I saw down with first-year snowreporter Joe Schufman to discuss weather stations, how Big Sky Resort's snow report is gathered each day, and what it feels like to provide the world with great powder news from Big Sky Resort.
What time do you usually wake up in the morning?
I wake up at 3:45 a.m., but usually don't get out of bed until about 4:00 a.m. Once you are used to waking up this early it's no different than waking up at 8:00 a.m.
What's the very first thing you do when you get into the office?
I head straight to the computer to figure out how much snow we received overnight and what is going to happen with snow and weather today. To figure out snow totals we use automated weather stations and an on-mountain camera. These stations provide accurate totals for most of the mountain below treeline, for upper mountain totals we need to wait until about 8:00 a.m. for Ski Patrol to get on Lone Peak, and then they radio us with what the upper mountain snow totals are.
We use the best information we have available to determine snow totals, but it's not an exact science when 5,750 acres of terrain is combined with wind, aspect, and elevation. To counter the variable snowfall totals we report a range of snow - the lower number of that range represents the amount of snow the entire mountain received, and the upper number represents the areas that received more snow due to wind loading or elevation.
Can you give me a step-by-step of who you talk to in the mornings to get the snow report out to the public? Where do they get the snow report from?
Once I have the weather information I record a message on the Snow Phone with the pertinent information for the day: Current temperature, expected high temperature, low temperature, winds, skies, snowfall and snow totals: since lifts closed, 24-hour, 48-hour, and 7-day. If there are major events happening at the resort I include those too.
Next, I send out the information via a fax and an email and then I update five websites: Beta Scout, OnTheSnow, SnoCountry, Ski Montana, and a European site, Ski Resort Service International. Then I re-update the Snow Phone and the call two local radio stations. Depending on how hard it's snowing in the morning we can update our channels as frequently as every 30 minutes.
After this we start building the grooming report, which also reports similar weather, snow, events, and, obviously, groomed trails. Paper and electronic copies are distributed around 7:00 a.m. resort-wide.
Where are the weather stations located?
Our automated weather stations are located all around Big Sky Resort, and we even use some of the Yellowstone Club's automated weather stations. I use the instruments at Bavaria, Andesite, Lobo and Lookout Ridge. If you check out http://www.mtavalanche.com/weather there is a map with the locations of all the weather stations in the area pinned.
Where do we pull temperatures from?
Sten, our web guru, programmed the temperature feed from our Lobo Weather Station. Lobo is a mid-mountain weather station that is more or less an average temperature for the entire resort. The difference of the peak and base area temperature is about 10 degrees, so the peak and base area are + or - 5 degrees of what is reported by this feed. Typically Lone Peak is slightly cooler than Lobo, and Mountain Village Base Area is slightly warmer than Lobo, but sometimes Big Sky Resort experiences temperature inversions. When an inversion occurs it means that higher elevations are warmer than lower elevations. Make sure to check out Big Sky Resort's online Snow Report or call the Snow Phone as we report inverted temperatures.
What's your favorite thing about doing the snowreport?
It's really cool to be the first person awake on a powder day and getting to report the great news to the world. Other perks of the job are I get to work in an office with an outstanding team, I get time to ski almost every day because I have half of my work day done by 9:00 am, and finally we get to work on projects that we find interesting. It's great to work in many areas of the resort and learn how many departments operate.
Least favorite thing?
No secret here, waking up early and getting to ski every day means you go to bed early and are almost exclusively dedicated to the job and skiing.
People often ask the snowreporters or other team members at Big Sky Resort why we have one report for the entire mountain. Why do we do this? Or why do you think we do this?
We have one report because it adequately describes the conditions. The nature of any mountain means different snow conditions exist in different areas depending on winds, aspects, and elevations. Big Sky Resort is bigger than most mountains, but this doesn't mean we need to have four separate snow reports for the different areas of the mountain. What we do, that most mountains don't, is use a range of snowfall to accurately represent the minimum amount of snow the entire resort received and the maximum amount that skiers and riders can expect to find.
What is the trickiest part about reporting on snowfall over 5,750 acres?
Figuring out the right numbers. Conservative or liberal snow numbers mean that people won't get what they expected, which may lead to very dissatisfied guests. The reports that we create need to accurately describe what is happening at Big Sky Resort, so that people know what to expect.
Any other comments?
The office that I work in is great. Everyone is dedicated to their job, and watching the Sales and Marketing Team work together is like a v12 engine running on all cylinders. Ana, a second year Big Sky Snow Reporter, is an amazing coworker. She is an exceptionally fun person with tons of character. She applies her personality and passion for skiing and riding to her job, and the results are great.
Snowreporter Joe Schufman
Snowreporter Ana Dostert
"Photographs alter and enlarge our notions of what is worth looking at and what we have the right to observe ... we can hold the whole world in our heads-as an anthology of images. To collect photographs is to collect the world."-Susan Sontag On Photography
These photographs of the last two weeks at Big Sky Resort reflect our world and reach those near and far through the medium of blogging. Living Big: Stories from the Big Sky Life blog presents one way we can admire the massive amounts of snowfall we've received, but I urge you to come see for yourself. As living a life through photographs may show us the world, but it will not enliven our senses.
Photo: Perry Rust
Photo: Lonnie Ball
Photo: Lonnie Ball
Photo: Lonnie Ball
I'd like to say the Little Couloir in Big Sky, MT has long been on my "to-do" or "must-do" list. Well it's been on neither. I've seen a few descents of it over the last few years and none of them looked enjoyable. Firm, steep, oft rock-chocked would be better descriptors. Before my move to the Jackson in the winter of 2009/10 skiing "the Little" wasn't even in my wheelhouse. I was a mediocre intermediate/advanced skier anyways, and whatever aspirations I had to do more, I wasn't reaching as high as the Little. Now 4 years of 100+ a-day seasons later I've moved up the ladder to a mediocre sometimes-expert level skier. And my aspirations still don't reach as high.
Big Sky Ski Patrol opened the Little Friday 3/14/14. Local BSSP-Pro Patroller Josh Winstead informed me they ran "like 30 people through there." I was otherwise distracted by ski touring the mirco terrain off the Beehive Basin ridge line launching pillows and bashing branches. Saturday the area was closed and I had my sights set on the Lone Lake backcountry zone off the peak of Lone Mountain for Sunday. Josh had offered to guild what was to be my 1st trip back into this zone.
To read the full article on BCBuzzard's first descent, check out bcbuzzards.com
This Saturday evening, MT Living Health Coach Melinda Turner joins us once again at Big Sky Resort for "The Art of Eating for Energy." Not only is eating for energy vital to a community that thrives on snowsports and non-stop summer fun, but healthy eating (and drinking) does not always go hand-in-hand with such communities. It's easy for me to find an event where I can grab a beer and watch Dummy's jump or enjoy a margarita while listening to an awesome band at Whiskey Jack's, but I'm looking forward to more events at Big Sky Resort that involve a female expert on healthy eating and living as this is something I strive to improve in my own life.
Big Sky local Melinda Turner is the founder of MT Holistic Living, and helps so many of us in this small town find passion and purpose with our health. Turner's Pinterest page is the inspiration for today's Living Big post. Here are is my favorite recipe repined by Turner, and a great workout pin from Turner's Clean Eating Pinterest Board and Keep Moving Board.
Roasted Veggie and Black Bean Burritos:
• 2 whole Sweet Potatoes, Peeled And Cubed Small
• 2 whole Jalapenos Diced
• 1 whole Red Pepper, Diced Small
• 1 whole Red Onion, Diced Small
• 2 teaspoons Olive Oil
• 1 teaspoon Cumin
• 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
• 1 pinch Salt And Pepper
• 1 can Black Beans, Rinsed And Drained (15 Ounce Can)
• ½ cups Fresh Cilantro, Chopped
• 2 teaspoons Fresh Lime Juice
• 2 cups Shredded Cheddar
• 1 package Burrito-Sized Wheat Tortillas Or Wraps (6-10 Count)
In a bowl, toss your raw veggies in olive oil and season with spices. Place in a large baking dish and roast in 425 degree oven for 20 minutes, tossing around halfway through.
Let cool. Add your roasted veggies to a can of rinsed black beans. Add cilantro and squirt of lime juice. Combine gently. At this point, mixture can be stored for later use.
Warm your wheat tortillas or wraps in microwave according to directions on package. Spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray or olive oil spray.
Add two heaping tablespoons of vegetable and bean mixture to center of wrap. Top with shredded cheese. Fold over, fold in sides, place in pan and continue to roll the others. Place into your baking dish, seam side down so that they stay together.
Bake in 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Baking this way will make the tortilla wrap crisp. For a softer burrito, spray burrito with nonstick spray, then wrap in aluminum foil and bake for same amount of time.
Makes about 6 burritos.
Beginner Kettlebell Tips:
1) Two-handed kettlebell swing targets
2) One-handed kettlebell swing targets
3) Two-arm kettlebell row targets
4) Kettlebell figure-8
5) Kettlebell Russian Twists
Last Saturday Big Sky Resort hosted the 9th Annual Headwaters Spring Runoff. This was my first annual runoff and the first time a monoskier (two bindings on one board) took on The Headwaters. It was also a first for many competitors with 10 who had never competed in a big mountain competition before, and an additional half dozen who had never competed in the Headwaters Spring Runoff. I was not alone in my new surroundings, but gained a sense of belonging from this event's community. More than one-hundred spectators littered the snowy knoll above the finish line with youthful, albeit dirtbag, cheers. None of the 39 competitors came to the hi-vis finish without a cowbell, a yodel, or a friend handing out gummy bears to bring them home. Even Big Sky Resort's videographer, whose footage you're about to see, yelled out a congrats or two. The vibe was alive in the Stillwater Bowl that day. I can't wait to see what the juniors are going to bring this Saturday in the second leg of the Headwater Spring Runoff. Check out the two videos and the entire list of scores for the adult competition below.
Cinematography and Edited by Chris Kamman
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