For those who have an interest in Peak Resorts mountains in New Hampshire, they had a town hall meeting at Wildcat this morning. There were some interesting revelations...
* they'll be buying 100 new snow guns this year to be placed in "strategic locations"
* they have no plans to replace the slow summit triple any time soon. This is strictly a financial decision. Peak Resorts did not see any significant uptick in visits after installing the Bluebird Express 6-pack at Mt Snow and so is very hesitant to build a new lift at Attitash.
* the last few years their snowmaking plan was to wait for cold weather to blow snow. They regret this decision this year due to the spike in electricity prices when the cold hit costing them $$$. They're lobbying Peak Resorts to let them start blowing early to stockpile snow and then push it out for a December opening.
* last summer they rebuilt their water pumps and bought 6 new diesel compressors. Electric compressors and fan guns are out of the question because there is not enough electricity in Pinkham Notch.
* in November they got "overly aggressive" blowing snow in cold weather and a pipe flash froze. When that happened the buildup of pressure blew out the casing on one of the newly rebuilt pumps. They were unable to find replacement parts in time for this season and operated at less than half capacity on the upper mountain -- and only when temperatures were in an unrealistic Goldilocks zone. It took until Presidents Day weekend to get a second route off the summit.
* Snowmaking upgrades are planned for this year, mostly pipe replacement and gun purchases plus fixing the broken pump. They called this "the biggest investment since the installation of the summit quad". The purchases are currently being held up by lender approval.
* They'll be buying HKD and Snow Logic guns.
* The temperature of the water at Wildcat is a real problem. It comes out at 28 degrees which is as cold as you can physically get. They invited 4 companies to bring in $400k worth of test equipment on a trial basis in advance of a big purchase this year. Two of the four companies that were in their trial this year withdrew because they could not handle the supercooled water. HKD engineers had to redesign their Impulse guns to handle Wildcat's cold water.
* Most of the pipe on the mountain is 30-35 years old and has a life expectancy of 20 years. They've been blowing pipes all over the place this season.
* The plan for next year is to try to be (one of?) the first mountain in New England open top-to-bottom. They specifically said that they want to leverage their express quad and beat Killington top-to-bottom. They'll start with Lynx and then move to Polecat. They talked big talk but we'll see if they can follow through. They claim to want to open as early as possible and close as late as possible.