May 2023

Mountain Spy :: May 2023

Will there still be corduroy if it's snowing?

Written by The Editors | 0 comment


When the Spy picked up the phone in spring to begin this mission, historic snow totals throughout Utah and California were rolling in fast and furious with more storms in the forecast. Industry folks and powder hounds love to celebrate storm skiing and snow days, but your average skier or rider often prefers their powder packed for easy cruising.  

Now, not every resort can or should cater to every market, but amid all the powder day bruhaha, the Spy wondered what the mountains at the epicenter of the storm would have to say to a groomer guy or gal. Would they be friendly but frank (there are no groomers on a storm day, but expect some corduroy in the days to come)? Or too cool for school (if you don’t like powder, why do you even ski, bro)? 

Many handled the question with aplomb, providing realistic information about grooming capabilities and upcoming snow forecasts. Others were too brusque to be inviting, even when the answer was “yes, we’ll have groomers.” Employees get burnout at the end of the season, but if you are open, it remains in your best interest to treat customer inquiries with curiosity and kindness.  

Been asked an interesting question this season? Send it to for the Spy to pose to other mountains! We won’t tell anyone the question came from you. Plus, if we use it, your park will be immune for that issue.



First Contact: Female.

SAM: Stated question.

Staff: Yes, quite a bit of the trails are groomed unless we are getting a ton of snow.

SAM: OK. I just wanted to make sure I could find some groomers even if it is snowing.

Staff: Yeah, I mean, I wouldn’t recommend coming on a day we are getting dumped on if you’re looking for groomers, but if it’s lightly snowing, you’ll be able to find some groomed runs. There might be a layer of snow on top of them since it is snowing.

SAM: Makes sense. And you said there are quite a bit of groomed trails?

Staff: Yep, and you can take a look at our snow report for a detailed list.

SAM: Great, thank you.

Staff: Yep, have a good day. Goodbye.

Score: 8

Comment: Her honesty when recommending that I might want to skip the heavy powder days was great. Honest feedback is always the way to go.



First Contact: Female.

SAM: Stated question.

Staff: Um, yeah, it’s not snowing super hard right now, but they groom in the morning and then they groom again between four and five. So just like most resorts, we can’t really groom while people are actively skiing.

SAM: OK, that makes sense. 

Staff: So, if you do come when it is snowing, you should still be able to find groomed trails.

SAM: Great. Do you guys groom entire trails or just portions of them?

Staff: They usually groom the entire hill, sometimes it changes.

SAM: Great, thank you.

Staff: Yep, goodbye.

Score: 8

Comment: It was great to be told their grooming schedule and what to expect on that groomed terrain (wall-to-wall corduroy). She didn’t note whether the amount of snowfall would impact my ability to find groomed trails—hopefully, she hasn’t set me up with false expectations.



First Contact: Female.

SAM: Stated question.

Staff: Yes, they groom in the morning.

SAM: OK, and are there quite a bit of groomed runs?

Staff: Yes.

SAM: OK. Thank you.

Staff: Yep, goodbye.

Score: 2

Comment: What does it sound like when a groomer-only skier asks a powder lover a question about groomers? This. She was too perfunctory to be helpful. They groom in the morning… and then what?



First Contact: Female.

SAM: Stated question.

Staff: (short) No, there isn’t going to be anything groomed today. 

SAM: Oh, OK. In the future, if I do come on a snowy day, do you groom the trails?

Staff: Oh, yes. It is just snowing so hard today, and we are getting so much that we cannot keep up. 

SAM: I understand, I just wanted to make sure that if we come sometime that we will have groomed trails to ski on.

Staff: Yes, you will, and you can always look at our snow report before you come.

SAM: OK. Thank you.

Staff: (dismissive) Yep, bye.

Score: 5

Comment: She seemed annoyed with my initial question, as though the answer should be obvious. But she recovered a bit. Remember, there are no stupid questions, only answers that make the asker feel stupid.



First Contact: Male.

SAM: Stated question.

Staff: Yes. Unless we have gotten a ton of snow, we usually groom quite a bit.

SAM: What is considered enough snow to not groom?

Staff: Um, I am not quite sure. It would have to be a lot of snow.

SAM: OK. And are there quite a few trails that are groomed?

Staff: It’s usually around 30 runs groomed, but you can always check out our snow report page.

SAM: Great, thank you.

Staff: Yep, do you have any other questions?

SAM: No that is all.

Staff: OK, have a great day.

Score: 7

Comment: He took the time to answer each of my questions and didn’t rush me off the phone. Those are good things. Pointing me to the snow report made good sense too. 



First Contact: Female.

SAM: Stated question.

Staff: Yes, we usually do, but today we didn’t due to the amount of snow.

SAM: OK. Are a lot of them usually groomed?

Staff: Yes, we usually have a fair amount groomed, and we list them on our snow report each day.

SAM: Great, and do you groom the whole run or are the runs just partially groomed?

Staff: It usually varies by trail, but you can find some powder usually on the sides.

SAM: Perfect, thanks so much.

Staff: Yep, have a good one.

SAM: Thank you, goodbye.

Score: 6

Comment: She was friendly, and it is always great to have questions met with more than a yes or no answer. One note: she made the assumption that I was looking for powder on the side of the trails rather than wall-to-wall grooming. Not always a safe assumption.



First Contact: Male.

SAM: Stated question.

Staff: Yep, we do groom.

SAM: Do you groom a lot of runs?

Staff: Yes, there are quite a few.

SAM: Do you groom the entire trail or just some of the trail?

Staff: Just a few swipes.

SAM: OK, thank you.

Staff: Yep. Goodbye.

Score: 1

thumbs downComment: It’s not hard to explain when the groomers go out, where the snow report is located on your website, or where/when to find the best groomed terrain. He didn’t attempt to do any of that.



First Contact: Female.

SAM: Stated question.

Staff: Um, you know what, I am not sure. I can transfer you to ski patrol. 

SAM: Thank you.

Brief hold.

Second Contact: Male.

SAM: Restates question.

Staff: Uh, don’t count on it. It’s going to be a very bumpy day. 

SAM: Oh, OK.

Staff: We groom the trails, but we have gotten a ton of snow afterwards.

SAM: OK. So, if I come in the future, the runs are groomed but may still have snow on top?

Staff: Yes, if you come on a day that we aren’t getting dumped with snow, just a light snowing, the runs are fairly groomed.

SAM: OK. Thank you.

Staff: Yep. Bye, bye.

Score: 9

thumbs upComment: I appreciated the quick transfer to a department with the right answer. The patroller I spoke with was friendly and took the time to explain how snowfall can impact regularly scheduled grooming.

Identity revealed: Snowbasin