Summer Snowmaking Pt. 1
What's up with Broadway?
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you that summer is no time to slack off for ski areas. Summer gives resorts the chance to make improvements, repairs, and adjustments before the temps start dropping and the days get shorter. One of the areas within our resort that’s getting a whole lotta love this summer is our snowmaking department. Despite Utah getting record-shattering snow totals in the 2022-23 season, natural snow isn't quite as plentiful for us Eastern resorts. Thankfully, we have one of the best snowmaking systems in the country, and it’s only getting better.
I sat down with snowmaking manager Thomas Budd and asked him to walk me through the nitty-gritty of the three main summer snowmaking projects happening right now, starting with the Broadway project.
If you’ve been up to hike, ride the Chondola, or just kick it at Sunny’s for some tacos this summer, you’ve probably noticed the ongoing construction on Broadway. Curious what’s happening there? Well here’s the scoop: the snowmaking department is updating the existing infrastructure and adding fully automated SMI fan guns along Broadway. This might not seem like a lot, but this is big news for the South Ridge basin, so let’s break it down.
The first piece of this puzzle is the guns that are being installed. We’re adding 10 new SMI Auto Super Pole Cat tower guns, which might sound familiar to you. That’s because we installed over 20 last season on Amex, Risky Business, North Peak, and the Jordan basin. These particular snow guns produce their own air, so when the snowmaking team is preparing to fire up, these guns only need water and electricity in order to produce snow.
But wait, there’s more!
The second piece is the new pipe being installed is frost free, which means water can effectively be stored in the pipe without freezing, making the line already charged. Charging a line is the process in which a water or air line is filled up either with water or compressed air to its operating pressure, and that can take several hours depending on its proximity to our snowmaking pumphouse, so we’re basically adding hours of actual snowmaking onto the hill.
Besides making more snow, the goal of this project is to be able to resurface the South Ridge area more frequently. South Ridge is one of the busiest areas on the mountain, so this added snowmaking capacity is huge. We all know the weather can be quite fickle in New England, and it doesn’t always stay cold. Cold weather windows can be short, and having a system that requires far less prep time is a massive asset for the upcoming season.
Growing up next door in New Hampshire, Maddy spent many vacations roaming around Sunday River's 8 peaks. After college and a brief 5-year stint in Park City, UT, she's back and ready to take some hot laps on Caramba.