A Perfect Storm: Stowe’s New Automated Snowmaking

By AlpineZone News |
Sep 09 2005 - 12:03 PM

STOWE, Vermont ??” This winter Stowe Mountain Resort will be the only ski area in New England to have a fully automated snowmaking system on one of its mountains. The mountain, Spruce, will feature the new snowmaking system on its Main Street trail, the most diverse top to bottom intermediate terrain in eastern North America. What’s so special about fully automated snowmaking, you might wonder? Please read on.

Manufactured snow is made from water and compressed air. Traditional or manual snowmaking systems require thousands of man hours every winter, to lay houses and adjust snow guns according to the appropriate time, place, temperature, and wind condition. Even with all this effort, it’s nearly impossible to manually make all the necessary adjustments required to create the optimal snow quality desired by skiers. York Snow has changed all that. York’s fully automated snowmaking systems can create a perfect snowstorm with the click of a button. From one computer, a snowmaker can control all the snowmaking hydrants on the system.

Through the technological advances of computerized automation, the York system utilizes mini weather stations connected to the hydrants to continually adjust the ratio of water to air. In addition, the central control unit can adjust the direction of each hydrant independently. The result is a gold standard skiing surface, with a uniformity of depth and consistency of snow quality from the top of the trail to the bottom. “It’s the closest snowmaking product to perfect Utah powder,” says Robin Smith, president of York Snow. “This is like always having the right gun in the right place, and your best snowmaker at every hydrant,” said Smith. “The absolute best thing about this system is you can groom trails at the end of the day and then make a perfect blanket of fresh snow on top, giving guests the perfect skiing experience on any day,” comments Rod Kessler, Stowe’s VP of mountain operations.

York Snow was founded in 1986. Globally, there are now over 300 York-installed snowmaking systems operating on four different continents. While 97% of European ski resorts use automated snowmaking, only 15% of ski resorts in the US have them. Now that Stowe is the first resort in New England to use automation, the Main Street trail is yet another attribute that differentiates Stowe from the marketplace.