Snowmageddon: Snowmaking at Cranmore
The inside scoop on snowmaking, straight from our snowmaking team!
The Snowmaker's Blog
December 1 Update
Dec 1, 2013
Cranmore made history this weekend by having three top to bottom runs open in November. On Saturday we added Koessler and Jimmy’s Run to connect to the South. Today we added the Alley Trail (formerly the Darkside Terrain Park). We now have 17 trails open and its only December 1! Kudos to our snowmakers who have taken advantage of every cold window we have had. We had to tell them to shut off the fan gun at the base as it was creating a mountain of snow that blocked my view of the high speed quad from my office. More
November 29th Update
Nov 29, 2013
Day three of the 2013-14 season started off busy with a lot of people skipping the Black Friday shopping craze to join us for some great November skiing and riding. More
November 27 Snowmaking Blog
Nov 27, 2013
November 27 Snowmaking Blog
Well Mother Nature hit us with some rain on Wednesday. The good news is that we left all our snowmaking piles intact (un-groomed) so they can dry out on Thursday and be groomed out on Thursday night. By leaving piles of snow un-groomed you protect it from rain damage. We hope to add Schneider, Artist Falls, Koessler and a lot of beginner terrain around the Beginner Basin area by Friday. I was reminded today that this will be the earliest opening of Koessler and I know many die hard Cranmore skiers and riders are psyched about this!
Snowmaking will start up again at noon on Thursday (Happy Thanksgiving). Temperatures stay cold right into next week so we should be able to keep our plan moving. Snowmaking will start on Upper Hurricane, Middle, the Competition Slope, Lower North and the Alley Trail (previously known as the Darkside Trail). We will also be replenishing trails as needed.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving and we hope to see you this weekend at Cranmore!
Sunday, November 24 Snowmaking Update
Nov 24, 2013
Congrats to Team Snowmageddon as we just completed a successful first weekend of operation here at Cranmore. I jumped on the first chair just before 9am on Saturday and enjoyed a top to bottom run on what skied like mid winter snow. I remember many opening days when we had to shovel and do everything possible to gain a path down the mountain. Not this year thanks to aggressive snowmaking and cooperative cold weather.More
Each year, Cranmore invests more and more into their snowmaking arsenal. With 365 high efficiency snow guns, and a focus on refining its snowmaking process to offer more terrain and better snow surfaces earlier in the year, 7 stages are carefully planned to cover 155 acres and 15.3 miles of terrain, or 98% of Cranmore’s skiable terrain. Guns are meticulously placed to better take advantage of wind direction, slope width and pitch, plus base depth. Take a look at each of our stage maps here.
From the first of November to early February, Cranmore’s snowmakers are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to take advantage of every opportunity of snowmaking that they can.
Recipe for Snow
As soon as cold temperatures roll in, as early as November 1st, Cranmore snowmakers are ready to push the button and start blasting the white stuff. But it’s not only cold temperatures which are imperative to making snow…low humidity is also key. The brains behind Cranmore’s snowmaking keep their eyes on what is called the wet bulb temperature. The wet bulb is a combination of air temperature and the humidity. As the temperatures and humidity drop, the amount of snow that Cranmore can make in an hour, increases. Check out a wet bulb chart here. Cold temperatures are the main ingredient in making snow. Without cold weather, our equipment, no matter how advanced, might as well be “puking snow” as it is said in the ski industry. At 32 degrees Fahrenheit, water is able to turn into snow crystals, but ideal temperatures fall at 28 degrees or lower. Ideal snowmaking conditions are with a wet bulb in the low 20’s with temperatures of or 28 or lower.
Miles and miles of snowmaking pipe trace Cranmore’s trails, flowing with water, and in a parallel pipe, air. Water is drawn from the snowmaking retention pond (which holds 1.2 million gallons of water when full) at the base of the learning area. As the snow melts, the water is returned back to the pond to await another season of snowmaking. Cranmore’s snowmaking system is able to pump up to 3,000 gallons of water a minute, and 14,000 cubic feet of air. Water is taken from the pond, travels through the pump house, travels through the pipe, and then is disbursed through the guns.
Manmade VS Natural
What’s the difference between manmade and natural snow you ask? Manmade snow is much more robust than the typical fragile, 6 arm snowflake. Manmade snow is nothing more than an armless ball of snow, which is able to pack down easier and in turn, is able to make a better base. While natural snow is always nice (and who doesn’t love a nice powder day?), manmade snow is much denser which allows it to survive tough weather conditions, and melts at a slower rate than the real stuff.