Last night was funny. The snow surface was good (by which I mean it was near-hero snow). It was grooming out nicely, if a little bit slower than the nights before. There were spots that hid problematic climbing qualities, especially if one overlapped the previous pass too generously with too much down pressure...d'oh!
I was beginning to feel the time crunch, when at 0400 my phone rang. It was Jeweler (working further up the mountain). Jeweler was worried that he was behind...in the weeds...I told him I felt it too, ran down my concerns, and said I'd edit the List... we'd be fine by morning.
Part of the problem was perception...Wednesday night's Work Orders were penned by the Mountain Manager. Every groomable run was on the List! (Including two winchcat trails that we do so rarely that the grooming crew had long since settled on leaving them out of our internalized List!) One of these we've groomed once so far this season, the other not yet this season. At shift change, we had all groused about the "unrealistic" List, and agreed that the as yet ungroomed "trail" could go ungroomed forever...that's how little we think of it!
Back on the hill, I keyed the mic on my 2-way and announced that we'd omit a few secondary trails, and come back for them in the morning should time allow, I reminded the crew of the source of the night's list, and told them that I didn't want them hurrying....just steady as you go...the quality of our product has been Top Shelf all season, and now was no time to sully our reputation on a weekday!
We kept grinding it out...we streamlined our circuits, and left out some generous flourishes, and before long our night began to jell. I even pulled up to a good spot and called: "I'm going 10-7 for lunch. I'm up on X Run" It was 0530.
My power nap ended after 20 minutes when the 2-way crackled with my name and number.
Marketing was 10 minutes early with their morning call. This is when I tell them what, if any changes were made to the Work Orders. They use the Grooming Report generated from the updated list for the Daily Trail Map for our guests, and the Grooming Report is also faxed to all the radio and television stations for inclusion in their On Air Ski Reports.
I told them that we got everything on the list except those two winchcat trails we rarely do, and one more big winchcat secondary trail (that was skiing fine). With the rising sun beginning to color the eastern sky, the crew's spirits began to rise. Slowly the free cats joined up into one big pack. Then right at 0700, one winchcat finished his list and joined the pack...now 4 machines strong...easily covering a 60 foot swath on every pass. The lower mountain was finished in short order, the second winch operator finished his final project, and we went back up the hill for one final secondary.
Three of us knocked it out in less than a half an hour. The winches tidied up the walking paths, and we were back at the fuel dock well before the lifts began loading.
Another hat, another rabbit...
Back in the Ready Room everyone was upbeat. The Boss came in with a sixer of Newcastle Brown Ale saying: "This is the first six pack of a case that the Big Boss gave you guys to thank you for the great job you did keeping up with the big storm." I asked: "Did we get our 100 inches in 100 hours?" Better everyone chimed: "100 inches in 96 hours!"
The night ended well, we punched out and enjoyed a Newcastle. I read the Reno AFD and the Storm Report from the Ready Room's terminal. Good news and good snow ahead...it's gonna be a lot colder than that Newcastle, and there won't be any wind to speak of once the snow starts falling Thursday night.