Re: Looking for the straight goods (Pique letters to the editor, Dec. 19)
The Whistler-Blackcomb snowphone relies on weather data that is collected at the Pig Alley weather station, located at 1,650 metres on Whistler Mountain. As an official Environment Canada reporting station, it is the station of record for the Whistler area. This location was chosen because it is in an area below the treeline that is rarely wind affected; therefore, it is an accurate reflection of how much snow has actually fallen. Data collection and forecasting happens twice daily, at 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. While Blackcomb Mountains processes are similar, the Catskinner weather plot is located at 1,550 metres. The snowfalls recorded at this station frequently differ significantly from the recordings at Pig Alley due to its lower elevation, as well as its location on the other side of the valley.
The 6 a.m. snow phone recording uses snowfall information gathered by the night-shift groomers at approximately 5 a.m. each morning. On Dec. 5 th , 20 cm of new snow was recorded at 5 a.m. At 6:15 a.m., weather readings were taken by the ski patrol and an additional 6 cm of snow had fallen. This information is used on the updated recording at 7:30 a.m. In order to provide guests with easy access to current information, Whistler-Blackcomb has invested in Web cams and electronic sensors. The Web site uses snowfall information collected by electronic sensors, which are not quite as accurate as manually obtained readings.
This explains the discrepancies that can occur during the storm cycle, and is akin to comparing apples to oranges: manual readings taken over a given 36 hour period compared to electronic readings taken over a given 48 hour period.
At the beginning of the season there were minor difficulties with some of the Whistler-Blackcomb phone lines. The Nov. 18 th weather recording was still being played on some phone lines as recently as Dec. 22 nd . Thank you for bringing this to our attention. This problem has now been resolved. You can reach the Whistler-Blackcomb Avalanche Information Line at 604-938-7676, and the Whistler snowphone at 604-932-4211.
Please feel free to drop by the Whistler Alpine Office any time and I would be pleased to show you our weather records as well as the Pig Alley weather station.
Whistler Mountain Avalanche Forecaster
I write this in response Kevin Reas letter of Dec. 12. I often read letters that I disagree with, sometimes strongly, but it has been a long time since I read a comment in the local paper that inspired me to write a rebuttal. Mr. Rea belittled the significance of Whistler. Its Our Future responses submitted by local high school students. He questioned if votes from 13-18 year olds can really be counted as a part of the process of mapping out Whistlers future.
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