Trey’s Tracks: Your Friendly Neighborhood Snow Reporter
Snow’s on the hill, feet are in my boots, and a mask is on my face as I make my way up to the Valley House at 5:45 AM, Saturday – Tuesday. My name is Trey Blaskey and I am your friendly neighborhood snow reporter! I write the snow report, update trail/lift status, count every inch of snow, read weather reports, record our snow phone, test our product, and interact with my favorite people on the mountain – the Sugarbushers. You can find me resolving issues, handing out stickers, and talking about the snow at the guest services desk on Saturdays and Sundays.
The winds of time brought me to Sugarbush after returning from a year and a half of teaching English to students in India after I graduated from Stonehill College. The Mad River Valley Magic is real – I got hooked on easy access to the best ski mountain in the North East, Vermont’s well-managed hiking and mountain biking trail systems, all the glorious rocks to climb, and the tasty craft beer.
A Day as a Snow Reporter
A typical reporting day starts when my first alarm goes off at 5:00 AM. I roll out of bed and head to my coffee machine to bring a fresh pot of light roast to work with me. Coffee is a key component to my existence, I usually go black or with a touch of VT maple syrup. I’m lucky to live right on the Sugarbush Access Road, so I get to enjoy a short drive to the mountain. I walk up from the being the first car in the employee lot, and then head to my cube in the Valley House.
Walking across Spring Fling in the morning usually gives me a good idea about the lower mountain conditions. Immediately after arriving, I check our snow stakes to see how much I’ll be reporting that morning. Then, I dive right in to writing the narrative using weather information gathered from Sugarbush’s personal meteorologist. I also use information regarding lifts and trails from the mountain operations daily snow plan, as well as any information that is on the internet or out on the hill.
Snow conditions are influenced by many things, but arguably the most important thing (besides if there’s new natural snow) is the cold/warm cycles we go through. Did the mountains temps drop to 0 after being above freezing for a day? If so, you’re looking at a firm day out on the mountain, where our complex snow crystals break down into simple beads of granular. Ultimately, snow is just frozen water in a crystallized form. The more complex these crystalline structures are, the softer the powder, with natural snow usually being the softest.
I’ve got a deadline of 6:45 AM to have our written report submitted to Snow Country, so by then I’m moving on to other phases of the reporting process like sending 3,000+ people a snow report email, sending everyone at Sugarbush a copy, recording our snow phone, and monitoring radio chatter for trail and lift updates. Once all the morning reporting boxes have been ticked, I move to guest services or other projects while adding updates as the day goes on.
I have a ton of fun recording the snow phone, give it a ring at (802) 583-7669 to hear the latest updates on the mountain. If you made it this far, thanks a lot for tuning in to the season 2 debut of Trey’s Tracks. I hope to get to meet you out on the hill and talk snow, after all I am your friendly neighborhood snow reporter!