The cold air arrived a little later than we expected, but when it did arrive, it was great for snowmaking. The bulk of our snowmaking energy and resources are pointed at Ramrod. We will still put a little bit of "frosting" on High Noon. In terms of planning and timing, we are very dependant on weather and streamflows. This year there is quite a bit of water in the North Fork of the Snake River which is good for snowmaking. We need consistent, cold weather. Last night was cold and tonight looks like more of the same.
In terms of the order of snowmaking, we open High Noon first. Ramrod is opened second and usually takes an additional 1-2 weeks. After Ramrod, we head for the Upper Mountain taking about 2 more weeks to open Lenawee Mountain Lift and Lenawee Face and Dercum's Gulch. We then like to open Molly Hogan the weekend before Thanksgiving so we can open the Snowsports School. We plan for Sundance for Thanksgiving to give a green trail off the mountain. Lastly, we shoot to open the Treeline Terrain Park for the Christmas holidays. Dates and times are highly dependant on water and weather. Of course, mingled in there somewhere are a few other special spots and projects.
The simple summary of order is High Noon - Ramrod - Lenawee Face/Dercum's Gulch - Molly Hogan - Sundance - Treeline Terrain Park.
A few weeks ago I was asked why we didn't open Lenawee Face/Dercum's Gulch first since it tends to be colder up there. The simple reason is that we think we can open High Noon/Ramrod faster. Although it tends to be colder up high, the linear length of the upper trails is about twice as long as High Noon and a fair bit longer than High Noon and Ramrod combined. Also, I am not sure the difference in temperaturebetween high and low is big enough to make a significant difference in snowmaking output. By the time we are opening Dercum's Gulch, we usually get some help from Mother Nature in terms of natural snowfall. If we started with the Upper Mountain, I think we would open 1-2 weeks later. Making snow that high is a bit more difficult and time consuming.