Ski areas across New England have spent big bucks on low-energy, high-efficiency snowmaking to ensure the slopes are snow-covered earlier and longer after a dismal season last year.
A snow gun makes fresh snow at the Stowe resort in Stowe, Vt., last Thursday. The ground might be bare, but ski areas across the Northeast are making big investments in high-efficiency snowmaking so they can open more terrain earlier and longer.
At this time last year, Stowe Mountain Resort had six trails open. This year the resort opened Saturday, a week earlier than in 2011, with nearly double the number of trails thanks to $4.7 million in snowmaking improvements.
“This summer was a big expansion for us and it’s already paying dividends,” said Michael Manley, mountain operations manager, who says the resort is making twice as much snow as before. This summer, Stowe added 325 energy-efficient snow tower guns, replaced 150 of the land snow guns with more efficient ones and put in 16 fan guns.
And like other resorts using the high-efficiency technology, Stowe is spending less money to do it, eliminating more than 100,000 gallons of diesel fuel a year.
Maine’s Sunday River spent $1 million this summer to install 300 new snow guns that will cover 15 of the resort’s most popular trails. Now it has at least six trails open, compared to just two at this time last year.