingfanatic68
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Posted: Feb 04, 2007 - 2:25 PM GMT
Edited: Feb 04, 2007 - 2:26 PM GMT

Hey we forgot to mention Talisman with big whale.

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