It’s a little easier to bend and twist without layers of insulation and waterproof gear on. A little easier to turn knobs, maneuver hoses, and handle tools with our bare hands, already worn and weathered with callouses. We are soaking in the ease of warmer days to finish fine tuning hydrant leaks, computer faults, tree trimming. Painting fences, adjusting clutches, checking valves. Repairing leaks, creating leaks, and repairing leaks again.
Last week, we started up the compressors to pressurize the entire snowmaking system. A team of misers walked our 39 trails checking for air and water leaks and existing equipment damage. Repairing leaks and equipment before the snow fall makes for a quicker and easier fix— especially when it comes to underground pipe leaks. An underground pipe leak is visible by water rush accumulating at ground surface. To fix it, we use an excavator to dig up and around the piping. Then, we drain the system. Then, we replace the damaged steel pipes. If we are really lucky, the leak will be under electrical conduit, which means electrical repairs, too.
If we dig too fast, or we miss matching site location with pipe mapping, a quick nip to another pipe can make a small leak hundreds of gallons bigger. Come snow cover, snow removal and frozen ground can make an underground pipe repair just a little harder.
It’s more than bells and whistles— snowmaking is the drive train that gets you on the slopes. As the season creeps closer, we are continuing to check to-dos off the list. The mechanics are servicing the snowcats. Seabee is adjusting clutches for oscillators, checking valve bodies, and unblocking nozzles on fan guns. We are covering drainage inlets with new steel grading and plywood for better water drainage from trails for less effect on snow coverage. With a little help from our friends at Defienderfer Electric, one of our many partners/ outside contractors, we are finishing up outstanding projects. And, with every green light, we are running snowmaking tests in the valley and the summit.
We wrapped up the final hiring process with a welcome to new seasonal misers at our Mountain Operations Safety and Training meeting earlier this week. Next week, a chance of snow flakes is in the forecast. With a shift to cooler temps, we will soon split day and night crews for around the clock mountain coverage. And, at any available moment, we will be making snow.
See you on the slopes,