Monday, October 08, 2007


It's finally gotten a little cooler around here so it's time to start talking about snowmaking. The guys are gearing up and watching both short and long term forecasts. Temperatures need to be in at least the low 20s for most favorable snowmaking. The lows at night have been around 30 degrees so we're getting there. We're hoping to fire up the guns around the week of November 12.

Approximately 35 acres at Powderhorn are covered by snowmaking. This is focused on our base and beginner areas since they see the most traffic in the winter. Snow made by our snowmaking efforts is very hard and dense making it a good base builder. It even lasts longer in the spring than natural snowfall.

To give you an idea of what we can produce, at 10 degrees using 8 guns, we use 450 gallons of water per minute. Our fan gun alone can add 120-250 GPM (gallons per minute) depending on the temperature. The gallons per minute used increases as the temperature drops. Maximum water use occurs at temperatures below zero. The guns blow the snow into large piles and then our cat crew moves this snow to create even coverage.

Our water comes from a pond on top of the Grand Mesa so our snowmaking system is gravity-fed. No pumps are used. The pond drains in about 6-8 hours at 450 GPM depending on the amount of water coming in and if the water plant is running at the time. We use no additives in our water.

Let's all hope for it to get plenty cold in the next month! A snow dance every now and then can't hurt either.

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