Taking the Bad with the Good

Brundage Snow Blog
December 3, 2012 by

“You take the bad with the good, rise up through it. Live in the mist of it. It’s the bad that lets you know how good the good really is. Don’t let the bad leave you thinking like there ain’t any good. There is, and lots of it, too. ” Charles Martin – Chasing Fireflies

I don’t mean to get too literary on everyone, but this quote stuck in my head today as I was hiking around the mountain to assess the aftermath of this weekend’s storms. I had watched the base-area webcam all weekend long and knew already that the temperatures weren’t cold enough to give us what we all want this time of year.

I’ll show you what I found at different elevations in a moment. But before you embrace that ‘case of the Mondays’ feeling I got from my foray at 6,000 feet, I want to let you know that once I rose up through the bad (closer to the 6,500 foot level to be specific)…there was definitely also some good…’and lots of it, too.’

So, here we go. You didn’t have to be on site to notice the difference in the snowcam shots between Friday afternoon (Yay!)…

Friday, November 30

…and Monday morning. (Boo).

Monday, December 3

Sometimes during the preseason, we’ll scrape the snowbox in front of the measuring stick, but leave the snow in the back so we can see what the weather does to it. Yeah. We lost some ground in the base area.

The picnic bench shown below had about eight inches of snow on it before the weekend. (You can check out more photos from Friday in our previous blog post).

Needless to say, we didn’t gain any snowpack in the base area. We have about seven inches in most places.

What’s worse, there’s only about four inches of snow down toward the bottom of Bear and Centennial, and it’s a crusty mess in many places around the base.

So by now you’re probably starting to ask yourself when we get to the good part.

Here goes: the chunks above are frozen solid. Temperatures are decidedly lower across the mountain today.

And we did get A LOT of fresh snow on the upper mountain.

Before you grab your skins and hop in the car, you should know that there is a tenacious, breakable crust on most of the slopes.

The snow surface was pretty much petrified at the base area, and before I reached the level where the top of the Bear Chair sits, my snowshoes were crunching and punching through. Not TOO bad here on the flats where my foot sunk in a few inches.

On steeper slopes the surface gave way and my toes totally disappeared six to eight inches below the surface.

Needless to say, I was glad I was on snowshoes because these conditions make for NASTY skiing and are probably why grooming machines were invented in the first place.

Despite that, my spirits were pretty much soaring as I rose up toward mid-mountain. Even though the slopes were covered with rain wrinkles, I could tell there was LOTS of snow, too.

Looking up Griz

I’ll run through several views here in a row.

Red Fox



Lower Bear


Not a great day to Ski Daddle.


Looking uphill from the bottom of Engen

Looking uphill from the Alpine saddle

The backside of the Bear Chair Knob

Bear Chair Knob with Alpine in the background

There were about 14 inches of snow on the deck of the Bear’s Den. Overall, our mountain crews were reporting about 18-24 inches at mid-mountain depths. Now for the REALLY good news. We have EASILY three feet of snow at the summit. And it’s heavy, pre-season, base-building snow.

That means when we get enough snow to get our groomers on the lower mountain and base area, we should have really good coverage everywhere else.

We don’t know when we’ll be getting that healthy dose of snow in the base area. (The forecast is cause for both hope and concern these days.)

But rest assured, we are 100% ready to spring into action as soon as we get that snow. And while we’re feeling bad about how things are looking at the bottom, we’re feeling good about the amount of snow everywhere else. Because there IS good with the bad. And lots of it.

– April