With extremely cold weather for the past four days, Wisp's Snowmaking Team has done some hard core snowmaking! The photos below that were taken today show the massive piles of snow this hard-working crew has created over the past few days. (And Bear, the dog, who was properly dressed for the weather and loving it!) These snow piles are often referred to as whale-backs and some of them resemble volcanos while others like sculptures. Soon, these piles will become beautifully groomed trails to ski on! And that's the big question - when will more terrain open?
We plan to open the East Ridge on Tuesday, January 10 with Down Under, Main Street,
Highline, and Lower Eye Opener along with Chairs 4 and 5. Snowmaking continues on Upper Eye Opener and Odin’s Chute which may come online later this week. Possum trail was loaded with snowguns last night with a goal to open for Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend.
The Snowmaking Team is a group of hard working dedicated individuals that perform their job in some of the most extreme conditions. They work through the tough elements of nature for 12 hour shifts to turn our mountain into a winter wonderland. A shift will usually start with a quick review of the weather forecast, the snowmaking plan, and work assignments while all of the crew is putting on layers of clothes before heading out to the slopes. The crew is usually sent out in teams of 2, this is due to the many potential hazards of the job. The snowmakers will be encountering icy slopes, cold temperatures, high voltage equipment, and high pressure water.
Once out on the mountain, the crews trek down the trails on foot or sometimes snowmobile. The Controller in the Pumphouse will wait for requests from the team on the ground to turn on the guns. Only after hoses are attached to the guns, power turned on to the equipment, and water put to the guns; does the magical plume of snow shoot from the snowmaking gun. Snowmakers walk out to where the plume is falling and check the crystal formation then adjusts the water flow in the gun to control the quality and quantity of the snow being produced. This is a process that will continue throughout the entire shift as the temperature and humidity constantly change, which affect the type of snow being produced.
Snowmaking is one of the hardest physical jobs on the mountain. Wet, cold and frozen are all daily occurrences in the life of a snowmaker. A veteran snowmaker was once heard interviewing a new recruit, “So you want to make snow? Have you ever ran thru a car wash at 10 degrees in your underwear? Well, that is what snowmaking can be!” Snowmakers have a strong passion for making snow. They take great pride in watching the trail grow from blades of grass to massive piles of snow and watching people ski and ride on what they produce. Next time your see a bundled up frozen Snowmaker checking their plume of snow, stop and thank them.
Last Edited by The Wisperer on Sunday, January 08, 2017