Mountain Blog

September Snow Report

Nancy Story - Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It is a sign, for sure.

The double rainbow which arched overhead on the slopes last week touched down on the Loki chairlift, bathing the lift towers in pale yellows, oranges and purples. This, in conjunction with the dirt dozers currently carving a trench at the bottom of Cheers and Main Street for placement of larger water pipes for our snowmaking system, must mean something. Winter is in the wind.

About those pipes.  Laying down bigger pipes means more snow. And for you snow science nerds out there, here’s how it works:

Snow flakes need a nucleus to start the process. Snow guns create nuclei through special nozzles which spray a combination of finely atomized water and compressed air. When air is decompressed at the opening of the nozzle, it supercools the water. This causes the tiny droplets of water to freeze. Then larger droplets from the bigger nozzles have frozen nuclei to which to adhere. When pressure gets too low, the nucleator nozzles quit working, and the gun stops making snow. There’s less friction with a larger pipe; thus, more water can flow unimpeded to create better water pressure.  

No amount of new pipes and rainbows can answer the big question. “What’s the weather going to do?” is asked every fall by season passholders and potential season passholders everywhere. The answer to this is obvious: It’ll do what it darn well pleases. Despite millions of forecasts focusing upon it each day, weather just saunters in, does what it wants to do and departs, laughing uproariously.

Which is why, in September, you should not rely upon Farmer’s Almanacs or wooly worms or Weather Channel speculations. You can, however, wish upon a rainbow as a sign for a pot of snow at the end. And don’t wait for signs of winter to purchase your season pass. With discounted pass rates ending on October 1, the time to buy is NOW.  The pipes are callin’…………


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