Snowmaking Season Has Started…
The calendar has officially changed to November and today the retail chains are dropping the ghosts, ghouls and candy corn of Halloween in exchange for trees, lights and candy canes of Christmas. Just like our retail friends we’re getting in the spirit of the season and while we might not be putting up our Christmas lights and trees just yet we are going to give the mountain a new white coat! That’s right Jack Frost is back in the air and our snowmakers have the itch to fire up our updated system starting tonight!
Tonight gives us our first taste of “snowmaking temps” and we’ll use the small window to mostly test our equipment across the mountain. (Don’t expect to wake up on Tuesday to a covered ski trail! Whenever you start up a system after nearly 10 months off you’ll have some bugs to work out especially when you have new pieces of equipment, pipe, and electrical wiring all over the place. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights though give us some more efficient wet bulb temps and we’ll be looking to pile up snow on trails like Miracle, Upper & Lower Dusky, Hot Cocoa, Aspen and in and around the base area on those nights mostly this week.
Early season snowmaking goals are pretty simple:
Pile it up. Stay off of it. Push it out only when temperatures are steadily into winter! The more we leave it alone the better the snow insulates itself and the core pile will stick around longer.
I’m excited to get underway. It’s always fun to see snow guns do their magic. What I’m really excited about this year is the team we have making the snow. We are really blessed to have a core group returning as well as a bunch of young men who are eager to get their first taste of flake making.</p>
This summer the on hill operations team have spent a great deal of time upgrading pipe, “electrifying” areas like the West, and we have over 20 new SMI Puma’s and Polecats out on the mountain along with 25+ Grizzly tower guns in the East.
Many more are still going to get up and out there but like the rest of the world we are “waiting” on parts in the wonderful world of the supply chain. Compressors are the items we are waiting on that have of course a “chip” in them. They’ll be coming later this month and that’s fine. We can and still will make snow where we need to and this will not hold us back. We haven’t removed anything from anywhere so we can always make snow the same way we always have.
This past Saturday we had our first of three staff orientations and it was great to see many back. We’re hiring (as is everyone) but we do have some cool benefits like skiing for free, staff parties, and some cool incentives so if you’re looking for work. Hit us up.
That’s it for now. I need to hit the gym! I may have poached a few too many M&Ms last night. Chocolate’s are still my favorite “Dad Candy Tax” after a night of Trick or Treating the streets of Rib Mountain with an army of ninjas, power rangers and more. My Dad always took the Tootsie Rolls which was fine with me. Our family had lots of fun last night with a good crew of friends. Of course many of them are Granite Peakers!
UPDATE AFTER NIGHT ONE: Production can be defined in a number of ways but for us it was a productive night. Did we make a ton of snow? No. Did we find a number of “issues” that we need to address yes. Anytime you fire up something after being dormant for a nearly a year you’re going to find some problem spots. Plus we installed a ton of new equipment! Did we blow anything up? No. Did we make snow? Yes. Was the team excited to get out there yes.
UPDATE AFTER NIGHT TWO: Another night down with a little better temps. We could make snow down to the base area this time around giving us some more things to look over. During the day on Tuesday our daytime crew were able to fix, update and work on small things like wiring adjustments, ensuring the filters of each gun were clean (usually after the initial fire up you can get some gook in the water pipes). Today a tech from SMI will join the team in assisting our daytime manager Buffet in troubleshooting a few technical issues on Sundance. A couple of our valves that have been installed at various new pipe intersections are also having small leaks. Nothing a small weld can’t fix. We also fired up the big Swing Arm Gun at the bottom of Elk which was the biggest one gun install we’ve ever accomplished. It fired up no problem!
This folks is why we fire up now. Yes we know we have a relatively mild or non-snowmaking window ahead starting this weekend. If we can get after these issues now, in the elements while we have these temps we can mitigate them and also train our staff to notice them. If it’s just water going through guns it’s a little harder to see a leak, notice an issue with a nucleator etc. But if it is cold enough to make snow and you’re not then there lies your problem. Luckily we haven’t had any of that!
Plus – my Marketing Hat on – who doesn’t like to see snow making…
Until next time.
P.S What is your favorite candy? Let us know We love to hear from our guests, passholders and others in the comments below.
I wish every ski resort communicated as well as Granite Peak. Thank you for the update!
Thanks for the love Rick. I like to tell it like it is and if we can over communicate it takes the guessing out for you! I’m hoping to keep up the weekly blogs.
I worked in the industry for about 20 years., The first startup is always fun to shake the bugs out. I wish your crew a good year.
“Fun” sure as long as it isn’t a geyser! You should come back to the industry! 😉 Thanks for the note.
Let it Snow!
We did get a little grapple snow today!
Congratulations to the team at Granite and great post Greg. Look forward to reading more. Thinking Snow!
Well you guys have helped a ton! Looking forward to seeing the Grizzlies in action in a few weeks!
Woo!! I can’t wait for the ski season! I’m thankful for a great place like Granite to have some fun at in the winter. We appreciate the wonderful communication and updates, please keep them coming 🙂
Thanks Tim we look forward to welcoming you. We will do our best in communicating! I think I might hand over some blogs to some others this year!
When does the Mountain open