Snow making costs
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SeniorSki
2 months ago
Member since 01/31/2022 🔗
45 posts
Curious, I imagine every resort is different. When the decision is made to make snow is it a big risk to impact the total profit for a ski season? Or is it the price of doing ski business, perception and base building. I would think spirts would be down a tad when fresh snow is produced only to watch it melt away before the first skiers even make tracks. Are profit margins that narrow? Or just reducing the profit percentage by a few points? I always wish for a solid winter season, cold and snowy. We moved to the DC area in the late 60’s. When winter set in, it stayed cold. I remember the Potomac freezing and you could skate on the C&O canal. Now we get 60’s in January it has got to drive operations crazy. Hats off to the resorts for making a product that was unimaginable in the 60’s and 70’s.  
marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
2 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,988 posts

Bottom line is that the decision making process is different for every ski area/resort.  They all need to have as many slopes as possible covered before the winter break holiday weeks.  Important factors include what snowmaking staff are available by early November, how the electric bill is set up, how many automated snowguns exist, and the list goes on.

Kenny Hess, who has been working at Massanutten for quite a while, noted that the way Massanutten has the electric bill set up makes it easier to blow snow early and late.

Interview Series: Massanutten’s Kenny Hess - January 2022

Cataloochee is the NC ski area that is the farthest south.  Appalachian is the smallest.  Cat has typically been either first-to-open or tied with Sugar since the 1960s.  App opens relatively early and stays open relatively late because they don't skimp on snowmaking efforts as long as they are open and Mother Nature helps out.

Somewhere I read that the two holiday weeks in late Dec into early Jan can account for 35% of total revenue for the season.  Probably saw that comment in SkiSoutheast.

teleman
2 months ago
Member since 07/8/2005 🔗
161 posts
According to the book “downhill slide” by Hal Clifford, which was published in the early 2000s snowmaking operating costs are $1000 per acre inch…. And in today’s dollars it’s easily two or three times that amount.
SeniorSki
2 months ago
Member since 01/31/2022 🔗
45 posts
Is solar even a viable alternative? Panels on stand alone units. Probably not even close to the amount of energy needed to power a “gun” for a day, but it might offset some costs, albeit at a very small percentage. 
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marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
2 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,988 posts

teleman wrote:

According to the book “downhill slide” by Hal Clifford, which was published in the early 2000s snowmaking operating costs are $1000 per acre inch…. And in today’s dollars it’s easily two or three times that amount.

 Maybe, maybe not.  A snowgun bought in 2022 can be a lot more efficient than one bought in 2000.  Of course, labor costs have increased.  But then so has automation that means fewer snowmakers are needed.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
2 months ago (edited 2 months ago)
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,988 posts

SeniorSki wrote:

Is solar even a viable alternative? Panels on stand alone units. Probably not even close to the amount of energy needed to power a “gun” for a day, but it might offset some costs, albeit at a very small percentage. 

 All I know about in the southeast is that Massanutten is putting up solar panels on more than one of the big buildings.  Of course, it's a huge 4-season reason so the snowmaking power needs are probably not that significant a percentage of the total.

Jiminy Peak has been using renewable energy for 100% of their power needs for years for the entire resort.  Jiminy has very good snowmaking coverage.  There are both solar panels and a wind turbine at the top of the mountain.  Another mountain in the Berkshires, Berkshire East, also has a wind turbine.

teleman
2 months ago
Member since 07/8/2005 🔗
161 posts

100 acre resort x 24” x $1000 = 2.4 million.  I don’t work in the industry and I have no idea what the true costs are but snowmaking isn’t cheap and it’s certainly a significant percentage of the overall operating costs.

I was told by a reliable source at Timberline a few years ago that they spent about 1 million dollars a year on snow making. 

SeniorSki
2 months ago
Member since 01/31/2022 🔗
45 posts
Great info presented, didn’t even think about wind turbines. Adding another thought, building water towers at the top of mountains and allow gravity to fill guns might reduce the power grid. I believe I saw towers at Wisp and Seven Springs, not 100% certain, haven’t been there in many years. 
marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
2 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,988 posts

SeniorSki wrote:

Great info presented, didn’t even think about wind turbines. Adding another thought, building water towers at the top of mountains and allow gravity to fill guns might reduce the power grid. I believe I saw towers at Wisp and Seven Springs, not 100% certain, haven’t been there in many years. 

 Wolf Creek in Colorado has a water tank mid-mountain specifically for snowmaking.  Wolf Creek relies mostly on natural snow--and gets plenty of it--but uses snowmaking near the base and on core groomers to make sure beginners and intermediates have a good time during early season.  Having a base of snow from snowguns also helps preserve the snowpack in the spring on those areas.

Wintergreen built a 5 million gallon storage tank a while back.  But it's at the bottom of the slopes.  When it was installed they said the fact that the water would be relatively cold would make for more efficient snowmaking.

RodneyBD - DCSki Supporter 
2 months ago
Member since 12/21/2004 🔗
241 posts
I was stunned when I heard this: the general manager at Bromley said on a recent Storm Skiing Journal podcast interview that the increased efficiency of snowmaking infrastructure has brought down operating costs, and the cost of lift maintenance is now their biggest expense.  And Bromley blows a lot of snow (but note that thanks to a 2017 pumphouse fire they had to replace/modernize a good portion of their system).  
SeniorSki
2 months ago
Member since 01/31/2022 🔗
45 posts
Why would they build a tank at the base then pump up? I’m not even close to being an engineer. 
Moe Gull
2 months ago
Member since 09/5/2022 🔗
25 posts
I think that everybody wants to get at least their first trail open asap and hope that it stays open. Competition is a part of it. Publicity and the guest experience are also important. Keeping season pass holders is important.
marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
2 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,988 posts

SeniorSki wrote:

Why would they build a tank at the base then pump up? I’m not even close to being an engineer. 

 Wintergreen had a water supply issue that led to building the big tank.  It's an upside down resort.  The top of the mountain is the main base and where there are condos.  Putting a giant holding tank there wasn't going to be a good idea.  Does that make sense?

Wintergreen continues to have a water supply issue.  They draw from a lake that also supplies all the potable water for the resort.  If a cold spell has temps cold enough for daytime snowmaking for 3-4 consecutive days, they can take advantage of it

marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
2 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,988 posts

Moe Gull wrote:

I think that everybody wants to get at least their first trail open asap and hope that it stays open. Competition is a part of it. Publicity and the guest experience are also important. Keeping season pass holders is important.

 In NC, it's always fun to see what happens between Cataloochee and Sugar.  There have been times when one would open for an hour in the late afternoon just to get a jump on the other.  Most of the time they open on the same day.  The same happens in Summit County between Arapahoe Basin, Loveland, and Keystone.  Vail Resorts has turned Keystone into the "first to open" Epic resort now that ABasin isn't an Epic Partner any more.

As a large timeshare resort, Massanutten has a business reason to get a few slopes open for Thanksgiving weekend.  Even if they know there will be a gap until 7-day operations will be possible.  Even this weekend when the slopes are closed, Mnut will have the tubing hill open.  I seem to remember the same happening at Snowshoe a few times.

SeniorSki
2 months ago
Member since 01/31/2022 🔗
45 posts
I can see blowing snow can be a huge propaganda advertisement without actually spending advertisement dollars. Also opening up first and early can also contribute to the advancement of the ski area in terms of getting the potential skier interested in a specific resort. 


marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
2 months ago (edited 2 months ago)
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,988 posts

SeniorSki wrote:

I can see blowing snow can be a huge propaganda advertisement without actually spending advertisement dollars. Also opening up first and early can also contribute to the advancement of the ski area in terms of getting the potential skier interested in a specific resort. 


 While that can be true, my observation is that there are typically only 2-3 ski areas/resorts that start snowmaking a few weeks before other places in the same region.  It's not really about the cost of power or the availability of water, it's about labor.  Snowmaking is a really tough job that mostly is done overnight.  It's also a seasonal job with very inconsistent hours.  In the southeast and mid-Atlantic, could be working as much as possible for 72 hours straight or not working for a week during Jan-Feb.  Out west snowmaking is typically from mid-Nov to late Dec, although now snowmaking can continue into mid-Jan even at destination resorts in Colorado or Tahoe if needed.

In VA, Bryce and Massanutten start long before Wintergreen.  In NC, Cataloochee and Sugar fire up the snowguns in Oct pretty often while Beech (20 min drive from Sugar) waits several more weeks.  App also starts early but doesn't get much press even when they do, probably because with 25 acres there are few travelers who head to App and stay overnight unless they have kids who are just getting started on snow.

I've learned a lot from the videos made by snowmaking teams for the annual I AM A SNOWMAKER contest organized by SAM and sponsored by HDK, one of the N. American makers of snowguns.

I AM A SNOWMAKER - 2023 finalist list as of Dec 2022



marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
2 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,988 posts

HKD Snowmakers goes back to Herman K. Dupre of Seven Springs.  It was and is a family business initiated by one of Dupre's sons-in-law, Charles Santry.  The April 2020 article after Dupre's death includes a clips from a video created by HKD when he was 85.  Charles and his wife, Anni (Dupre), remain actively involved with HKD, which was founded in 1973.  HKD merged with the Canadian snowmaking company Turbocrystal in 2011.

Charles Santry: HKD Snowmakers - November 2020, Wachusett podcast series

The Man Who Made Snow - April 2020, VT Ski & Ride

It's starting to make sense why HKD snowmaking technology is such a good fit for the southeast, mid-Atlantic, and northeast.  The other major snowmaking company, SMI, is based in the upper midwest.  The weather patterns and humidity levels during the winter were very different between those regions as the companies evolved their products since the 1990s.

Grumpy dad
2 months ago
Member since 11/7/2021 🔗
77 posts

I would LOVE to know the answer to this question.  Point blank.

What does 7S pay for electric during the winter.

What does it take to run their generators and how much coverage can they get on those. Let's not even include snow quality/depth into the conversation.

It costs me about $4 to run a little at home snow making setup for 12 hours.  Super inefficient, and probably produces only 5% of what their lower output heads do at 7S.  

However even if their entire snowmaking for 125 guns last night ran them $500 only, there is the overhead of the employees running around managing the snowmaking, snowmobile costs, gas in those, insurance in case they get hurt.   It all adds up quick.  

I would venture to say that 7S pays more to heat their buildings than it costs them to put snow on the slopes, by alot.  

As far as the solar question (and please no wind turbines...). My little at home small pool pump uses 1.5kw per hour.  To run that pool pump for 12 hours, I would need to blanket my roof and bank that energy back to the electric company so that when the sun isnt at peak Im getting what I was putting back from peak hours excess output from what the pool pump uses per hour (1.5KW).  Imagine how many panels it would take to run a resort.   If they had a big open area they could do this, it might be worthwhile, however most resorts enjoy snowfall, and likely wouldnt want to pay people to go clear off panels, fix them, etc.  You would need many acres of panels to run an average small resort.

Laurel Hill Crazie - DCSki Supporter 
2 months ago
Member since 08/16/2004 🔗
1,986 posts

Here are some interesting facts about regional snowmaking capabilities from this 11/2020 article:

https://localfreshies.com/largest-snowmaking-north-america/ 

I know there have been improvements and upgrades at Seven Springs since this article was posted. I think the same holds for Snowshoe. Here are a few snips from the story.

Seven Springs:

Under ideal conditions, Seven Springs’ patented system can pump 30,120 gallons of water per minute through its 856 snow towers, and within five hours, cover 54 acres with one foot of snow. They don’t sit back on their snowmaking strengths either. For example, in 2010 they replaced the diesel compressors which used over 100,000 gallons of fuel with energy efficient electric compressors. Bottom line… if the the weather cooperates and the temps drop, they can open A LOT of their terrain quickly & efficiently.

Snowshoe:

 When conditions are right, Snowshoe can produce 2,500 TONS of snow per hour. If that wasn’t enough, in 2018, Snowshoe invested another $4 MILLION dollars into their snowmaking by installing automation hardware / software and picking up another 165 snow guns to their already hulking arsenal. This includes 90 low-energy “stick” guns and 75 fixed position, low-energy, high-production DemacLenko Titan 2.0 snow guns — the most powerful currently on the market.



marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
2 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,988 posts

Thanks for the article!  The number of snowguns for the resorts listed certainly show how dependent the ski industry in the east is on snowmaking.  Wonder what the numbers will be at those resorts in 2025?

Laurel Hill Crazie wrote:

Here are some interesting facts about regional snowmaking capabilities from this 11/2020 article:

https://localfreshies.com/largest-snowmaking-north-america/ 

I know there have been improvements and upgrades at Seven Springs since this article was posted. I think the same holds for Snowshoe. Here are a few snips from the story.

Seven Springs:

Under ideal conditions, Seven Springs’ patented system can pump 30,120 gallons of water per minute through its 856 snow towers, and within five hours, cover 54 acres with one foot of snow. They don’t sit back on their snowmaking strengths either. For example, in 2010 they replaced the diesel compressors which used over 100,000 gallons of fuel with energy efficient electric compressors. Bottom line… if the the weather cooperates and the temps drop, they can open A LOT of their terrain quickly & efficiently.

Snowshoe:

 When conditions are right, Snowshoe can produce 2,500 TONS of snow per hour. If that wasn’t enough, in 2018, Snowshoe invested another $4 MILLION dollars into their snowmaking by installing automation hardware / software and picking up another 165 snow guns to their already hulking arsenal. This includes 90 low-energy “stick” guns and 75 fixed position, low-energy, high-production DemacLenko Titan 2.0 snow guns — the most powerful currently on the market.



 

marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
2 months ago (edited 2 months ago)
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,988 posts

Not just about snowmaking but related to using renewable energy sources at ski resorts . . . Vail Resorts put out a report that claims the corporation has reached 100% for using renewable energy across all resorts.  Not sure exactly what that means.  Haven't read the full report yet.  Noticed that Roundtop was one of the examples.

epic promise (TM) Progress Report - 2022

Grumpy dad
2 months ago
Member since 11/7/2021 🔗
77 posts


 I always thought these statements interesting.

Snowmaking as I understand, is a match making game.  You match up the right amount of pressurized water to the right amount of pressurized air to the right sized nozzles and nucleators. The gun manufacturers make it easy by offering up regulators that will automatically provide the requirements to the nozzles and nucleators.  Efficiency is garnered in how much energy it takes to get the pressurized water/air to those guns.  So things like the pipes being used and the generators providing the pressurization.  

Like the little rig I made at home using pressure washing nozzles and some galvanized pipe.  With some ball valves. You have to tweak the amount of pressurized air/water mixing internally before it exists the top nozzles to create the right sized droplet.  That's where I can see a manufacturer tweaking and constantly tweaking to offer the most bang for the buck so you arent spraying out a certain percentage of just water droplets.  Aside from that, Id bet 90% of the efficiency is getting the water/air TO the guns. 

The other efficiency gains would be with automation as well as a means to turn on/off guns as well as a means to AIM guns.   7S has fixed systems all over the mountain, there are many times they blow snow and it just simply blows straight into the woods beside the slopes.  7S requires a ton of human intervention to turn things on/off.  Snowmobiles driving around turning on valves, digging out valves, unfreezing valves, replacing stuck valves.  

Laurel Hill Crazie wrote:

Here are some interesting facts about regional snowmaking capabilities from this 11/2020 article:

https://localfreshies.com/largest-snowmaking-north-america/ 

I know there have been improvements and upgrades at Seven Springs since this article was posted. I think the same holds for Snowshoe. Here are a few snips from the story.

Seven Springs:

Under ideal conditions, Seven Springs’ patented system can pump 30,120 gallons of water per minute through its 856 snow towers, and within five hours, cover 54 acres with one foot of snow. They don’t sit back on their snowmaking strengths either. For example, in 2010 they replaced the diesel compressors which used over 100,000 gallons of fuel with energy efficient electric compressors. Bottom line… if the the weather cooperates and the temps drop, they can open A LOT of their terrain quickly & efficiently.

Snowshoe:

 When conditions are right, Snowshoe can produce 2,500 TONS of snow per hour. If that wasn’t enough, in 2018, Snowshoe invested another $4 MILLION dollars into their snowmaking by installing automation hardware / software and picking up another 165 snow guns to their already hulking arsenal. This includes 90 low-energy “stick” guns and 75 fixed position, low-energy, high-production DemacLenko Titan 2.0 snow guns — the most powerful currently on the market.



superguy
one month ago
Member since 03/8/2018 🔗
500 posts

Grumpy Dad, have you seen those home snowguns you can build or buy?  They use pressure washers and compressors, but have the nozzles and nucleators built into the guns.

For outright output capacity. 7S is more or less the king at 1.8 million gallons per hour. That's about 2.5x Killington's 750k gph and Sunday River's 600k gph. Thing is, I don't think they can run it anywhere near peak capacity and their power system can't handle it.  One of the HV snowmakers told me they tried once and it blew several transformers. I'm not sure what the the peak capacity is they actually operate at.

7S uses Lake Tahoe at the top as its main storage "tank" for water. They have Solar Bee circulator that's totally solar powered and circulates 10k gallons of water per minute to main the water temp at 39 F, the temp where water is the most dense.  They've won Silver Eagle awards for clean water and clean energy for their efforts to greenify their snowmaking system.  With as expensive as diesel is now, it's probably paying off in spades right now.

With about 300 skiable acres, 7S should be able to cover the whole mountain with a foot of snow in about 30 hours. You'd think with a good week of cold temps that they could get the whole mountain open in about a week with a good 3 foot base at least. Reality is different though. 

For the 100% renewable energy, they're paying a supplier for renewable energy which ends up being carbon credits and such. The power is still coming from the local utility with whatever fuel it uses as there's no way to route "clean" electricity to a particular place on the grid, or a way to separate "clean" power from "dirty" power. That's pretty much true of any supplier though. I live right next to a couple of BGE power plants (coal fired) but I "buy" my electricity from a supplier based in Columbus, OH. I guarantee they're not sending my electricity from Columbus or wherever their plants are.  It's coming from right up the road. Even if I went with a green supplier. It's just market magic.

Some links I sourced:

Seven Springs Mountain Resort Facts for Kids (kiddle.co)

Pennsylvania Ski Resort Reduces Snow-Making Cost With Unique Solar-Powered, In-Reservoir Circulator (prweb.com)

Thefirewarde
one month ago
Member since 09/17/2015 🔗
106 posts
Snowmaking equipment design is a huge factor in efficiency. Nucleators on a lot of stick guns don't actually have regulators, they just use a metering orifice to control the nuc water flow. Most nozzles are only spraying water, and typically at about the highest available pressure. Fan and fan barrel design, nozzle pattern and layout, gun height and mount, and available valving to adjust which bulk nozzles are used all greatly change efficiency.  With the same pumps and compressors, Blue Mtn went from 25,000 CFM to run Burma Road at 25 degrees down to 1300. Snowgun choice really does make that much difference.
Grumpy dad
one month ago
Member since 11/7/2021 🔗
77 posts

Yes I've made a few versions of the snow at home guns using those nozzles that are both wider fan and zero degree.   It's pretty fun, and the higher you can get your rig the better off you will be.  The key is to output enough pressure and loft to allow the crystals to form.  Sometimes the wind helps, sometimes it hurts and you are putting down a nice shiny ice bed on top of the pile you've made.   

It's a blast to operate too.  Have a few beers while working on my cabin, check on the snow maker here and there - while smoking a brisket outside as well.  Fireplace going inside

...that's heaven.  

superguy wrote:

Grumpy Dad, have you seen those home snowguns you can build or buy?  They use pressure washers and compressors, but have the nozzles and nucleators built into the guns.

For outright output capacity. 7S is more or less the king at 1.8 million gallons per hour. That's about 2.5x Killington's 750k gph and Sunday River's 600k gph. Thing is, I don't think they can run it anywhere near peak capacity and their power system can't handle it.  One of the HV snowmakers told me they tried once and it blew several transformers. I'm not sure what the the peak capacity is they actually operate at.

7S uses Lake Tahoe at the top as its main storage "tank" for water. They have Solar Bee circulator that's totally solar powered and circulates 10k gallons of water per minute to main the water temp at 39 F, the temp where water is the most dense.  They've won Silver Eagle awards for clean water and clean energy for their efforts to greenify their snowmaking system.  With as expensive as diesel is now, it's probably paying off in spades right now.

With about 300 skiable acres, 7S should be able to cover the whole mountain with a foot of snow in about 30 hours. You'd think with a good week of cold temps that they could get the whole mountain open in about a week with a good 3 foot base at least. Reality is different though. 

For the 100% renewable energy, they're paying a supplier for renewable energy which ends up being carbon credits and such. The power is still coming from the local utility with whatever fuel it uses as there's no way to route "clean" electricity to a particular place on the grid, or a way to separate "clean" power from "dirty" power. That's pretty much true of any supplier though. I live right next to a couple of BGE power plants (coal fired) but I "buy" my electricity from a supplier based in Columbus, OH. I guarantee they're not sending my electricity from Columbus or wherever their plants are.  It's coming from right up the road. Even if I went with a green supplier. It's just market magic.

Some links I sourced:

Seven Springs Mountain Resort Facts for Kids (kiddle.co)

Pennsylvania Ski Resort Reduces Snow-Making Cost With Unique Solar-Powered, In-Reservoir Circulator (prweb.com)

jrstaley
one month ago
Member since 12/15/2022 🔗
9 posts


 If weather reports are accurate, 7S will have over 150 hrs of snowmaking temps between now and Christmas.  It'll be interesting to see how close they get to their claimed output.  I mean, they have every incentive to get it done and spread out the holiday crowd.  Hopefully they get it done!

superguy wrote:

Grumpy Dad, have you seen those home snowguns you can build or buy?  They use pressure washers and compressors, but have the nozzles and nucleators built into the guns.

For outright output capacity. 7S is more or less the king at 1.8 million gallons per hour. That's about 2.5x Killington's 750k gph and Sunday River's 600k gph. Thing is, I don't think they can run it anywhere near peak capacity and their power system can't handle it.  One of the HV snowmakers told me they tried once and it blew several transformers. I'm not sure what the the peak capacity is they actually operate at.

7S uses Lake Tahoe at the top as its main storage "tank" for water. They have Solar Bee circulator that's totally solar powered and circulates 10k gallons of water per minute to main the water temp at 39 F, the temp where water is the most dense.  They've won Silver Eagle awards for clean water and clean energy for their efforts to greenify their snowmaking system.  With as expensive as diesel is now, it's probably paying off in spades right now.

With about 300 skiable acres, 7S should be able to cover the whole mountain with a foot of snow in about 30 hours. You'd think with a good week of cold temps that they could get the whole mountain open in about a week with a good 3 foot base at least. Reality is different though. 

For the 100% renewable energy, they're paying a supplier for renewable energy which ends up being carbon credits and such. The power is still coming from the local utility with whatever fuel it uses as there's no way to route "clean" electricity to a particular place on the grid, or a way to separate "clean" power from "dirty" power. That's pretty much true of any supplier though. I live right next to a couple of BGE power plants (coal fired) but I "buy" my electricity from a supplier based in Columbus, OH. I guarantee they're not sending my electricity from Columbus or wherever their plants are.  It's coming from right up the road. Even if I went with a green supplier. It's just market magic.

Some links I sourced:

Seven Springs Mountain Resort Facts for Kids (kiddle.co)

Pennsylvania Ski Resort Reduces Snow-Making Cost With Unique Solar-Powered, In-Reservoir Circulator (prweb.com)

superguy
one month ago (edited one month ago)
Member since 03/8/2018 🔗
500 posts

At least with what they're blowing on now, it looks like they'll have at least most of the front side (less Tyrol and Alpine) as well as North Face.  If Laurel and HV are open, that can further spread out crowds too.

I'd like to get a snowgun one of these days. I liked the idea of Herman's Backyard Blizzard, which was self-contained, but you can't find them anymore. I have a pressure washer, so would just need a gun kit and a compressor.

Maybe one of these years.

Grumpy dad
one month ago
Member since 11/7/2021 🔗
77 posts


1671474048_swiikyxcyjvl.jpg

superguy wrote:

At least with what they're blowing on now, it looks like they'll have at least most of the front side (less Tyrol and Alpine) as well as North Face.  If Laurel and HV are open, that can further spread out crowds too.

I'd like to get a snowgun one of these days. I liked the idea of Herman's Backyard Blizzard, which was self-contained, but you can't find them anymore. I have a pressure washer, so would just need a gun kit and a compressor.

Maybe one of these years.

Cycleski
one month ago
Member since 01/10/2021 🔗
23 posts

I just saw this in the Washington Post today and thought I would share:

washingtonpost.com

I did not realize that the resorts out west used snow guns.  I have never skied beyond the mid-atlantic and haven't thought much about ski operations out there making snow.  Glad to see they have people that enjoy doing that at these places.

Cheers!

marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
one month ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,988 posts

Cycleski wrote:

I just saw this in the Washington Post today and thought I would share:

washingtonpost.com

I did not realize that the resorts out west used snow guns.  I have never skied beyond the mid-atlantic and haven't thought much about ski operations out there making snow.  Glad to see they have people that enjoy doing that at these places.

Cheers!

 Snowmaking at destination resorts with 1500+ acres is quite different than in the mid-Atlantic.  The goal is to have a few top-to-bottom blue groomers open by early December, preferably by Thanksgiving if Mother Nature cooperates.  Until relatively recently, snowmaking in the west ended before the Christmas holiday period.  Snowmakers who came from New Zealand or Australia would head home.  New hires who proved themselves as snowmakers moved on to other jobs, such as grooming.

If you look at the percentage of terrain open at Epic/Ikon resorts in mid-December, it's often far below 50%.  A destination resort may open in late November or early December with 1-2 chairlifts and a few green and blue trails.

superguy
27 days ago
Member since 03/8/2018 🔗
500 posts

Agreed. Brighton in Utah was always aggressive with snowmaking early season as they wanted to open early. They probably inherit that aggressiveness from Boyne.

They could get a significant chunk of the mountain open fairly early. Namely Explorer, Majestic, Crest and Snake Creek. Pretty much their night skiing area. They usually have the best early season conditions in the area.

marzNC wrote:

Cycleski wrote:

I just saw this in the Washington Post today and thought I would share:

washingtonpost.com

I did not realize that the resorts out west used snow guns.  I have never skied beyond the mid-atlantic and haven't thought much about ski operations out there making snow.  Glad to see they have people that enjoy doing that at these places.

Cheers!

 Snowmaking at destination resorts with 1500+ acres is quite different than in the mid-Atlantic.  The goal is to have a few top-to-bottom blue groomers open by early December, preferably by Thanksgiving if Mother Nature cooperates.  Until relatively recently, snowmaking in the west ended before the Christmas holiday period.  Snowmakers who came from New Zealand or Australia would head home.  New hires who proved themselves as snowmakers moved on to other jobs, such as grooming.

If you look at the percentage of terrain open at Epic/Ikon resorts in mid-December, it's often far below 50%.  A destination resort may open in late November or early December with 1-2 chairlifts and a few green and blue trails.

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Ski and Tell

Snowcat got your tongue?

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