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Vermont's Lyndon Outing Club Seriously Considering Snowmaking Plan (June 2022)

thetrailboss

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While there were unsuccessful attempts in the 1990's and 2010's, local residents are now making a more concerted effort to install snowmaking on the town-owned, volunteer-run ski area that overlooks Lyndon and the NEK.

The Caledonian Record today outlined a recent meeting between the Village of Lyndonville and the snowmaking committee for the Outing Club. The Village is interested but has concerns about water use.

Specific information about this project is here: https://shonyoparksnow.org/

Information about the ski area is here: http://www.skilyndon.com/

While there is always some press about Cochran's and Northeast Slopes, the Lyndon Outing Club seems to miss the spotlight. It has been continuously in operation since 1937 and, for many years, hosted local, regional, and even national high school ski competitions. The Club is volunteer-run. The facility, Shonyo Park, is owned by the Village of Lyndonville (and/or the Town of Lyndon). This allows for state and federal grants.

It has about 400 vertical feet served by a diesel-run T-Bar that came from Stowe in the 1980's. There is a rope tow for beginners. It has night skiing and several trails. There is no snowmaking.

Recently, due to warm temperatures and a lack of natural snow, seasons have been sporadic. This last year only had 8 sessions of skiing and riding. Historically, one could have bought a season pass for $50 for kids, $100 or so for adults. But since the seasons are unpredictable, and volunteer ranks have dwindled, they only sell day tickets.

In case you haven't guessed, this is near and dear to my heart. I grew up skiing here. My Scout troop met here. I'd love to see it continue. They are selling LOC swag for those interested and will likely be asking for donations for those that can help.
 

Newpylong

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Without breaking it down line by line, whoever wrote the operational costs section of that website clearly has no understanding of snowmaking nor the costs involved. They are blowing smoke up people's asses.

Also, the major issue with the proposed system is nothing to cover the lift line. I know HKD would have proposed a system that returned the loop down the lift line so that portables could be used there. Someone had to have told them, "we can build piles at the top and bottom and push it down an extremely narrow 1000 foot lift line, with towers and Ts hanging there". Take it from someone who's done that, it's not feasible, especially with a volunteer staff. Someone is going to damage the lift and the cat amongst other things.

It is a worthy goal, however I question the group's grasp of the ongoing operational expenses beyond the initial build out. The alternative is don't do anything and only be able to use the facility a handful of times per year. Not really a good alternative...
 

thetrailboss

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Also, the major issue with the proposed system is nothing to cover the lift line. I know HKD would have proposed a system that returned the loop down the lift line so that portables could be used there. Someone had to have told them, "we can build piles at the top and bottom and push it down an extremely narrow 1000 foot lift line, with towers and Ts hanging there". Take it from someone who's done that, it's not feasible, especially with a volunteer staff. Someone is going to damage the lift and the cat amongst other things.
I thought that seemed odd.
 

Yo VT Raps

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The small local hills in VT are less-talked about staples. Most are very old, very small, and volunteer run. Throw in Hard'ack, Bellows Falls, Brattleboro Ski hill, some others too!
 

IceEidolon

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Snowmaking under a T-bar isn't exactly easy either. In terms of water use, figure you end up with a 20' wide track, 1000' long, 2' deep - that's just under an acre-foot of snow required. Figure that has to come from the top and bottom couple guns, mostly, too, and there's no overprovisioning those areas for higher output.

I'd figure the minimum is grabbing ~600' of hose, some tee fittings, and some short sections so as to run any combination of three 10' sleds on the liftline. The ideal, as you said, is a return line able to support at least 5 sleds with 100' hydrant spacing.

Do we know what snowcat they have? An LMC dragging a Powdermaker would be worse to try and push a liftline with than, say, a 300.

If they're running 250 GPM @400 psi gun pressure, they're already pretty much maxed on water on stage 1 so this doesn't mean more air compressor or pump capacity - instead they have to run 3/4 or 4/5 on the main slope until the liftline is done.

I wish 'em the best getting good coverage. We need community hills like that.
 

Newpylong

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It sounds like it's one of those cases of someone who doesn't know very much trying to ramrod it in as cheap as possible and ignoring the impracticalities of doing so. Been there...Better off taking more time to fundraise and do it right.

Here was some snowmaking at the very bottom of our T where it opens up. The other 700 feet or so behind me can barely fit a cat between the tower pad and the side of the trail. It definitely was the worst place to have to cover and then push out.
20191220_180759.jpg
 
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machski

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It sounds like it's one of those cases of someone who doesn't know very much trying to ramrod it in as cheap as possible and ignoring the impracticalities of doing so. Been there...Better off taking more time to fundraise and do it right.

Here was some snowmaking at the very bottom of our T where it opens up. The other 700 feet or so behind me can barely fit a cat between the tower pad and the side of the trail. It definitely was the worst place to have to cover and then push out.
View attachment 54674
That an SR7 gun?
 

IceEidolon

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The biggest tip-off is they're budgeting for a 6'x1' track rather than a full cat width plus some spill. I figure without a PB100 size cat you're gonna need more like 20' wide coverage.


There's a wide spot at Trail 6. Perhaps a branch could tie into the T-bar ROW there. With two 200' linesets you could reach the entire liftline. Still need a couple Viper/Phazer/Impulse sleds, but it's a darn sight better than having the whole liftline unsupported.
 

Newpylong

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I can see the cat damaging the lift and itself trying to push all the way down that line. We did it with our 350 on several occasions and we had more clearance and piles all the way down. No long pushes.

I think their best option short of putting in the return loop down the liftline is doing exactly that, running 200' feet of hose off the deadhead at the top down to where Trail 6 starts. Hopefully they have decent pressure at the summit, there is going to be a good drop in 200" of 1.5 hose. They could shut the rest of the guns down and put a hog there if needed and focus on that pile, which will have to be huge anyway. That's still a lot of pushing down that narrow line.
 

IceEidolon

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200' down from the top, 200' uphill from the hydrant at 6, 200' downhill from the hydrant at 6, 200' uphill from the base - just about covers the whole liftline, and you could swap around hoses to reach the rest. That should cut down on the cat work required at least.
 

Newpylong

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Are we looking at the same map? The only location that they could conceivable reach the narrow section of that liftline with 200' of hose is from the very top. That's why the said they planned to push snow down. They aren't going to be doing any laterals or spurs to get any closer.

original
 

IceEidolon

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That's why I said to run a branch over from the main across the trail to meet up with the liftline at 6 - probably 4" pipe, then you can take hoses up and down from the middle of the lift line. Probably put the valves for that branch around Hydrant 12.

Can you run a tee bar with a mid unload? Not while the main unload is active, but if you have coverage only from 6 to the main slope and back to the loading area, is that even possible under lift regs? I bumped chairs half a season, I don't actually know Jack about lifts. Either way it gets snow on the middle of the liftline without a 500' hose run at least.
 

Newpylong

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If they are going to run a lateral like that they may as well run the return right down the liftline as I initially mentioned. You put a valve at the top and deadhead it there when you're making snow on the slope. Open it up when they're ready to cover the liftline. It wouldn't be that much more steel and completely removes the need to really push long distances.

They frown upon it, but technically you can do a mid-station, but then they need an operator there. Also need to run controls there, probably not an option on that old T. Since they are volunteer run, I don't see that happening.
 
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