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Good read about snowmaking and snowmakers.

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
post #2 of 13

Informative, interesting.  Could use a good editor.

post #3 of 13

Thanks for posting, good read, though I agree w lakespapa about the need for some editing!

post #4 of 13

Indeed, a good read, but it wouldn't have suffered from the deletion of a few paragraphs.

post #5 of 13

I'm guessing a lot of snowmakers have it a little easier.  A lot of the equipment at my local hill was installed in the past few years and it looks fairly automated (no running around with hoses as far as I can tell.)

post #6 of 13

Snowmaking is hard for the employee and expensive for the area. It is a thankless job for the most part and unless the snowmaker skis or boards he never reaps any benfits except for his pay. Of course it has come a long way with automation and tower mount guns.

Still a cold hard job.

post #7 of 13

Good read.


For those less familiar with snowmaking, here's a video of what goes on when having 100% coverage is what makes a full  season possible.  Holiday Valley is in western NY.


post #8 of 13
Thank you
post #9 of 13

Interesting. Love the automation now being done.


Want to see snow makers panic?   Just two - four letter words starting with a 'D' and a 'T'.

post #10 of 13
Gr8 stuff.

My inner anorak is happy again.
post #11 of 13

Wow, that is an awesome read.  I worked in snowmaking in Crested Butte back in the 80's and so many things in the article brought back memories, some of which are pretty scary.  Driving a sled around in the dark on steep hills, getting stuck all the time, frozen hoses, digging down to a hydrant through icy snow, 14-hour shifts, packing myself 3 PBJ sandwiches to keep my energy up...it's a tough job.  Most of the crew would smoke a bowl before going out to take the edge off the hurt.

post #12 of 13

Living in the southeast, I'm used to daytime and 24-hour snowmaking that starts as soon as there is a longer cold spell predicted in mid to late November and goes until at least Pres. Day weekend and sometimes until early March.  But what goes on at a big mountain out west is a completely different story.  Looking around for other videos about snowmaking, came across a 4-part series done by Heavenly during the 2009-2010 season.


Parts 1 and 2 cover the period before opening day by Thanksgiving.  In Part 4, the crew celebrates the end of snowmaking . . . at the end of January.  All four parts are on vimeo.  



Part 3 (youtube version) includes what happens on the upper mountain when the snow is too deep to reach where the guns are supposed to be placed.



post #13 of 13

Definitely seems like snowmaking at the big mountains out west happens more or less Nov, Dec, Jan.  The objective is to lay down a solid base on key groomers in order to get as much open as possible by Thanksgiving, as well as Christmas.  After the end of Jan, it's up to the groomers to work with whatever is already made and what falls from the clouds.


Alta has been making snow for longer than I thought.  Started in the 1980s.  Have continued to upgrade snowmaking equipment on a regular basis for great efficiency.  The video is from 2011.



Telluride has invested big bucks in recent years on snowmaking upgrades.  Coverage is 230 acres out of over 2000 skiable acres.  This video is from 2014.



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