With 100% of our lift served terrain open, we are now working towards prepping our hike-to and cat skiing terrain located north of the main ski area. We have 1635 acres of outfitter/guide permitted cat skiing terrain located on both sides of the Continental Divide. Mirkwood Basin comprises 130 acres of this zone and overlaps into the ski area’s Special Use Permit. Unlike some of the other lift served areas, Mirkwood takes quite a bit of work to get open.
The first step is for the MCS operators to build the initial over the snow road to the top of Mirkwood. This provides easier access for transporting staff and equipment. The avalanche mitigation begins with the initial round of explosives to test for instabilities prior to exposing any staff or volunteers. Once the initial routes have been conducted, ski cutting commences along with using our disruption roller in the open bowls. The treed areas and steeper chutes require hundreds of man/woman hours cutting and packing the snow down on skis.
Generally, we aim to have Mirkwood open by Christmas. With the solid start to winter, I am hopeful that we may get it open sooner. A lot depends on weather and snow stability. Here are a few pictures from our first day up there on November 24th. Stay tuned for more updates.