Let the snowmaking begin | VailDaily.com

Let the snowmaking begin

Stephen Lloyd Wood
Special to the Daily/Vail Resorts-Lindsay PatersonThe first man-made snow of the season lies around fan guns on Strawberry Park at Beaver Creek early Tuesday. Low temperatures in the forecast for the rest of the week prompted operations managers to fire up snowmaking equipment in preparation for opening day, scheduled for Nov. 22.

Under the brisk cover of nightfall, operations personnel at Beaver Creek turned on the snowmaking equipment on lower Strawberry Park early Tuesday in preparation for the fast-coming ski season.

“We had a forecast for some cold nights ahead, so we’re hoping that snow stays around,” said John Garnsey, the resort’s chief operating officer. “Besides, historically we start at about this time every year.”

The relatively new “fan gun system” at Strawberry Park, an east-facing slope above the village, is used early as an “inexpensive” way to create snow where it’s needed most at Beaver Creek, before the equipment is moved west to Bachelor Gulch for the rest of the season, Garnsey said.

“Our goal is to get as much covered as we can before we make the move,” he said.

Indeed, the forecast calls for clear skies and chilly nights for the foreseeable future, with nighttime temperatures in the lower 20s Fahrenheit and daytime highs in the 50s, says Brian Avery, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.

“It’s going to be dry for the remainder of the week,” Avery said. “It’s the autumn regime now, with a large high-pressure system over top of us that will remain.

“The high elevations will stay cold,” he added.

At Vail, meanwhile, no snow was made Monday night or Tuesday morning, said spokeswoman Jen Brown. Operations managers intend to “stick to schedule,” she added, meaning snowmaking at Vail should begin Nov 1.

Vail’s opening day remain’s scheduled for Nov. 21; Beaver Creek remains scheduled to open the following day, Nov. 22.

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