Spring brings its share of temperature variations that have a significant impact on snow conditions.

Tremblant’s snow products supervisor, Richard Lyng, reveals its team’s secrets:

First of all, in the spring, snow is no longer in the shape of a crystal. It turns into a water droplet. When temperatures rise, the upper layer of snow becomes much like “butter” and becomes very difficult to handle. Then, in the evening, when temperatures drop, surfaces gradually harden. That means that the first runs to be groomed at night will be the hardest ones the next morning.

The strategy, to allow everyone to be able to enjoy the slopes, is to start mechanical work on the expert slopes located in areas exposed to the first rays of sunlight. Thus, the Supérieure sector will most often be groomed first. The last slopes to be groomed will be the beginner level slopes on the South Side, as they will offer a more granular surface in the morning and will therefore be accessible to less experienced skiers.

The snow maintenance team must evaluate snow conditions, day and night, based on sun orientation, percentage of natural snow (melting faster than artificial snow) and short-term forecasts. A plan is drawn up daily and the grooming methods are adjusted in consequences. For example, when snow crystals freeze, grooming must be done at a reduced speed to ensure that the hardened snow is properly crushed. In the worst cases, the resulting top layer will come out as snow balls that will eventually turn into granular snow as the day progresses. These balls are not the most pleasant to ski, but are much better than ice patches.

Another major difficulty with spring grooming is that water-filled snow offers very little traction for grooming machines. These high-tech machines are sometimes unable to reach the harder layer on steeper runs and winches must then be used to groom, further slowing down the process.

“Snow management is intense on the slopes during the spring! It is important to move snow around as little as possible to optimize results, so, sometimes, if a run hasn’t been groomed, it’s because we have assessed that it was the best thing to do”, confirms our expert, who also notes that Tremblant has the best team to manage these types of conditions.

The best tip for skiers? Follow the sun! Start the day on the North Side and follow the natural warming of snow-covered surfaces. Also make sure your equipment is ready and your edges are sharp.

Enjoy the snow!

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