Wintergreen Resort is in the midst of a major snowmaking upgrade, its most significant snowmaking infrastructure project since it converted to an automated system during the 2001-2003 seasons. As part of a $12 million infrastructure improvement project, Wintergreen is doubling its snowmaking production. Even before this upgrade, Wintergreen was the only resort on the East Coast with 100% of its terrain covered by automated snowmaking.
Snowmaking requires the right ingredients: An ample source of chilled water, the right combination of low temperatures and low humidity, the capacity to pump huge volumes of water up the mountain, and state-of-the-art automated guns to convert the chilled water to snow. Wintergreen can’t control the weather, but is investing in all the ingredients it can control. That begins with the construction of a 5-million gallon on-mountain water storage facility.
When the upgrade is complete, Wintergreen will be able to chill more than 3,000 gallons of water per minute. A 16-inch diameter pipeline from the snowmaking plant to key areas throughout the resort will allow Wintergreen to increase water volume and pressure to snowmaking guns. Wintergreen is also doubling its pumping capacity to 8,000 gallons of high-pressure water per minute.
The Virginia resort is also adding additional TechnoAlpin fan snow guns and additional MyNeige tower snow guns. Increased snowmaking in the Terrain Park and on The Plunge should allow the popular areas to open earlier in the season and stay open longer, according to the resort. Another benefit of the increased snowmaking is that snowmaking firepower can be concentrated overnight, reducing the amount of daytime snowmaking.
These investments should enable Wintergreen to prolong its season and produce a better quality snow product.
M. Scott Smith is the founder and Editor of DCSki. Scott loves outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and mountain biking. He is an avid photographer and writer.
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