After it has snowed the access road to the NOT is the last to be cleaned, and often the observatory snowplow can not remove the snow if it is relatively high as on the side away from the mountain there is an embankment which prevents the snow being pushed aside easily which together with the step road carries the danger for the snowplow to get stuck. This requires a shovel machine which typically takes some time to arrive. It was agreed to buy a small shovel machine for common ORM use, where it was noted that in general it would be good to have such a machine for the area around the Residencia. This machine might then be used on the access road to the NOT if a shovel machine is not available yet, which in some circumstances might allow access to the telescope one night earlier. It was noted that Mercator and the Liverpool telescope actually are planning to get a snow machine and it was decided to buy a similar one for common use. They are actually not so expensive and as there is no guarantee that the common machine will be available when we really need it we are considering to purchase one ourselves.
Thomas Augusteijn 2012-02-21