By Deb Everts
To give its members and guests the best ski experience possible, HoliMont Ski Resort continues to make improvements to its snowmaking system, so skiers will have plenty of the white stuff to enjoy this season.
Greg Culver, director of marketing, said a lot of the projects they worked on this year are things people wouldn’t ordinarily notice because much of it is underground, including piping upgrades, which they do annually.
“We’ve been replacing old water lines with new waterlines for our snowmaking machines because some of the pumping systems are more powerful and different than they were about 30 years ago,” he said. “A lot of metal and steel pipe has been put in the ground this year.”
Above ground, people might notice the 21 new Super Pole Cat Fan Guns that have been added for snowmaking.
Culver said the fan guns came in a couple of weeks ago and they will allow them to have more permanent and effective snowmaking in some of the problem areas where there are natural springs and low spots that always need special attention. Their goal is to have 100-percent coverage — meaning every single slope will have snowmaking on it.
“A lot of times we would have to jockey these guns from one location to the other to make snow in problem areas,” he explained. “With these 21 new guns, they’ll be permanently located in the spots where we were kind of short. Now, it’ll be faster, more efficient and it’ll be safer for our guys who will be lifting these guns and relocating them when the conditions are not the best.”
Culver said the staff at HoliMont truly believes in the fan gun system for a couple of reasons. He said the system not only makes excellent snow, but a couple of HoliMont employees and Dave Riley had a hand in inventing the technology years ago.
“We co-developed the fan gun with SMI Snowmakers about 20 years ago and we sold that technology for Super Pole Cat Fan Guns to SMI,” he said. “For years and years, we had royalties, which is why we were able to line our hills with that type of gun.”
According to Culver, a fan gun works like the fan in a person’s house. It can oscillate and be directed up, down, right and left, making it very effective in blowing snow. He said for one location, they can cover more than 180-degrees with the pattern of the snow.
HoliMont’s programs haven’t changed much and are similar to recent years, except for a few modifications. Culver said the national organization is pushing terrain-based learning, which has been a hot topic for the last two or three seasons.
Culver said future development in the WestMont area of the resort is still in the master plan but, unfortunately, those plans are on hold for some different reasons.
He said the plan will happen in phases and will include new slopes and eventually a new lodge, along with a new beginner area. Culver said HoliMont has plans to improve the children’s programs and learn to ski programs by giving beginners their own area with a wide-open space.
HoliMont has a new, non-skiing event called “Frosty CX,” a fat bike race that is coming Feb. 23, 2019. According to Culver, a fat bike is a mountain bike with humungous tires that are made for snow.
“We are going to have a groomed snow course similar to our cyclocross course, but it will be for fat bikes. There will be three divisions: Men’s, Women’s and Kid’s,” he said. “It’ll be easy and a spectacle to watch.People will be able to see the whole race because it’ll be held at the bottom of Sunset area. The event is already a buzz among the biking community.”
Culver said that’s one area they’re really looking at getting into for the non-ski season, and even during the ski season at times, because fat bikes are used all winter long.
Other upcoming winter events scheduled at HoliMont in 2019 include Snowshoe Social, Jan. 12; Contractors Day, Jan. 25; Men’s Day, Feb. 1; and Ladies’ Day, Feb. 22.
The resort is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekends for guests and members, except for Christmas week.
Weather permitting, HoliMont will open its 2018-19 ski and snowboard season Dec. 14. For more details on rates for memberships and daily ski passes, call the office at 699-2320, or visit online at holimont.com.