Snow sledding icon
Snowmaking Capital Project

Over $8 million to be invested in the next 3 years.

When skiers and snowboarders visit Sugar Bowl Resort next season they will be sliding on more snow, produced in less time, using less energy, than ever before. This summer the first $3 million of an $8 million snowmaking system upgrade and expansion will be invested to produce more snow to cover trails, race venues and terrain parks faster when temperatures drop. The initiative will be completed in three phases, which at conclusion will result in:

  • More snow, faster – thanks to doubling our water pumping capacity and the latest snow gun technology, the time it takes to cover Sugar Bowl’s snowmaking terrain will be reduced by two-thirds.
  • Reduced energy consumption – with the addition of over 150 low energy-use snow guns (low E’s), Sugar Bowl will significantly reduce its need for high-pressure compressed air.
  • Reduced carbon emissions – less compressed air equals elimination of diesel-powered air compressors and a significant reduction in CO2 gas emissions.
  • Snowmaking coverage on Mt. Disney – pending regulatory approvals, snowmaking will be added to the popular advanced terrain on Mt. Disney, including the black diamond run, East Face, Disney Traverse, Montgomery, and Upper and Lower McTavish trails.

This summer’s phase one is significant in its commitment to add over 120 of the project’s new, low energy snow guns, along with doubling water pumping capacity.

New snowmaking valves for capital project
Grinding for Snowmaking project

Snowmaking Basics

There are four vital ingredients needed for machine-made snow: water, compressed air, cold temperatures and low humidity. Snowmaking can begin at remarkably high temperatures if the humidity is low enough. In order to evaluate the combination of temperature and humidity, snowmakers refer to the wet-bulb temperature (View Chart).

When the temperature drops below freezing the watch begins to determine if the snowmaking system should be fired up. In this region, snowmaking can begin around 28 degrees F (26 wet-bulb), but the quantity of snow produced at this temperature level is usually minimal. At just a few degrees colder and percent humidity drier (26 degrees F/22 wet-bulb), the quantity and quality of machine-made snow really starts to improve. The colder and drier the conditions get, the more snow the guns can turn out. The outside air temperature is a rough guide for determining when snowmaking can begin, but it is the relative humidity that will determine the quantity and quality of the snow that can be produced. As you can see in the table, the magic number is 20 degrees wet-bulb. As temperatures drop the snowmaking team will start using electronic telemetry from monitoring sites across the mountain to assess the conditions. When the team determines that the time is right, they will start up the equipment and begin making snow. With this information, you can now join our snowmakers in not only praying for snow next season, but also praying for 20 degrees wet-bulb when they can take matters of snow into their own hands!

Snowmaking at Sugar Bowl Resort