Steamboat fired up its snowmaking system early today to begin building the resort’s snow base in anticipation of Opening Day, Nov. 25, 2015.
“Turning on the snowmaking system is a sign that winter is almost here,” said Doug Allen, vice president of mountain operations for Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. “The continued cooler temperatures combine with our upgraded snowmaking equipment to begin establishing our base for the season.”
Low temperatures and moisture in the air created the perfect weather combination for Steamboat’s industry-recognized snowmaking crews to turn on the resort’s 76 guns — including 48 HKD tower guns, three TA MMS carriage fan guns and 25 Ratnik land guns — at about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday. Crews took advantage of the favorable conditions on Buddy’s Run, Heavenly Daze and in the base area to run equipment until 9 a.m. Future snowmaking efforts will continue as conditions permit in preparation for the resort’s opening four weeks from today.
“The early season snow product has been significantly improved due to ongoing snowmaking improvements, technological advancement and additional hardware,” Allen said. “With the technology Steamboat has implemented over the years, and the newest addition of more tower and fan guns, crews can take advantage of shorter cold weather windows, cover more trail and treat guests to a drastically better early season skiing and riding product.”
Even with an average of 352 inches of Champagne Powder® snow each year, Steamboat’s snowmaking system continues its upgrades program with new pipe on Voo Doo, See Me, Sitz, Arc and All Out trails. The new lines will significantly accelerate the resort’s ability to produce early season snow and efficiently cover trails. Complementing the new pipe, 32 HKD 20-foot tower guns and two SMI automatic fan guns have been added to the snowmaking arsenal. The HKD tower guns use 30 percent less energy than conventional guns while producing the same amount of snow. Unmatched in volume, SMI’s big throw automatic fan gun consists of 30 individual water nozzles customizable to changing climates, excels in all temperature conditions and will be an all-around workhorse for the system.
Over the past seven seasons, the resort has installed nearly 20 miles (32 km) of water and air pipe for snowmaking. These improvements are all designed to use less energy and water while being more efficient when producing the early season snow base.
The resort is scheduled to open Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, for Scholarship Day, the traditional opening day benefit, with proceeds from specially priced tickets donated to the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club’s Scholarship Fund. The fund provides financial support for deserving children participating in club programs.