Snowmageddon: Snowmaking at Cranmore
The inside scoop on snowmaking, straight from our snowmaking team!
The Snowmaker's Blog
January 20th Update
Jan 20, 2014
Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!
After some challenging weather over the last few weeks I would like to commend our groomers who have done a great job providing an excellent snow surface to ski on. I was asked if we lost terrain going into this last weekend and it was exciting to say that we actually opened more trails because we had stockpiled snow on Arlberg and Lower Hurricane.More
January 9th Update
Jan 9, 2014
January 9 update
The New Year has brought a variety of weather patterns to the area. Last week’s deep freeze allowed us to continue to move forward with snowmaking in Phase VI and VII (our last two phases). Rain hit the area last Monday but we didn’t lose any cover and the groomers have done a great job bringing our ski surface back.
We just opened Lower Arlberg and Gibson Pitch. We are making snow on the Upper Arlberg, Lower Hurricane, Director’s Cut, North Slope, and the tubing park. After this we will shift to Rattlesnake and continue to widen trails with additional snowmaking. At this point we it looks like we will have everything open except for North Conway for MLK Weekend.
Warm weather is in the forecast for this weekend. Luckily we have great cover so we can endure some rain which is in the forecast.
Get out and enjoy the conditions.
President & GM
January 2nd Update
Jan 2, 2014
11 inches of natural snow fell earlier this week which helped the mountain base depth and skiing experience.More
December 27th U[pdate
Dec 27, 2013
Our terrain held up well after the pre Christmas storm. Snowmaking started up on Christmas Eve and we haven't stopped since. 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.