Thursday, April 7, 2011

Loosing It?

Usually by this time of year we are loosing our snow pack.  Not this year.  Instead of loosing it, we have had a net gain this week.  We received 15 cm of new snow on Saturday, 7 cm of snow on Monday and now at least 17 cm last night.  It has been a long spring so far but skiing is phenomenal.  This is the last week of ski hill operations and with the fresh snow and more in the forecast, Panorama has the best spring skiing conditions since I arrived here.

Snow Levels 4:00 PM April 6
Snow Levels 8:00 AM April 7

But this is supposed to be a golf course update and not a ski report.

Applying Black Sand to Practice Green
In order to deal with all the snow, the crew has been trying to assist Mother Nature melt snow over the past few weeks.  We have been spreading black sand onto the surface of the tarped greens.  The black sand attracts and retains heat and therefore speeds the melting process.  The end goal is to expose the tarps so we can speed their removal and get the golf course open quicker.


Black Sand on Practice Green - Now Under Snow
Assistant Superintendents Colin and Scott have been carrying out this arduous task.  It requires the right weather conditions - freezing cold temperatures in the morning followed by no snow and lots of sun.  Freezing temperatures in the morning are required in order to apply the sand to the snow surface.  Freezing temperatures allows Colin and Scott to walk on the surface without breaking through the snow.  They spread the sand by walking behind rotary fertilizer spreaders.  The sand is a dried product that comes in 50 lb bags.  This allows the sand to easily flow through the spreaders.  The 50lb bags allow for easier transportation around the golf course.  Not the easiest job when you are into moving pallets of 50lb bags by hand through winter conditions.  These guys have done an outstanding job and faced a few set backs. 

Weather has been the main setback.  Sun and no snow have been in short supply.  Every time we find a window to spread sand, it seems to cloud over and snow, wasting hours of work.  I have been joking that there is no need for snow making at Panorama next year.  If the mountain needs snow, the crew at Greywolf will apply black sand to a couple of greens and within eight hours it will snow. 

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