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Mt Snow 21-22 Season

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Thought I'd update this thread for the current season as Mt Snow will probably be my first area to hit this year.

Are they going to make opening day? I'm tentatively shooting for a midweek day just after Thanksgiving, perhaps the 29th or 30th, but don't know if there is going to be much open. As long as there are a couple of options down I can live with it for day one. It looks like weather will hold once we get past this Wednesday/Thursday warm blip. How much time do they need to cover a few trails including something on the North Face?

Anyone have any first hand intel of current progress?
 

IceEidolon

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It depends a lot on how wide they want to spread themselves, how thin they'll leave a trail before they move on. They have the firepower to put a lot of water down fast, especially below 20 degrees. I don't know how aggressive Vail will be.
 

icecoast1

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You should be fine by then. Opening day on Friday isn't looking very promising though, unless it gets colder then the forecast shows at night this week and/or they decide to do northface only
 

IceEidolon

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You should be fine by then. Opening day on Friday isn't looking very promising though, unless it gets colder then the forecast shows at night this week and/or they decide to do northface only
North Face doesn't have many or any fan guns. The front face does. In marginal, there's no reason not to run both since they aren't both using compressed air and Snow has basically an ocean and the pumps to move it. Now, committing full power with the old air water guns to both would be a stretch, but they should be able to do *something* on the front in any scenario.
 

icecoast1

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North Face doesn't have many or any fan guns. The front face does. In marginal, there's no reason not to run both since they aren't both using compressed air and Snow has basically an ocean and the pumps to move it. Now, committing full power with the old air water guns to both would be a stretch, but they should be able to do *something* on the front in any scenario.


It has more to do with elevation and temperature than anything, a couple of years ago pre pandemic and pre vail take over they opened with just Free Fall on the North Face and a goat path down the main face solely for the purposes of getting people down without downloading. They were actively telling people to stay on the north face until they were ready to call it quits for the day
 

IceEidolon

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In the context of post Thanksgiving skiing, though, they'll have been making snow on the front and north faces, not delaying front face progress to get north face open. Whether they get the front face for day 1 or not, it'll be in progress very shortly and opening for the 28/29 window shouldn't be an issue. Whether there are multiple runs by then is more up in the air.
 

Newpylong

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North Face doesn't have many or any fan guns. The front face does. In marginal, there's no reason not to run both since they aren't both using compressed air and Snow has basically an ocean and the pumps to move it. Now, committing full power with the old air water guns to both would be a stretch, but they should be able to do *something* on the front in any scenario.

They don't have any air hogs and haven't for nearly a decade since handing them over to Efficiency VT.

No fans on NF. All IMP12s.
 

IceEidolon

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Define air hog, please - I'm including mid energy guns like the new nozzle Ratnik baby SG2, which as of maybe three years ago they did have on site but may not have been using. I can dig up pictures.
 

drjeff

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Define air hog, please - I'm including mid energy guns like the new nozzle Ratnik baby SG2, which as of maybe three years ago they did have on site but may not have been using. I can dig up pictures.

Mount Snow switched out if not all, then basically all of the Rat's they got via the efficiency VT grant just a year or 2 after they got them in favor of either the HKD Impulses or some Snowlogic DV4's. The rat's. while using less air than the older guns they replaced, still used more air than the HKD's and Snow Logics', so I guess the Rats were more of a "mid E" gun whereas the HKD's and Snow Logic's are "low E" guns with respect to how much air they need to get the desired product.

There may still be a dual Rat in/around/mounted to the Summit pumphouse building area. I know there was one in the past (although what defines the past vs present certainly gets a little foggier over the years in the memory ;) :ROFLMAO: )
 

IceEidolon

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I have pictures of multiple portable Ratniks after 2017 back in their ops area. I'm not claiming they are regularly used, but there's still at least a large handful of 'em that made it through to the Vail purchase. I'm aware of the Great Snowgun Roundup that rendered many species of snowguns functionally extinct - these were the survivors.

Regardless, North Face and Main Face should both be able to run at minimum one route TTB without running out of air or water.
 

FBGM

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Let’s be real. They probably don’t have staff to make snow right now. And old Peaks put in all those fans with no coms and no auto. Idiots.
 

drjeff

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I have pictures of multiple portable Ratniks after 2017 back in their ops area. I'm not claiming they are regularly used, but there's still at least a large handful of 'em that made it through to the Vail purchase. I'm aware of the Great Snowgun Roundup that rendered many species of snowguns functionally extinct - these were the survivors.

Regardless, North Face and Main Face should both be able to run at minimum one route TTB without running out of air or water.

Since air is more of the limting factor over water most of the time in the early season push to open, they haven't had any issues with the low e guns they have on the typical early season opening routes that use them (Long John from the Summit down to the top of Carinthia, Cascade down to basically the top of Canyon Quad, River Run as well as either Freefall or Chute on the Northface), so as long as they have the staff to run them, once Mother nature gets a bit more cooperative with some extended, good wet bulb temps, I wouldn't suspect that this year would be any different in what they can cover of their air/water terrain
 

IceEidolon

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Let’s be real. They probably don’t have staff to make snow right now. And old Peaks put in all those fans with no coms and no auto. Idiots.
Huge price difference between auto and manual, and there's a dead zone where you can spend millions automating and still need a full size crew to handle North/South face plus monitoring on the main face. Given the choice between automating 1/3 the area or getting fully into modern manual equipment and incrementally swapping that for autos later, especially when you're able to pass surplus manual equipment to other properties you own? Yeah, I'd pick full coverage too.

That said, auto guns are definitely the way to go eventually. It's just that the jump from old tech up to modern manual gear is huge and the gains from automating aren't as big - especially when you aren't having trouble hiring multiple big shifts of snowmakers.
 

Newpylong

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Define air hog, please - I'm including mid energy guns like the new nozzle Ratnik baby SG2, which as of maybe three years ago they did have on site but may not have been using. I can dig up pictures.
I do not include Ratnik's current (Mid-E) offerings or a baby snow giant with upgraded nozzles as neither are really air hogs.

The majority of them along with the SR7s were largely gone by 2014 with the efficiency VT program. A few could have been kept as a layaway plan for a bit for sure. We did that too and we still busted them out :) Options are good.
 
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Newpylong

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Huge price difference between auto and manual, and there's a dead zone where you can spend millions automating and still need a full size crew to handle North/South face plus monitoring on the main face. Given the choice between automating 1/3 the area or getting fully into modern manual equipment and incrementally swapping that for autos later, especially when you're able to pass surplus manual equipment to other properties you own? Yeah, I'd pick full coverage too.

That said, auto guns are definitely the way to go eventually. It's just that the jump from old tech up to modern manual gear is huge and the gains from automating aren't as big - especially when you aren't having trouble hiring multiple big shifts of snowmakers.

This x 2. Several areas have decided to hop on the automated bandwagon just to go back to manual. The equipment sits there unused.

The way to go is to modernize your entire footprint as best as possible with top of the line manual (passing the older equipment down to lower priority terrain, or other mountains), and possibly automating the acreage that is resurfaced consistently.

If you have modern fixed equipment, decent hose, and good hydrants, two guys walking a trail is a hell of a lot cheaper.
 

FBGM

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Huge price difference between auto and manual, and there's a dead zone where you can spend millions automating and still need a full size crew to handle North/South face plus monitoring on the main face. Given the choice between automating 1/3 the area or getting fully into modern manual equipment and incrementally swapping that for autos later, especially when you're able to pass surplus manual equipment to other properties you own? Yeah, I'd pick full coverage too.

That said, auto guns are definitely the way to go eventually. It's just that the jump from old tech up to modern manual gear is huge and the gains from automating aren't as big - especially when you aren't having trouble hiring multiple big shifts of snowmakers.
They should have at least ran conduit to everything during install to think ahead. No idea why they didn’t. I’m guessing money or just no one there to think next step.

I’ve installed many. But always full auto with Coms and systems already in place. It’s all been new construction with big budgets.
 

IceEidolon

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3x - 14x the air for the same water as a V3 or an Impulse is still pretty inefficient, for the Ratnik.

An area's first auto trail is a huge step up - even a couple auto fans capable of remote start for an unload or a pain point free up a pair of guys to go do something useful. A whole trail means you can do something with your pumps while your manual crew gets sleds in place elsewhere or whatever needs done. You can tap off any surplus and do useful work with it. Huge benefits.

When you're more than half automated with a couple big trails left, though, you're paying about full price for automation maintenance, and staffing enough to have a crew big enough to run a big manual plan. Worst of both worlds.

For incremental retrofit on existing power, why not use radio comms? Especially if you're going SMI where every gun is fine running in local auto? I know hardwired is easier to set up and maintain, but preinstalling that much conduit is pretty darn pricy.

Automation will eventually pay for itself, but the time horizon for that repayment on any individual gun is potentially 20+ years out at current power prices. The repayment on swapping to new manual guns from a Ratnik sled system is a lot shorter.
 

drjeff

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3x - 14x the air for the same water as a V3 or an Impulse is still pretty inefficient, for the Ratnik.

An area's first auto trail is a huge step up - even a couple auto fans capable of remote start for an unload or a pain point free up a pair of guys to go do something useful. A whole trail means you can do something with your pumps while your manual crew gets sleds in place elsewhere or whatever needs done. You can tap off any surplus and do useful work with it. Huge benefits.

When you're more than half automated with a couple big trails left, though, you're paying about full price for automation maintenance, and staffing enough to have a crew big enough to run a big manual plan. Worst of both worlds.

For incremental retrofit on existing power, why not use radio comms? Especially if you're going SMI where every gun is fine running in local auto? I know hardwired is easier to set up and maintain, but preinstalling that much conduit is pretty darn pricy.

Automation will eventually pay for itself, but the time horizon for that repayment on any individual gun is potentially 20+ years out at current power prices. The repayment on swapping to new manual guns from a Ratnik sled system is a lot shorter.

I'll be curious to see how/when/what Vail decides to do with the 250ish or so Polecats that Peak installed heading on 11?12? seasons ago (I can't remember off the top of my head) if/when they need replacing.

I know that a few seasons ago there was some loose talk about automating a few of the core trails, however that was also about the time that Peak was looking at some cash flow issues with bulk loan repayments due and a season before that wasn't stellar volume wise....
 

IceEidolon

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There are plenty of OG Polecats still in service that are 25 years old or more. No reason Vail needs to rush a replacement. However, all major fan gun competitors could easily accommodate a 10-per-year or 20 per year incremental replacement plan. Power is already there, they just need a hydrant actuator or a small shelter and valve, plus whatever foundation the new fan calls for and a base station and control software the first year. Add the replaced guns to another resort or salvage them for parts.

Edited to add: there were some (blasphemy) TAs added at Hunter under Vail, and many auto Super Polecats under Peaks done to replace Highlands and manual Polecats that followed about what I laid out - get most of the mountain covered with modern guns, then automate the spots that need the most/fastest snowmaking first.
 
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Newpylong

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3x - 14x the air for the same water as a V3 or an Impulse is still pretty inefficient, for the Ratnik.

An area's first auto trail is a huge step up - even a couple auto fans capable of remote start for an unload or a pain point free up a pair of guys to go do something useful. A whole trail means you can do something with your pumps while your manual crew gets sleds in place elsewhere or whatever needs done. You can tap off any surplus and do useful work with it. Huge benefits.

When you're more than half automated with a couple big trails left, though, you're paying about full price for automation maintenance, and staffing enough to have a crew big enough to run a big manual plan. Worst of both worlds.

For incremental retrofit on existing power, why not use radio comms? Especially if you're going SMI where every gun is fine running in local auto? I know hardwired is easier to set up and maintain, but preinstalling that much conduit is pretty darn pricy.

Automation will eventually pay for itself, but the time horizon for that repayment on any individual gun is potentially 20+ years out at current power prices. The repayment on swapping to new manual guns from a Ratnik sled system is a lot shorter.

Yes but like all things it's not black or white. They may convert the same amount of water in a 15 degree wet bulb, but not 20+. You would need to look at the flow chart for each model to see where the scales tip. In aggregate the Low-E obviously wins.

Then you have some areas who have to use them due to poor water pressure up top.
 
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