Just was wondering what the benefit of this is? I live on the East coast if that matters.
i believe one it is to stock pile it. They just build it up and push it down instead of having a lot of snow guns. Another reason is so all the water drips down and freezes leaving a nice hard base level.
Long time lurker here and former snowmaker so I guess here is a nice spot for me to drop in to these forums. They really shouldnt be making huge piles as the bigger the pile gets the more snow crystals the pile crushes. Then they should let the pile sit and cure for 48 hours which allows excess water leach out and for all the snow crystals, which are like eggs in that they have a frozen shell but the center is still fluid, to properly freeze. If presssed for time they will push the snow almost immediately after making the pile which results in a bullet proof snow. Great for race courses like the Birds of Prey in Beaver Creek and park features but really bad for normal runs where you want a more spreadable surface. I have no idea why they are making hugh piles up top but maybe thats where they have the best temps for blowing snow. The more you push snow the more damage you do to it so the best way is to make little piles right next to each other so each pile has time to cure and is less work for the snowcat as he can just come along and push the top of the piles instead of dealing with one huge pile. Hope that helps.
Easier to do that and then use the cats to spread it around than it is to constantly move the guns.
Not true, It takes more man and equipment hours to push snow than to move a gun, and most of the time your just pointing the gun somewhere else which takes 2 seconds. You should only move guns if the winds change or your finished and you need to move the guns to a new run.
Methinks bigger piles = stockpiling = the pile sticks around longer, which makes sense considering the last year of winter weather the northeast had. I ride in the northeast too, I work at a mountain in NH too and the General Manager (during our pre-season orientation) harped multiple times on the fact that no snow = no revenue for ski resorts.
Interesting stuff Rockpen. We always call them Whale Tails.
I have heard that the water content of the snow also impacts how long they keep them on the trail. For instance if blowing snow during real windy conditions they will make a wetter snow so it doesn't get blown around.. and then they need to let that stick around longer to cure as rockpen noted.