WCAV-WVAW-WAHU | Charlottesville, Virginia | Weather

Snow Making in Wintergreen

By: Stacy Berman Email
By: Stacy Berman Email

November 26, 2007

Wintergreen, VA may be known for skiing and snowboarding, but when the snow doesn't fall, modern technology helps out.

Since 1976 Wintergreen has been making their own snow and in 2002 an automated computerized snow making system was installed to provide a winter wonderland that Mother Nature could not.

For the past four years, Scott Gunnell, the Slopes Service Manager, has been making snow at Wintergreen and while the process seemed complex, the result was just what people wanted.

"Using compressed air and pressurized water, we are able to produce snow right out of the gun", explained Gunnell.

They can even make snow when the air temperature is above freezing. They rely on the wet bulb temperature, or the lowest temperature that can be obtained by evaporating water into the air.

"Twenty Eight degrees wet bulb is when we start making snow and we can run up to Thirty Two degrees wet bulb."

Last weekend was the first weekend Scott and his team made snow because they had to wait for the ground to freeze.

"We are waiting for good cold air, you know, the ground freezes and then we run. Natural snow is nice, but we don't have to wait for it."

With a ski resort relying on snow making, water usage had to be a concern, especially this year. but Lake Monacan, the reservoir the water on the mountain flows into, provides plenty of water.

Gunnell was adamant about his water usage. "We are not on water restrictions, there is, it is a dry time and we are managing our water resources very carefully. Looking at every drop, spending hours making a decision whether to run or not.

What was interesting about the snow making machines was that they could decide what type of snow they wanted to make, the dry powdery kind or the more wet dense kind and give it another few months, the snow will be as high as nine feet.

Can patrons using the slopes feel the difference between natural snow and man made snow?

Gunnell doesn't think the average skier would know the difference. "Because of our automated snow making system we can dry the snow out throughout the entire mountain and make inches of powder across the whole resort, much like a three inch natural snow fall."

Wintergreen is getting ready to open the skiing season in the next few weeks. They already have about a foot of base snow on the slopes and with snow making capabilities to last all winter, 2007 - 2008 is sure to be a busy one.


The comments sections of Newsplex.com are designed for thoughtful, intelligent conversation and debate. We want to hear from our viewers, but we only ask that you use your best judgment. E-mail is required, but will not be displayed with comment.

  • Comments cannot be profane or vulgar. We will not post comments that use profanity or cross the lines of good taste.
  • We will not post comments that use hate speech. Slurs, stereotypes and violent talk aren’t welcome on our website.
  • Comments should not attack other readers or people featured in our stories personally. Any accusations should be backed up with facts.
  • Any comment we post will be posted in its entirety. We do not edit any comment that we post.
     
  • Comments should contribute to the discussion. We will not post comments that don't advance the discussion. Flaming and/or trolling will not be tolerated.
     
  • Comments should not attack other posters. Let's keep the focus on the content of the story.

    As a host Newsplex.com welcomes a wide spectrum of opinions. However this is a site that we host. We have a responsibility to all our readers to try to keep our comment section fair and decent. For that reason The Newsplex reserves the right to not post or to remove any comment.

    If you have any ideas to improve the conversation or this section let us know. Send an e-mail to webmaster@newsplex.com.

 

powered by Disqus
The Charlottesville Newsplex 999 2nd Street S.E. Charlottesville, VA 22902 434.242.1919 – Main 434.220.7522 - Newsroom
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 11845426