So far, this Season's Total is 90.5" of fresh, white, tasty, and just beautiful snow. But we want MORE! Our famous Snow Reporter Whitney talked to Barry St Cyr, Director of Mountain Operations, and learned everything about snowmaking at Waterville Valley Resort. If you have more questions just text them in comments below this blog and we will get back to you with the answers.
What time does your snowmaking crew start working?
There are two shifts, one is midnight to noon and the second is noon to midnight. Much of the work occurs at before and after the mountain is open to the public so the alternating shifts split the work up most evenly, rather day and night shifts.
How many people do you have on your snowmaking crew and how many are on the clock at any given time?
16 total and 8 on each shift.
How many snow guns do you have?
About 1,200 in total, which includes fan, ground, and tower guns.
What % of your mountain has snow making?
100% of Mt. Tecumseh has snowmaking capabilities. At the moment, one trail on Green Peak has a water line for snowmaking, however we are able to actually blow snow on 3 trails, which is almost 1/3 of Green Peak Trails. We are hoping to install more lines this summer so that Green Peak will have 100% snowmaking next season!
Where do you get your water for the snow?
Our water comes from the Mad River, which feeds Cocoran Pond in the Valley and the Snowmaking Pond up on the mountain.
Is there anything special or new about your snow making capabilities?
The water line on Green Peak is new (along with all of Green Peak) this year! We also have about 9 new sufag Fan Guns this year. It has been great this year the way the snowmakers have gotten creative to blow snow on Mt. Tecumseh trails in such a way that groomers can manipulate it and transport it for full coverage of our open Green Peak trails and also all the way up to the top of Green Peak!
What is your "mode of operation" when it comes to getting the slopes ready for the first runs of the day?
At the end of the day when the lifts close patrol will clear the whole mountain of guests before the operations crews can begin their work. Snowmakers and groomers will then start working right after the mountain closes for the day, either setting up or adjusting snowmaking equipment or grooming, shaping, or building on trails. Snowmakers and groomers will work through the night and right up until the mountain opens the next morning. Groomers will work in conjunction with snowmakers to get all trails ready for the next day, whether that means removing all equipment and grooming, getting equipment out of the way of skiers and groomers but leaving snowmaking running during the day, or closing trails for snowmaking and shaping or building parks or Fun Runs. Snowmakers will put down snow in designated areas like lift ramps that groomers will shape in the morning before putting down a final layer of smooth corduroy in the morning before guests hit the slopes. Lift mechanics and operators will then clear and open lifts once all snowmaking equipment is clear of trails and grooming cats are clear of the hill and skiers. Finally, ski patrol will ride all the lifts and clear all open trails before opening the mountain to the public.
We are very proud and thankful to our hardworking snowmaking, grooming, and park crews, lift operators and mechanics, ski patrollers, and the rest of our wonderful staff!