Resurfacing: What is it, and why it’s so important
Saturday, January 13, 2018
When Mother Nature decides to throw a little tantrum, like she did over the past few days, we start to throw around the term “resurfacing” a whole lot. While those familiar with the ski industry know immediately what this means, I’ve realized that some of you might be wondering what it is, and why it’s so important. So, I decided to take a moment and explain it all to you.
The act of resurfacing a trail happens when we are looking to improve the condition of the snow surface on a trail, so that it goes back to skiing and riding at the level you have all come to expect from us. Very simply, what we do is run snowmaking on a trail and put down a few inches of snow, which when paired with effective grooming can transform a surface from bulletproof ice to carveable goodness.
In the case of this last storm cycle, we cooked up the most aggressive resurfacing program that this mountain has ever seen, so that we can deliver you all a great skiing and riding surface for Sunday and Monday of MLK Weekend. This plan involved our team of snowmakers coming in at 4 a.m. on Saturday morning, so that they would be ready to fire up in an instant once temperatures dropped. Once the mercury hit the sweet spot around 7 a.m., they swarmed out of their staging areas and descended upon the hill, lighting up snowguns on some of our most popular trails. In order to do this, they had to brave 60+ mph winds, temps in the single digits, and a wind-chill well into the negative numbers. While most of this would send us scurrying on home, these are the days this crew lives for, getting out there in the elements and doing what they do best, making some of the best snow in the industry! All told, this 36-hour push will see us utilize 500 individual guns and resurface a total of 250 acres of terrain. Trails on the plan include: Cascade, Canyon, Long John, Little John, Deer Run, Snowdance, N.E. Time, Ridge, Free Fall, The Gulch, Snowdance, Snowdance Pitch, Upper Exhibition, Lower Exhibition, Cooper’s Junction, Beaver Hill, Beartrap, Nitro, Mineshaft, Inferno, as well as our summit area, base area, and tubing. It’s going to be a wild ride, so please bear with us!
So, why do we do all this? This is a question we get all the time, and the short answer is that we take immense pride in the snow product we deliver to our guests. When it’s not up to snuff we’re quick to act. While you’d think this would be a no-brainer at any ski area, you’d be surprised how many simply make their snow in the beginning of the season, and then tough it out for the rest of the year, relying solely on grooming. But not us, we’ve got the most powerful snowmaking system in the Northeast, and we’re proud of our ability to resurface at a moment’s notice. Plus we like the opportunity to show off what this system can really do!
Speaking of our new system, it was designed with resurfacing in mind, specifically in two critical areas. The first being that we have 948 snowguns positioned around our mountain, with just over 900 of those in permanent positions that allow us to spend our snowmaking time actually making snow, rather than hauling guns all over creation. The second feature that makes our system so uniquely suited for resurfacing is our frost-free pipe design. What this means is that all of our new piping is buried in the ground below the frost line. This allows us to keep water sitting in these pipes and ready to fire up the second we get temps, without having to worry about a pipe sitting there and freezing up. While this seems like an obvious solution, it’s a relatively new idea on the East Coast, and for us, it’s really been a game changer.
Well, there you go, more than you ever wanted to know about the term resurfacing. Got another piece of industry lingo that you’d like me to translate? Comment below and I’ll tackle it in one of my future posts.
But for now, I’m off to take a few laps!
Addtional information on resurfacing efforts at Mount Snow this season.