Snowmaking Upgrades: Flying Fox

So what if summer hasn’t even officially started? We’re already getting reading for next winter. Deal with it!

Just this week, our snowmakers began work on one of their major summer projects: re-routing and replacing the snowmaking pipes on Flying Fox.

 

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Just another beautiful spring day on Flying Fox. The new snowmaking pipes will be installed by the treeline on the left side of the photo.

The pipes, which carry water and compressed air up the mountain, were installed in the 1980s and had reached the end of their lifespan. In recent winters, snowmakers have spent precious time repairing sections of the pipe, rather than making snow. This winter, snowmaking efficiency and reliability on Flying Fox will get a big upgrade.

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A snowmaker’s job is never done. One of our snowmaking foremen prepares to haul snowmaking pipe onto the upper section of Flying Fox.

We’re also relocating the snowmaking pipes from the eastern edge to the western edge of the trail. Relocating the pipes (and snowmaking guns) will take full advantage of the prevailing winds, which typically come out of the northwest during the winter. For decades, snow guns positioned on the eastern edge of the trail have cranked snow directly into the wind, rather than with it. This change should make it a whole lot easier for snowmakers to bury Flying Fox during the winter, and may even help them open the trail a bit earlier in the season.

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The snowmaking pipe staging area at the base of Flying Fox. Sections of pipe are welded together, and then hauled up the slope.
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Burying a length of pipe that cuts across the upper portion of Upper Picked Rock.
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A welder works on cutting and joining lengths of snowmaking pipe.

We’re looking forward to the day they put those new pipes to good use in November.

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