New England's highest production capacity snowmaking system!

Surely by now you know that mother nature does bless the Southern New Hampshire hills with plenty of fluffy white stuff, so much desired and needed for the activity we like to pursue in winter!

Since the birth of snowmaking in the forties, technology has developed to a point where it has become feasible to produce machine snow even on not-so-cold days just below the freezing point. Some of the basic requirements for the manufacturing of snow are compressed air and water. Additionally, Crotched Mountain/Peak Resorts' system requires electricity for the operation of the blowers and compressors.

The air and water are both, independently piped up the hill in large pipes which are networked onto each of the slopes. At the snowmaking station, or towers, both water and air are pumped into the snowmaking machine under high pressure and the two elements are combined in the nucleator, where it forms the nucleus, a tiny snow crystal. With water near freezing temperature and air expanding at 110 psi to normal atmospheric pressure, we create a refrigeration effect whereby each water deposit will instantly become a tiny snow crystal. Now, depending on the temperature, we add anywhere from 16 to 200 gallons of water per minute per snowmaking tower. This water is sprayed so finely that it clings to the snow crystal and forms a snowflake. At this point, an electric fan within the machine blows the whole mass of snow crystals onto the slopes.

The most efficient snowmaking occurs in the upper teens with low humidity. At these temperatures, an optimum amount of water can be added to the nucleus without causing any freezing problems. As temperatures and humidity rise, the amount of water needs to be decreased in order to create a dry, fluffy quality of snow. Snow can be efficiently made at a temperature and humidity factor not exceeding 100, and at temperatures up to 36 degrees Fahrenheit.

Temperature Examples
Temperature 16 degrees, Humidity 50% = Factor 66 ( Excellent Snowmaking)
Temperature 25 degrees, Humidity 50% = Factor 75 (Good Snowmaking)
Temperature 28 degrees, Humidity 40% = Factor 68 (Possible Snowmaking)
Temperature 23 degrees, Humidity 98% = Factor 121 (Poor or impossible Snowmaking)

Because of the large demand for snow, Peak Resorts is indeed among the ski resorts in the US that can boast the largest per acre production capacities. In terms of energy efficiency, we can lay claim to be among the best.
You may notice above ground, the extensive network of stationary fan type snow machines. What you can't see and what perhaps few of you are aware of, is the large underground network of electrical wire and over 3,000 feet of 12" and 8" pipe connecting over 100 tower snow guns. This system allows us to pump a capacity of 200 gallons per minute per acre or over 6,000 gallons of water per minute on our slopes. It takes about 160,000 gallons of water to make one acres of snow one foot deep. Pumping some 6,000 gallons of water per minute translates to about six inches of snow over the entire ski area in a 12 hour night.

Understand the Snow Report
The NSAA (National Ski Areas Association) endorsed a system eliminating subjective ratings and all ski reports to carry the depth and type of base and surface conditions only. Actual conditions are given and the skier can make his or her own interpretation. Skiing conditions can change with weather and skier use. Ski carefully and in control at all times. Skiers and snowboarders must be responsible and be aware of the risky elements of the sport.

Interpreting a Report
It is not necessary to be an expert in order to interpret a snow report, but you should be aware of the terminology and how to apply it. A ten-inch base can be as good as a twenty-four or forty-eight inch base if the temperature is well below freezing and has been for a day or so. However, if the temperature is on a rising trend, into the upper forty range or higher, and the base is less than eight to ten inches, skiing conditions can deteriorate accordingly. Therefore, the snow report should be analyzed with the temperatures, past, present, and future, in mind as well as the depth of base and surface conditions. At Peak Resorts, with state of the art snowmaking equipment and a hillside that is not so rugged, a six-to-ten inch base is permissible, and skiing can be very enjoyable. As a general rule, however, a deeper base, assures better conditions.

Surface Conditions
Surface conditions should also be considered. An inch or so of new snow coupled with freezing temperatures and good grooming will usually provide very good skiing conditions. A granular surface may range from somewhat slick conditions, before it is skied or groomed, to a loose, sugar cyrstal like surface that is very skiable. After an extended cold spell and build up of the ski base, the skiing can be very good even if the temperature shoots up into the forties and fifties during the day. In late winter these conditions are called "spring skiing" which means that there is plenty of snow. Daytime, above-freezing temperatures cause the surface to become granular, like rock salt and skiing can be from fair to good depending on the depth of the base and the previous night's temperature. Overnight temperatures in the low twenties will refreeze particles producing loose granular "snow". A report that contains the wording "icy sport" should NOT be regarded as a clear indication that skiing is likely to be poor. Some of the best ski days may be accompanied by icy sports where skiers have repeatedly turned and scraped their skis across a particular spot on the slope causing the surface to "ice-up".

All skiers should keep in mind that in spite of the area's very best efforts and sophisticated equipment, there may always be the unexpected, such as a fallen branch, a hidden root, or a chunk of ice on any slope.

Enjoy the Winter Season and we'll SEE YA ON THE SLOPES!

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Crotched Mountain Ski & Ride Area
615 Francestown Rd., Route 47
Bennington, NH 03442
Phone: (603) 588-3668 | Fax: (603) 588-3667

Summer 2006

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