Building a backyard ski area
10 posts
9 users
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December 1, 2005
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
I've mentioned this in the past as an interest that me and a few friends have had. Unfortunately in the last year and half, life situations have crept up forcing us to push plans back for building snowmaking equipment as well as our own terrain park.

Earlier today me and my friend went over to his grandfathers remote farm just outside Wardensville to take a look around at the property he mentioned for making snow on. This property is his grandfathers, borders his property, and the national forrest. When we drove the farm road to this secluded area my breath was taken away. We are seriously considering actually putting in a back yard ski area using his/his grandfathers property, his engineering skills, our passion for snow, and the desire to have fun. Him and his wife could actually see themselves running a Whitegrass like operation down the road.

Anyway here is the specs of the area:
* 1400' Base / 2220' Summit - 820' vertical
* North / NorthEast facing 'Bowl" with towering ridge surrounding the base.
* Full stream 100 yards away from the Base area.
* Ridge is populated with large towering maple trees, semi-dense confier trees.
* 40-50" / yr of natural snowfall.


Topography Map

As you can see above this is NOT bad terrain to work with in the least. However we are not planning to build a massive corporation, or have some massive paying operating right off the bat. In fact, if we accomplish anything this winter, it simply would be the ability to make snow, make a few jumps, rails, and have our own hidden snowy paradise.

In the future the idea would be to build a mom-n-pop operation where a few dozen people could show up to pay for access to the slopes and enjoy themselves. The ideas we tossed around were to have several small cabins or "chalets" (gotta market where you can) that would have fireplaces for overnight stays for couples or such. Possibly a small lunch area that his wife and another person could fix lunches.

Ok ok thats way off down the road. What we would like to do is create trails, create a terrain park and simply enjoy it. Obviously we either need several items, or need to learn how to make several items to really take this idea all the way:

* Snowmaking equipment (we plan to tinker with this this weekend)
* Water source (big stream to supply this)
* Chair / Rope / Tow Lift of sorts.
* Grooming equipment. (Modified snowmobile with rake/grooming?)

Anyway, what are your alls thoughts on the topo map above, and on the whole idea in general?
pagamony - DCSki Supporter 
December 1, 2005
Member since 02/23/2005 🔗
925 posts
sounds very nice. the last powder mag has a nice article on a backyard ski area in vermont - widow moses. that area just west of the state line is a nice snow zone (based on personal experience being stuck on the road).

but i'm afraid you are about to be inundated by moonshiners - might want to duck and cover.

when i try your link i just get a webshots login page. wardensville in general is here:
Denis - DCSki Supporter 
December 1, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,337 posts
This place started that way.
December 1, 2005
Member since 12/8/2001 🔗
792 posts
contact Snowmakers, he's our resident expert in backyard snow making, he's even got his own guns.
December 1, 2005
Member since 03/4/2003 🔗
294 posts
I also have dreams of doing this, albeit on a smaller scale that what you're talking about.My property near 7 Springs has one section with about 100' feet of vertical. Currently it is pretty heavily wooded with primarily maple trees - I'd need to thin out the smaller trees and end up with glades, essentially.Due to time constraints, my plans are on hold for now - I think it'd take me a month of Sundays just to clear out the smaller trees.

Anyway, I've done a fair amount of research on the Web on the subject - these webites might be of help to you: - information for building snowmaking equipment, and some info regarding ropetows, groomers, etc - lifts, snowmaking equipment, grooming vehicles, etc - most of the stuff seems a little pricey since their audience is the resort industry. - this is basically a forum site haunted by lift techs; I think if you search the forum topics for 'ropetow' you'll find some useful info - soem guy had posted a question and the lift techs gave him some useful answers. - this is a site run by a couple of guys in New York state who did exactly what you want to do - it's worth a peek.

Based on the research that I've done I think that snowmaking will present a bigger challenge than building a simple lift. I think you could build a simple ropetow for a fairly reasonable amount. Have you considered snow farming rather than snowmaking?

Good luck, and keep us posted.
December 1, 2005
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,066 posts
This topic has always intrigued me. Keep us informed of what you encounter.
December 1, 2005
Member since 01/17/2005 🔗
422 posts

Check out Resort bone yard
December 1, 2005
Member since 01/30/2005 🔗
660 posts

..running a Whitegrass like operation down the road.

any willingness to let folks x-c ski it now when it gets enough snow??
be nice to have a closer option than WG sometimes.
December 1, 2005
Member since 11/23/2004 🔗
222 posts
JB714 nailed it. Check out ALL of those sites. I frequent all of them, and im on 7 hours a day (2nd place poster). will be youir #1 resource. ANYONE interested in snowmaking should go there.
December 2, 2005
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
Absolutely without a doubt. How you get to the top... well we may have to let some x-c skiers figure that out and we'll make a trail map for it.



..running a Whitegrass like operation down the road.

any willingness to let folks x-c ski it now when it gets enough snow??
be nice to have a closer option than WG sometimes.

Ski and Tell

Speak truth to powder.

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