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The Secret Behind Sunday River Resort's Snowmaking

How to make the most dependable snow in New England

Press Release

Newry, ME (Winter 2016-17)—How does Sunday River Resort own the claim of having the most dependable snow in New England year-after-year? Commitment, the ability to make more snow than any other resort, and true grit.

In terms of commitment, for the 2016-17 season, Sunday River has renovated its pump house, which controls the air and water pressure going onto the mountain during the resort’s many snowmaking periods, as well as updated some existing snowmaking infrastructure and equipment across the resort.

Since joining the Boyne Resorts family in 2007, Sunday River has invested over $7 million into energy-efficient snowguns and other equipment to improve air and water capacity. Additionally, ownership of the world’s largest high-pressure snowmaking system combined with a massive watershed of nearly 43 square miles of drainage allows the resort to make snow on 90 percent of its non-gladed terrain.

But those aren’t the only impressive numbers. On any given night of snowmaking, the resort will use 10 million gallons of water which can be pumped onto the mountain at a rate of 8,000 gallons per minute. During an average winter of making snow from October until April, the resort will spend an average of $2.5 million on snowmaking.

Last winter, Sunday River snowmakers were credited with running a snowmaking test on September 22, 2015, producing enough snow for high-quality early season conditions for opening day on October 19, 2015, and continuing to make snow through April 6, 2016—all while keeping the resort open for skiing and snowboarding until May 1, 2016.

This is where true grit comes in. This means round-the-clock snowmaking when temperatures allow, done at night and in the dark, broken into three shifts where the 30-something men and women of Sunday River’s snowmaking operation comb the resort’s eight interconnected peaks on foot to position snowguns, unfreeze pipes, connect and disconnect hose—all in sub-zero temps. It is because of this dedication that Sunday River’s snowmakers won the HKD I AM a Snowmaker Award from Ski Area Management Magazine in 2016—the first award of its kind honoring a resort’s entire snowmaking team—after one of the worst natural snow years on record in New England.

Sunday River’s snowmaking system boasts over 2,000 snowguns—including the iconic SR-7 head, Boyne Low-E, fan guns, and a host of energy-efficient HKD heads mounted on towers—80 miles of pipe, 30 miles of hose, and 2,200 hydrant stations. The system can pump up to 8,100 gallons per minute from its water source to the resort and can compress 54,000 cubic feet of air per minute to make snow when temperatures allow.

A four-season destination which boasts eight interconnected mountain peaks of world-class skiing and snowboarding, Sunday River is located in Newry, Maine, amidst the scenic Mahoosuc Range, and is a member of the Boyne Resorts family of resorts.

Media inquiries can contact Darcy Lambert at dlambert@sundayriver.com.

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