Vermont is #1 for Snowmaking and Grooming
Sarah Neith, email@example.com
Two major themes came out of the previous ski season:
- On March 8, 2012, skiing and snowboarding were formally designated as the official winter sports of Vermont when Governor Peter Shumlin signed this legislation into law amid snow sports enthusiasts from all over the state at the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum.
- Vermont reigns supreme when it comes to snowmaking and grooming. Despite low natural snowfall during the 2011-12 ski season, state-of-the art snowmaking and grooming enabled Vermont ski areas to have significant amounts of open terrain, often unmatched in percentage by any other ski state.
“The 2011-12 season stands as a testament to the resiliency of our ski areas and showcased the unrivaled prowess of our industry’s snowmaking and grooming capabilities,” said Ski Vermont president Parker Riehle. “The caliber of our nearly 75% statewide snowmaking coverage means, for example, that we have over 1,000 acres more terrain with snowmaking alone than all of New Hampshire’s total ski area terrain.”
With over 75% snowmaking coverage, you’d think Vermont resorts would step back and admire the time, energy and dollars that they’ve invested into creating such an amazing experience – but Vermonters just aren’t built that way. The 2012-13 ski season will roll in even more snowmaking coverage due to millions of dollars of investments into state-of-the-art and energy efficient snowmaking and grooming machinery – pushing that coverage to nearly 80% - assuring snow all winter, regardless of what Mother Natures brings.
Jay Peak president Bill Stenger, who along with business partner Ari Quiros purchased Burke Mountain in May, said the focus of the Burke improvements will be concentrated on the resort’s snowmaking system. “Right now the plan is to increase the output of the snowmaking system by 50%,” remarked Stenger. “We want to have 75 to 100 new snow guns and two new air compressors online for this coming winter season.”
While the snowmaking team at Burke is enjoying new equipment, including their very own compressor and high efficiency snow guns, guests will be enjoying smooth corduroy runs to the Mid and Base Lodges. Known for their exceptional trail grooming, groomed runs will only get better from here on out. With more snow cover on the trails, future Olympians, world class skiers, families and guests alike will reap the benefits of more trail re-surfacing in all snow conditions.
Mount Snow boasts one of the most powerful snowmaking systems in the industry with more than 250 high output/high efficiency fan guns, the most of any resort in North America, plus almost 1,000 modern air/water guns which combine to cover eighty-percent of the developed trails across four mountain faces. After installing the fan guns, Mount Snow will use an average of 200,000 less gallons of diesel fuel a year while producing more snow.
While running at maximum capacity, Mount Snow’s snowmaking system can…
…fill an Olympic-size swimming pool with snow in just 47 minutes.
…fill Fenway Park up to the 18-foot centerfield wall with snow in just 20 hours.
…fill Short Hills Mall in New Jersey with a foot of snow, including all the stores, in just 12 hours.
A traditional air/water gun turns an average of 42 gallons of water per minute into snow. In comparison, one of Mount Snow’s fan guns can turn 126 gallons of water per minute into snow.
Okemo Mountain Resort
Okemo Mountain Resort has spent 30 years building its reputation for superlative snow and surface conditions through its battery of snowmaking guns and snow management practices. Okemo can cover 95 percent of its terrain with snowmaking, and this year the emphasis is, once again, on making snow more efficiently with technology that allows the Resort to open more lower-elevation terrain earlier in the season. Okemo covers more than 600 acres with snowmaking. HKD tower guns make up the majority of the 1100 guns in Okemo’s arsenal – just one of the reasons SKI Magazine lists Okemo in its top-10 ranking for snow quality each year.
Smugglers’ Notch Resort
Smugglers’ Notch Resort’s fleet of more than 450 snowmaking guns provide coverage to the bulk of the Resort’s beginner and intermediate terrain, with Mother Nature taking care of the glades and high elevation expert trails where natural features make snowmaking less efficient. With an investment of over $1,000,000, Smugglers’ added 150 new high efficiency guns for this winter, with high efficiency guns now numbering more than 300 within the fleet. In addition to the high efficiency guns, Smugglers’ has taken other measures to increase energy efficiency and conservation in snowmaking operations. These include use of higher efficiency air compressors and more efficiently matching water demand requirements with the use of variable frequency pump drives.
The power and efficiency of Stratton's snowmaking system means they can kick it into gear early in the season, even when Mother Nature stalls out. This year, they expand coverage to intermediate favorites Duck Soup and Spillway and continue to improve efficiency and flexibility with portable HKD snowguns. Every year they use less air and less energy to make the same amount of snow – a significant impact when snowmaking covers 95% of terrain. An innovative water supply system stores two-thirds of annual usage in reservoirs and 100% of runoff available for recapture and reuse. Stratton’s gold-medal groomers, in turn, treat the snow with expert care and craft seamless corduroy with every pass.
Facebook fans agree, “You did a phenomenal job this season with snowmaking and grooming. We caught our perfect day last Sunday!”
Learn more at www.stratton.com.
Bromley is adding to their already impressive arsenal of snowmaking with 60 new permanent energy efficient HKD tower guns this season, spread out over five different trails and the top of the mountain, keeping their 85% snowmaking coverage top notch!
Stowe Mountain Resort
The ongoing on-mountain improvements that have taken place over the past eight years in Stowe are too numerous to mention here, but at the core of it all and the genesis of a half-billion dollar master plan is snowmaking. Beginning with the creation of a 116 million gallon water storage area named Peregrine Lake and New England’s first and only fully-automated snowmaking system on Spruce Peak, snowmaking at Stowe Mountain Resort has reached new heights.
This year Stowe Mountain Resort continues to invest in its state-of-the-art snowmaking operations with an additional 4.7 million dollars in new equipment and upgrades that include 325 HKD tower guns, 150 energy efficient land guns, 16 Super Pole Cat fan guns and seven miles of new snowmaking pipe. From a skier’s standpoint, the new snowmaking increases potential for more early season terrain, increases overall snow quality and allows mountain operations to resurface the mountain quicker.
Killington Resort and Pico Mountain
Killington’s unique elevation translates to an average of 250 inches of natural snowfall each winter and provides an optimal environment for machine-made snow that covers nearly 57 out of 71 miles of skiable terrain. Add to that 1500+ snow guns, including low-energy guns, and an armada of groomers making this a recipe for perfect conditions.
Pico Mountain receives an average of 250 inches of natural snow each winter. Paired with an elevation advantage and 75% snowmaking coverage of skiable terrain and talented groomers, Pico offers great conditions for all abilities.
Sugarbush maintains snowmaking on 70% of its skiable acreage. Last season, with an investment of $1.5 million, Sugarbush upgraded its snowmaking capacities and is deploying groundbreaking new snowmaking technology. Sugarbush purchased forty ultra-low energy snowguns. This technology requires vastly less compressed air and less electricity per gallon of water and will reduce the energy needed to make snow without compromising either the quality or quantity of the snow.
Bolton’s snowmaking system benefits from green initiatives with the use of energy efficient HKD snowguns and SMI fan guns to reduce diesel and electric power consumption. With upgrades now complete, the area’s snowguns are retrofitted to be as energy efficient as possible.
Magic’s new grooming team proved its metal during last year’s snow-starved season generating rave reviews for some of the best skiing in southern Vermont—even on its most difficult to groom expert terrain. In combination with the start of Magic’s 3-year plan to expand the capacity of its snowmaking system covering 70% of its trails, Magic’s grooming team is back this year to lay the foundation for an interesting mix of man-made grooming and natural snow trails in the East.
Mad River Glen
When Mad River Glen is brought up in conversation among skiers you’ll often hear people say something to the effect that, “That’s the place that doesn’t groom the trails and has no snowmaking right?” It seems like it’s one of those cases where if folks hear something enough they eventually believe it to be true. The fact of the matter is that Mad River Glen does make snow and grooms a pretty large percentage of its legendary terrain. That being said, the famously contrarian mountain engages in both activities to the beat of its own drummer.
Alpine resorts aren’t the only ones investing in perfect tracks. A number of Nordic areas have snowmaking and grooming operations to bolster their business.
Trapp Family Lodge
Trapp Family Lodge continues to refine and expand its snowmaking and snow farming operations and strategies. New portable fan guns promise extended skiing on our stadium and teaching areas.
Mountain Top Inn & Resort
Snowmaking and grooming at the Nordic Center at The Mountain Top Inn & Resort has been the key to their success over the years. The goal is twofold: to offer cross-country ski trails that provide “first-timers” an enjoyable experience in the hope of having them return; and to offer conditions for the expert, competitive skiers who want a difficult workout to train or just for the fun of it. The impressive equipment includes a SMI Pole Cat Fan Gun for coverage on 2km with an average base of one foot compacted snow and a Piston Bully 100 Nordic Groomer with Power Tiller and Dual Track Setter.
The resort was selected to host the first Annual Paintball Biathlon in 2006 since we were the only Nordic Center open (due to snowmaking). The event has grown from 90 skiers to 300+ in 2012.
Rikert Nordic Center
Inspired by Bread Loaf Mountain, Rikert is groomed fresh daily! Rikert Nordic Center is installing 5 KM of snowmaking on the newly built Toromondson Family Trail this fall. This will be the largest installation of snowmaking of its kind on the East Coast. Coupled with their state of the art grooming equipment, anyone will be able to enjoy the benefits of Nordic skiing during the winter months.
Photo courtesy of Mount Snow Resort
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