I had a great day off yesterday. I took the opportunity to ski at another ski resort. It is always fun and interesting to ski around. You can see a variety of different ways to do things plus you have more fun skiing. When skiing our own area, as an operator, we tend to focus on current operatons rather than enjoying our turns. Of course, while skiing someplace else, we cannot help but make comparisons to our resort, both good and bad.

In comparison, the biggest difference that I noticed was the quality of snow surfaces. Where I was skiing, the surface was quite firm and by 11:00 AM very skied off. This resort uses an air / water system. They had obviously made what we refer to as "production snow", which is generally quite wet, creating a firm base. It grooms out well but does get skied off down to the hard base. Saddleback has an airless system with large fan guns. They work exceptionally well at cold temperatures, like what we had during the past two weeks. We also use an additive called Drift. The additive creates a nucleus for the snow crystals to form around. This gives the snow flakes much more body and keeps the snow much drier which means, softer surfaces. At Saddleback we also stay on a trail much longer than most areas, this because our philosophy is quality. Leaving a deep base vs. thin cover allows the groomers more base to work, creating a better quality surface. There were many trails that I skied yesterday that were very thin. So thin, that the groomers tiller had pulled small pebbles to the surface in several areas.

My wife Lisa was skiing with me yesterday. She skied at Saddleback again this morning. She made the comment that these snow surfaces were so much better. I hope that you too will visit sometime during the holidays and give our surfaces your own test. If you would like to reach me, send your thoughts to cklefos@saddlebackmaine.com .