Importance of Snowmaking
The development of machine made snowmaking technology in the 1950’s generated an explosion of ski area development in the United States. Without snowmaking capability, most ski resorts in the Eastern United States, and many in the West would not exist. Snowmaking allows resorts to maintain a more consistent base and a longer season than natural snow alone would allow.
What is Machine-Made Snow?
Machine-made snow is the result of mechanically combining cold air with water to produce snow that is semi-crystalline or granule-like, compared to natural snow which is solely crystalline. Machine-made snow lasts longer as a result of its more granule-like form, allowing ski resorts to maintain deep snow bases even after rainy periods. When machine-made snow is groomed or manufactured with a drier quality, skiers and snowboarders enjoy the resulting snow surface, noticing little difference to groomed natural snow.
Appalachian’s Huge Investment in Snowmaking
Appalachian’s mid-season base depths often exceeding 100 inches have been a long-standing hallmark of its snowmaking expertise and every-year investment in snowmaking improvements. In fact, over the last three years alone, Appalachian has invested over 2 million dollars in snowmaking automation, snow guns, pumping capacity, and increased water storage capacity. Appalachian now has the greatest snowmaking pumping capacity per acre of any ski resort in the Southeast Region. Appalachian Ski Mtn.’s peak season snow base depths often exceed that of many Western resorts.
A Long Ski Season
In an average season, Appalachian will make snow 450 to 600 hours. In ideal conditions, the capability to convert up to 6 million gallons of water to snow in a single day now allows our ski season to last into late March or April of every year. As a result of our excellent snowmaking capability, Appalachian has published its scheduled opening and closing date every season since 1992. Ski season usually begins during the week prior to Thanksgiving. As of the 2008-09 season, Appalachian has skied to its scheduled closing day for nine consecutive years, and all slopes are usually open on closing day. Appalachian has skied from opening day to closing day without interruption for 16 of the last 17 years.
Snowmaking Philosophy Based on Guest Comfort
Whenever possible, Appalachian conducts its snowmaking operations after skiing hours or on slopes that are closed. Guests of any ski area often complain when snowmaking is in progress during skiing hours. Appalachian makes snow during skiing hours only when it is absolutely essential to remain open for business. In those instances, we strive to make dry quality snow from our 20’ snowmaking towers to best preserve the skier’s quality of experience. In many seasons, we rarely make snow during skiing hours from Christmas through closing day.
Fresh Conditions Until Closing Day
Appalachian Ski Mtn. can cover the entire mountain in a new layer of snow overnight. Expect to see fresh conditions frequently, even during the late season, with night-time snowmaking continuing right up until the day before we close.