Champing at the bit

Champing at the bit

It’s crunch time. With marginal temps and a short window of blow time, the crew is rotating in round-the-clock shifts to prep for opening day.

You heard right— we announced opening day is THIS Friday, November 23. We’re skipping out on Black Friday shopping to opt outside and celebrate in true #BlueFriday style. Yesterday, we fired up the guns when the clock struck midnight as wet bulb temperatures held steady at 28 degrees F. Collectively, about 70 guns along Summit School Hill, Easy Out, Vista, and Come Around turned green trails white with pockets of deep accumulation. Listen closely and you’ll hear cats purring in the early hours Friday morn, dressing trails in their best-dressed corduroy for the first tracks of the season.  

Opening Day

Of course, start-up hiccups are always expected. We found several leaks in the water and air system after our snowmaking trial run last week. Hours of labor were spent digging trails as we etched closer and closer to the source of each leak. Then, we reversed the process after our fabricators made the repairs.

Last night, we blew a hole in an old water hose that missed the gamut of pressure checks. We replaced it with a brand new HKD Snowblaster HD 2000, a premier snowmaking hose with reinforced ends and embedded reflectors that’s lightweight, but incredibly durable with a tough double jacket and a service pressure 50% above our maximum pressure.

HKD is one of our snow gun manufacturers. Keep an eye out for the orange-head pole guns in tubing and the new demos at the tail of Burma Road. When talking snow guns, we all have our favorite. HKD is Daniel’s (night crew snowmaker) personal favorite… but we know Nick (better known as Seabee, day crew snowmaker and electrician) wouldn’t hesitate to argue a defense for Techno Alpin.

HKD Snowblaster HD 2000

Early this week, Mother Nature decided to keep temps a little warmer than forecasted. Temperatures teasing in the mid-30s had us champing at the bit, hungry for the first night of start-up for the season. We anticipated starting up on Monday, but as temps stayed marginal (around 28-32 degrees F), our window of snowmaking opportunity slimmed.

Night crew snowmaker, Daniel, repairs a pipe fitting

We feel confident opening slopes with 72-96 hours of snowmaking. Do the quick math, with the first start-up on Wednesday morn, we’re left with a mere 48 hours of time. Lingering in marginal temperatures with a mid-30s daytime rise, we’re forced to shut down to avoid making super wet snow and stressing the system. Subtract shut down hours from 48, and we’re lucky to be blowing 36 hours before opening. Top that with high winds on Thursday, and we may be hunting for snow in the woods instead of deer.

While we can’t resist a good challenge, we’re not stoked to work on Thanksgiving Day. But, when Mother Nature calls, we answer. We know our seasons on the east coast are shorter than we’d like, so we do our best to make them— and keep them— longer.

Keep in mind, it’s an early start. The snow depth and quality increases as the season progresses. The weather continuously shifts and we’re reactively moving with it. 

Dylan, aka Dizzle, clears snow from sidewalks after last week’s storm

All said and done, we’re here because we love what we do, and we’re excited to give you the best conditions we can muster. We’re grateful for the opportunity, our team who bares the cold, our families who forgive us for missing holidays, and you— for enjoying the snow.

Beginning hours of the first ‘real’ start-up of the season.

We wish you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving and a safe ride opening day.

Tell us, what are you grateful for?

See you this Friday on the slopes,

the Snowmisers