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The Sit-Down with the Snowmakers 12/13/17

Arialle Hess
Assistant Snowmaking Manager, Kevin Jennings, joins us for today’s edition of “The Sit-Down with the Snowmakers”.
Q: So, the question that gets everybody excited for winter: when are you guys going to start blowing snow?
A:  We fired up the guns on Friday night and ran all 129 guns to put down a nice layer before the snowfall on Saturday. After the snowfall we pumped another 1.3 million gallons of water onto the hill overnight. The natural snowfall and our work on Saturday night will help us tremendously leading into our big push to get open. 
Q: Can you blow snow all this week to open for the weekend?
A: Unfortunately, temperatures play a big role in whether or not we are able to make snow, hence affecting our operational hours. Monday night is too warm for the water to turn into snow, however, there is a system moving in that will hopefully put down a little more natural snow tomorrow morning and will allow a nice stretch of cold temps perfect for snowmaking. Keep your fingers crossed and keep an eye on the website and social media for opening announcements!
Q: Do you have an update as to when you will start up the guns again?
A: The weather forecast is constantly changing so we check it hourly. The short-term forecast is allowing us to start up Tuesday evening when the temps plummet from a high of 42° during the day to around 26° by 8-10pm.  It looks like we will have Wednesday, Thursday, and a good portion of Friday to run around the clock. Any long-term planning is tentative but will become confirmed when the days become closer and the forecast becomes certain.
Q: Do you just pull water from a river to turn into snow so that Bear Creek can operate?
A: No, we don’t pull any water from a river. We have our own ponds that fill up with run-off as well as rain water. Right now, our ponds are filled to the top, so we will make snow at every absolute opportunity we get in order to open for our winter season.
Q: Once it hits 32° outside, can you make as much snow as you want?
A: The temperature and humidity play a crucial roll in snowmaking, so to answer your question in short, the 32° mark isn’t enough for us to get to work. Our temperature monitor is based off a “wet bulb” reading which is a combination of temperature and humidity. For example, last night the wet bulb was at 26° and dropped even lower to 16° by 9m. By midnight, the coldest weather station read 11.6°! With these amazing temperatures, we were able to pump 3.1 million gallons in 12 hours. Even though the team battled through 25-30mph winds, there were still piles everywhere! We have plenty of water, and will continue to make snow with every single gun available on nearly every trail out there.  As always, keep your fingers crossed and stay tuned for an opening announcement!
If you have any questions that you would like to ask our Snowmakers, please submit an email.