Thursday, November 1, 2012

The start of the season is almost here.

Some of Cranmore's new snow guns.

The calendar has now hit November and we are closer than ever to our projected opening date which is November 23rd (weather dependent). According to the head of snowmaking there looks like there is a window of opportunity to make some snow quite soon.  This year Cranmore has invested $250,000 into 60 new energy efficient snow guns which brings Cranmore’s arsenal to 378. 

 Cranmore’s 378 snow guns can cover 98% of the mountains terrain, which includes 163 acres and 16 miles of trails.  No one is more excited about the addition of these new snow guns than Ben Wilcox, President and General Manager, “Our objective was, and is, to provide our guests with the best conditions possible and among the best in the Northeast. Our objectives are to get more slopes open faster than ever before.”Wilcox also states that “Additionally, we want to be able to quickly recover from inclement weather and improve surface conditions on all open terrain within 1-2 days. We are relocating guns to better take advantage of wind direction, slope width and pitch, plus base depth.  We believe our guests will really see the difference when they ski here this winter.”

Making snow.
As soon as cold temperatures roll in, 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.  

Recent work on a snowmaking pipe.
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.

This will be happening real soon.
Cold temperatures are right around the corner and the snow guns will fire as soon as the temperatures go below freezing. Even though we can cover trails in the blink of an eye with our snowmaking system we never hate a little assistance from Mother Nature. Start praying to Ullr the snow god and start your snow dances. Old Man Winter is on his way to North Conway real soon. Continue to call our snowphone 1-800-SUN-N-SKI, and check Cranmore’s snow report page for the most to date information.

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