Being Green is going to make the coming ski season much more enjoyable for the twin states during the 2014-15 ski season.
A revolution in snow making
Increasingly over the course of the past few years new snow making techniques have come to the rescue of ski resorts as energy prices have soared and the lack of natural snow has threatened to leave slopes denuded. The old technology, while providing snow coverage when it was needed, was not efficient, required high capacity air compressors to operate and gobbled electricity.
Contemporary snow making systems, however, have honed the art and are far more efficient at pushing water to where it is needed and turning it into high quality snow on the ground. Those old snow guns that you used to see low to the ground along ski trails are being supplanted by tower guns that use far less energy to make snow and get it to where it is needed.
Big new guns at Bromley, Vermont
Bromley Mountain Ski Resort in Peru, Vermont, has long been one of my favorite ski areas and it was one of the very first in the twin state area. A great family ski area, it is particularly rich in challenging blue trails. Bromley was one of the first ski areas to groom trails by removing rocks and other obstructions and by rolling trails to smooth them out and, in 1965-66, one of the first with snowmaking. Today they use modern techniques to enhance their trail experience and for the coming season they are retiring 63 of their old snow guns and adding new tower guns for a total of 78 new tower guns for a total of more than 400 guns. In fact, 15 Vermont ski areas plan to scrap 1,800 of the old inefficient snow guns and replace and augment them with 2,300 new, more efficient, tower guns during this season. The end result is better snow at a lower cost and with less environmental impact. Bromley, along with Cranmore Mountain in New Hampshire and Jiminy Peak in Massachusetts, adopted the new Terrain Based learning program for new skiers in 2013-4, a program that is credited with retaining new skiers as lovers of the sport.
Wildcat Mountain’s massive snow making makeover in Pinkham Notch New Hampshire
Like Bromley, Wildcat Mountain, in Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire, was an early comer in the ski industry. In 1933 members of the Civilian Conservation Corps cut the very first race trail in the Unites States, the Wildcat Trail. For the coming season Wildcat has installed a record setting new snow making system that includes more than 10 miles of snowmaking water and air lines and 227 high output and high efficiency snow guns. Part of the project was a new $350,000 booster pump house in mid-mountain with all new, more efficient equipment with a projected savings of more than 50,000 gallons of fuel that will not need to be burned. Oh yes, and for skiers the result will be better snow conditions, especially on the upper trails and that is where the best views of Mount Washington and the other Presidential is to be found..
Attitash, in Bartlett, New Hampshire, has its own jump forward
Attitash Mountain Resort in Bartlett, New Hampshire, started with a plan to add a whopping 285 new, high efficiency and low energy, snow making guns to is mountainsides and ended up adding an additional 179, for a total of 464 new guns on the slopes this winter. A majority of the new equipment went into the Bear Peak section of the resort but improvements were made in other parts of the mountain as well. The new equipment not only adds to the capacity for snow making, but, because of the new technology, it enhances the ability to make more snow in marginal weather conditions, something not possible with the older equipment. My exposure to the Bear Peak section came two years ago and I fell in love with it. Now there is even more reason to ski it.