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  1. #286
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    Quote Originally Posted by win View Post
    Here is the answer to capacity. The maximum water capacity that we have is just under 4,000 Gallons Per Minute (GPM) at Lincoln Peak. In the past we could rarely get to that level with the older technology until it got very cold. We have three electric compressors that can generate 18,000 cubic feet (CFM) of air per minute The very old guns would need between 400 and 500 CFM. HKDs are using about 30 CFM on average and snowlogics use about 5 CFM. Let's to the math. If the guns used 450 on average we could run 40 guns. If they put our 30 GPM that would mean 1,200 GPM was being used. Well below our capacity. That is why in the past we and other mountains brought in supplemental diesel generators in the early part of the season. If we use the HKD's we theoretically could have 600 guns running. But if they are putting out 30 GPM then we can run 125 or so and that's it until we run out of water. But in colder temperatures they can be set at different stages which can get up to 50 GPM so you max water around 76 guns. But, we are getting trails open a lot faster and able to move on. For example, when we first blew on Snowballl and Spring Fling, those trails were opened in 36 hours instead of 4-5 days in the past. While you may see us making snow on fewer trails than you might like, we are completing those trails faster and able to then move on to others.

    With respect to wetness, snowmaking does require constant supervision and small changes in temperatures and humidity can alter the quality. That is why we ski around and have guns adjusted if we see then getting too wet. You also have to realize with at times 100 guns running on multiple trails it can take time for our snowmakers to get to the area. Overall, while Bush is correct and I too spotted wet guns at times and called that in, I think the overall quality has been very good and the guys take real pride in doing the best job possible. it is a very tough job.

    I am not going to reply to every time a lift has a minor issue. Those things just happen everywhere. But since Hawk made a point a saying we had three lift issues yesterday, I will comment. The Welcome Mat was due to icing and opened 25 minutes late. The two surface lifts are very vulnerable to icing. Castlerock was delayed due a loose wire that would not allow the emergency brake to reset. You have to first find the loose wire before it can be fixed and that is not always a simple job. That is going to happen especially in the NE climate. A lift can run perfectly and overnight something like this can occur. CR opened at 10:21am.

    I appreciate your honest feedback and I hope all can appreciate that some of these issues are not quite as simple as they seem.
    Thanks Win for the information and your ongoing engagement with this group of passionate SB skiers/riders. One suggestion perhaps for an enhancement to the SB app would be to add a GPS-enabled module for reporting snowmaking or other issues via crowd-sourcing. You and the mtn ops team can't be everywhere all the time, so why not let your customers help report issues to supplement your manpower?

    Also, that question MtnMan had was worth dwelling on I thought. While you were blowing excellent snow on the GH/NL line, were you unable to do so simultaneously on the other lines across the basin? Also, are there plans in the works to replace any of that other lousy ASC-era pipe? Sounds like some of that bit you on Stein's this week.


  2. #287
    Can't believ you guys were posting all this whilst I was skiing. Got my fresh on north Lynx this morning. Fantastic. (Different liftie so it wasn't being stopped constantly). Love the blower but we could really use something to bond with the crust. I measured 6" in the woods off paradise. Maybe tomorrow night will work out well.

  3. #288
    Thanks as always Win. I appreciate the details and you come through. As mentioned the Sunrise snow making was the best I've seen in a while and was on par or better than any other mountain. I get that we are opening trails faster, which is good, but in the past we don't often resurface. Any chance this will be revisited with better and more efficient guns? If we can get trails open faster then you could circle back and touch up. It can make a big difference.

    Two follow ups:

    - Are there plans, no matter how far out, to increase capacity? I'm a couple beers in right now so all I chose to see is a potential 600 guns a blazing. That would dwarf even Killlington who had 350+ guns going over the week. 600 guns would look like you shook a snow globe. Obviously I know that's not the mark to strive for but running multiple lines in different parts of the same basin, say maybe 200 guns would be nice.

    - I like Tin's idea of crowd sourcing on an app. I get you only have X amount of people working the lines. Though I was lapping Sunrise non-stop on Monday and didn't see too many people checking them. Do you have Ops on skis just cycling the lines and reporting. Not too many butt sleds that day. Does someone act as a scout? If it's really bad I make a mention to the liftie when I get down, but I'm not sure it goes anywhere. (I try and be polite about it if you can believe that ) Maybe ask lifties to report on it when they hear a comment. Maybe number the guns and people can help. Though I can see this getting a bit crazy based on what people deem "good" snow. It might help so people know where the issues are at least.

    Anyways looking forward to more Sunrise quality snow if we can't have natural. Cheers and happy new year.

  4. #289

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    The way to increase capacity now at LP is to replace existing pipe with larger diameter pipe like we did this past summer on spring fling and then to add additional pumps to get more volume up the hill. We will be looking at that but that is a multi-year initiative. I would add that as of this morning we have made snow on all the snowmaking trails with the exception of Stein's. We have never been in this position this early. We plan to pump a certain amount of water each year which allows us to get at least three feet of depth on all snowmaking trails initially. That allows for sufficient depth to groom consistently and to hold up to warm weather events. When that gets done we can then spot to keep things fresh where grooming alone will not. Then we do make additional snow on the Spring trails to attempt to keep them open through April. Over at ME the only trails we have left for the first snowmaking effort are Brambles, Cliffs and Which Way. Given the weather by next weekend that should all be done.

    A number of people do check on guns in Mountain Operations and patrol does as well. Lifties will report a comment to dispatch too when they can but sometimes scanning is hard to break away from in a busy corral. You might not always see snowmakers when you are out but they are there. They also need breaks for their health and safety. The guns are numbered but may not be as readily visible to you as they are to the snowmakers.

    We had a very good night of production last night. We are shutting down this morning to make for a better guest experience today and then will be back at it late Sunday night or Monday am when the weather allows after this storm. Looks like we will get some decent snow before the freezing rain and rain early tomorrow. Hopefully, ice will not be a problem for lifts in the AM>

  5. #290
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    I have seen the snowmakers out there day and night. We look out on the mountain and can see their head lights at night. You can definitely see the difference because the whales are not as big, the hoses are not buried and there are not so many wet guns. Thanks for the input Win. Increasing pipe size is good but is very labor intensive and hard to do with many years of tree and brush growth. My question is: Without increasing pipe size, if you added additional compressors in the plant and added or increased the size of the water pumps wouldn't that allow you to blow larger numbers of guns and different areas? I am assuming that the pipe replaced from the river up to the mountain is oversized and can handle the increased demand.
    Trouble with you is the trouble with me,
    Got two good eyes but we still donít see!

  6. #291
    Quote Originally Posted by Hawk View Post
    I have seen the snowmakers out there day and night. We look out on the mountain and can see their head lights at night. You can definitely see the difference because the whales are not as big, the hoses are not buried and there are not so many wet guns.

    Oh yes indeed, we ARE definitely out there all night! Lots to do, between setting up trails, stripping others, and maintaining what's running.

  7. #292

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    Hawk, no. We have plenty of air now with the new technology. It is all about getting more water through the system. If we had ten inch pipe everywhere like we do with Spring Fling that would make a big difference. The pipe up the access road I think is 18 inches and that is more that adequate. While we have purchased lots of LE guns the past few years, some of the land guns are still not as efficient ( the ones you saw on Birdland for instance). We have a demo of a very portable snowlogic this winter, and if we like it, that could replace the older land guns and that too can make a difference when we are on narrow trails and under the lifts where towers can't be used.

  8. #293
    Quote Originally Posted by win View Post
    We have a demo of a very portable snowlogic this winter, and if we like it, that could replace the older land guns and that too can make a difference when we are on narrow trails and under the lifts where towers can't be used.
    For anyone who wants to see what that portable logic can do, how many saw the giant piles on Overshot? We kept on adding more lengths of hose to that gun since every 8-10 hours, it made quite a substantial pile. Very much more portable than the larger Snow Logic guns (the ones on the huge al-u-minium bases we used in the base area and Easy Rider beginning of the season). We checked the gun maybe once a shift and even if it was buried, it was easier to dig out and move than the larger version.

  9. #294
    Hats and neck gators off to the snow making crew this week. I can't imagine how challenging it is to do what you guys do! In my opinion, the mountain was transformed very quickly this week. After all that rain last Sunday, the whole mountain was virtually frozen last Monday. In less than 5 days, you hit all the major trails and the skiing got better every day. I was able to find good skiing every day this week,... All I did was follow the guns. Thanks again for all the hard work and the great skiing you provide for me and my family!

  10. #295
    Hawk, you bastard! You ate one of my chickens yesterday -- feathers everywhere! Unless, of course, that was a different hawk.

  11. #296
    Great job on Snowball -> lower Snowball great snowmaking pow and bump lines. Murphy's sweet also after guns shut off. Amazing how many people flock to the fresh snowmaking....including myself! Nice job making dryer snow, thank you snowmakers.

  12. #297
    My first post here. I very much enjoy reading this thread - how many ski areas have an owner that honestly engages the forum? I used to work mountain ops at a mid sized ski area in the early / mid 80's, made snow, fixed lifts, fixed machines, ran lifts, even had a little time in a tucker snow cat / thiokol 2100. Loved the job but had to move on after college. Still I miss the old days... My wife and 3 teens ski SB one weekend day a week, I still listen to every sheave train as I pass under, notice how the guns are set and running, and marvel at modern grooming equipment. My comments:

    Impressive snowmaking! Skiied sleeper last Monday, guns were running wet but MAN! the whole trail was lit and making enough snow to stay fun even with lots of traffic. We lapped sleeper and snowball today, kids didn't want to go anywhere else. Great snowmaking, not long ago the big melt would have been a disaster. Kinda bummed we lost the earlier snow and would have loved to see the whole mountain covered in snowmaking, but 4000 GPM isn't small time by any standard (I worked with 300GPM) and the quality is good.

    Lifts: I have alot of sympathy with lift mechanics, lifts have more switches and safety devices than a nuclear reactor, all up and down the lift, times 11 major lifts. I don't see obvious issues with SB lifts - some are old but all seem to be well maintained. I'm bummed when one goes down but it's not due to neglect, it's obvious from Win's posts that lift reliability is high on the radar and I see evidence of that. Operators ("Lifties?") are very friendly - give them a thank you when they load you on a fixed grip and you will always get a "your welcome" in return.

    If you break your leg at a ski area (like my 17 year old last April) South is the place to do it. Full X ray, Orthopedist, radiologist, meds, splint, crutches, ski patrol will bring you to their door. A very nice and very competent bunch down there.

    Grooming... The end result is really amazing compared to when I was around that end of the business, it must be satisfying to the grooming crew. I savor whenever I get near a new Pisten Bully, we used to get used (and much smaller) machines from bigger resorts like SB.

    Hopefully not too rosy here, but i am very satisfied.

  13. #298
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    I'm trying to play nice. Howie tells me I am getting too old and grumpy. Actually I am still waiting for my drink therapy!

    I appreciate the response. I guess I can't understand why you can't run more guns with the same pipe with increased pumping or added pumping. I mean it's as simple as turning on the right valves and water and air flows, right? I would love to see guns on the spring fling pod, linclon peak pod and gate house pod all at the same time. That way there would be soft new snow to ski quickly and in many places. That has been my wish list item all along.
    Trouble with you is the trouble with me,
    Got two good eyes but we still donít see!

  14. #299
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    Any word on when the broken pipe of Steins will be fixed? It's the only trial left.
    Actually if Steins was not the spring trail, it might be nice to ski that trail as a natural snow trail.
    Trouble with you is the trouble with me,
    Got two good eyes but we still donít see!

  15. #300

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawk View Post

    I guess I can't understand why you can't run more guns with the same pipe with increased pumping or added pumping. I mean it's as simple as turning on the right valves and water and air flows, right?
    Good point. However, wouldn't additional crew need to be hired to manage the guns? Is the choke-point now manpower?

    I think it is great that Sugarbush now has the majority of its snowmaking trails covered, better than the competition. But I have questions:
    - What % of trails or acreage at Lincoln peak are considered snowmaking trails, and how does that compare?
    - Once the trails are covered, and we get a few storms, will the snow crews be laid-off like before? Will resurfacing continue into the season? Will it be another season of grooming only, "dust on crust", and skied-off conditions by 10AM?

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