A few weeks ago, we had the privilege of skiing Moonlight early in the morning with the Mountain Manager. He was full of fun facts and cool happenings on the mountain and we thought we'd share some highlights of our conversation here.
MB: We hit a few of the lower mountain blacks much earlier in the season this year. It was great!
MM: Yeah, we actually acquired a tool called a masticator last season and over the summer we used it to clean up a bunch of runs on both the Moonlight and Big Sky sides. It really made a difference when it came to the early season conditions.
MB: What is a masticator?
MM: It's a machine that essentially churns up everything under 3 feet tall. It basically saws tree stumps and other brush down to the nub to make for better skiing and nicer runs.
MB: Wow that sounds great. What runs did you take it on?
MM: We cleaned up Single Jack, Double Jack, Marshall, and plenty of others. A ski run, depending on the size and steepness usually takes several days with the masticator. For the steepest parts of the runs, where the masticator can't go, we had chainsaw crews out.
MB: We thought the Jacks had been cleaned up! So it's a super efficient way to significantly improve the runs?
MM: Absolutely, it also allows the mountain to open those runs much earlier in the season, because we're not waiting for snow to cover a bunch of shrubs on the ground.
MB: Fantastic! What else is happening on the mountain?
MM: Also, over the summer, we replaced the diesel motor on the Lone Tree lift with an electric lift that is now more efficient, quieter, and better for the planet.
MB: That's really great - thanks for all the work your team does.
Overall, we're really appreciative of the work the team did over the summer to get the mountain ready.
Note: we didn't bring pen and paper on the lift with us for the interview, so this is a paraphrasing of the conversation!