Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Snowmaking Weather

A t 4 AM this morning, the air temperature at mid-mountain was 39 F. The humidity was 80+ percent giving us a wet bulb temperature of 37-38 F.

OK, let's do some "Snowmaking 101". Typically, when the wet bulb temperature is less than 28 F, we start making snow. When the wet bulb gets less than 25 F and, even better, less than 20 F, we start making lots of snow. The lower the humidity, the lower the wet bulb temperature. A cold, clear night with a wet bulb of 20 F is great snowmaking weather. A warm, stormy day with wet snow falling and a wet bulb of 33 F is not snowmaking weather.

So, we are still a little ways from snowmaking. That first snap of cold weather usually happens the last week of September or the first week of October. For much of October, we make snow whenever it is cold enough, not necessarily every night. Starting in mid to late October it is usually cold enough every night to make snow and during storms maybe we make snow all day. A few weeks after that, we can often make snow 24 hours a day.

Our system is ready. The equipment is in place. The crew has tested the pumps, the water lines, and the electricity. The seasonal snowmakers start next week. Stand by for cold weather. When it happens, it usually happens fast. There are lots of things for you to worry about out there. A-Basin making snow is not one of them.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Finally a post about snowmaking! Thanks a lot Al! Btw, I know i shouldn't be worried about this, but its the only thing I can ever think about no mattter how hard I try, keep us updated!

Alan Henceroth - COO and Vice President said...

I hear you and I will keep you updated.

Don Collins said...

Don't worry about when A-Basin opens? Hahahaha! Thats a good one, Al! Its been 3 whole months without skiing, there is literally nothing else I think about this time of year other than "When will A-Basin open?" Cant wait!

Michelle said...

What a wonderful read to start this day!

Anonymous said...

Great info! How is the water/river level for snowmaking thru Christmas?

Calob Rundell said...

Thank you so much for the update and the specs on how and when snowmaking can take place.

In the meantime, all we're going to do is worry about it. :)

JonPulliamInc said...

This is exactly how I feel. I am nothing but grateful to get a chance to live in a state where I can be so stoked for ski season. There are more people in colorado than ever before which is going to make opening days, early season, and travel back to Denver throughout the season not as care free and fun as previous years. I'm stoked to see the season get started but not so much for 45 minute lift lines EVERY weekend ALL weekend for Oct and Nov at least (plus the 3-6+ hr drives back to the city :-(. Legal pot blew this state up in a way no one could've predicted.

Anonymous said...

When trying to gauge/guess what nights might be good for snowmaking, I use the Arapahoe Basin links for current local weather:

http://mesowest.utah.edu/cgi-bin/droman/meso_base.cgi?stn=GZPC2&unit=0&time=LOCAL&product=&year1=&month1=&day1=00&hour1=00&hours=&graph=1&past=0

and point forecast:

http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=39.6324&lon=-105.8710#.Vfg0yTbouUk

Ryan said...

Keep up the good work Al! You'll do a fantastic job and are the best ski operation in the state hands down. Some of us are so impatient to hit the slopes again that we are forgetting the obvious (that temperatures aren't low enough to make snow and if they turned on the snowmaking system they would only be watering the lawn so to speak). Keeping an eye on the forecast, and it doesn't look like the overnight temperatures at the summit of Loveland Pass will be low enough for snowmaking for at least another week.

Remember the much vaunted 2010-2011 ski season, arguably the best in recent memory, didn't get started until October 25th of that year, and for those of us that were around we know that when the skies opened up it didn't stop snowing until July. Keep the faith and you will be rewarded all in good time.

Richard Mendell said...

It's about now that I like to remind myself that years with snowy and stormy Octobers/Novembers tend to be lighter snow years than when the natural snow comes later.

So I'm praying for a cold dry October.

Anonymous said...

Boy-howdy. Lb

Anonymous said...

Al: Summit Daily said "Action on the more than 400-acre expansion in a backcountry area within the ski area’s permit known as the Beavers has been pushed back. Local Forest Service officials said recently that the ski area was refining its proposal for the federal agency to analyze." Is there anything you can share on this blog regarding this?

Anonymous said...

I have a question about how long one of those snow making whales can last if the weather warms up. Say you have a few cold nights in a row and can make a bunch of snow and then a warming trend strikes and it gets up to say 60 for a day or two. How much of that newly blown snow melts away? Half? A tenth? Negligible?

Chris K said...

What are the early season rules on uphill access? I can't wait for A Basin. What an awesome season last year.

Anonymous said...

yes begin processing the snow! i cant wait til im cutting up some fresh long lines. I love playing in the snow nothing is better, ide be hitting it everyday if i could.

steve p. said...

I saw the comment above about the Beavers. Any information you could provide Al? I think the community is obviously very excited about this some for good reasons some for bad. Maybe an approx. timeline as you see it?

thanks!

Paul S said...

Your commentary has gottne me pumpedf or the upcoming season!! And I dont even live in Colorado any more... Think snow