My mama does not like to drive in the snow. One flurry and she works from home. Lipton tea brews and the weather channel is on— all day long. She knows her weather. When the storm will hit, when the roads will close, if there’s an accident on I-78 from snow slush atop black ice. She plays like mama miser, too, calling the boss man to let him know when the flakes fall and asks, Are you making snow?
We are the snowmisers. We rely on inclement weather. We need the cold, the ice, the rain, the snow. We thrive on it, and we make do with what we get. This season, marginal temperatures have us crawling, slowly, towards opening day. In a mix of powder, wet piles, and dust, Easy Out, Vista, Midway, Come Around, Upper Main Street, Lower Main Street, and Summit School Hill all got a little love when the temps dropped. Not enough coverage to open (or to earn homemade cookies from sisters and significant others), but a tease for the cold shifts ahead. A gentle reminder to have our gear fit and ready— or we will get wet.
So, let’s talk basics.
Having the right gear is essential to snowmaking. It’s not about a specific brand name or designer gear, but rather the happy medium of functional wear that is warm and waterproof. First and foremost, we need protective gear to aid our safety.
Blue provides hard hat helmets, ear protection, and headlamps. The ear protection wears like earmuffs and is attached to the helmet. This helps us keep tabs on our muffs and gives the option to wear on/down or off/up.
We provide the rest. Our gear goal? Waterproof, warm, and durable.
- Jacket- We buy our signature Blue Mountain Helly Hanson jacket through True Blue Mountain Sports, Blue’s specialty outdoor retail shop located in both the summit and the valley.
- Gloves- The greatest debate: mittens or gloves? Gloves are the preferable choice for easy grip, grab, and go wear. We likely average between 2-3 pairs of gloves each per season.
- Gaiters- The ultimate shield to keep water from seeping into boots.
- Boots- Function and comfort with a hint of style. Work boots, muck boots, snowmobile boots, snowboarding boots.
- Socks- It depends what’s in the drawer from ankle to high-knee cotton or wool.
- Pants- A matter of preference. Carhartts, bibs, snowpants.
- Sweatshirt- The go-to for mid-layer comfort.
- Hat- We appreciate gifts from our salesmen. Baseball caps, beanies. Caps and brims help keep snow off the face.
- Goggles/Sunglasses/Face shield- A matter of preference and style. Expect continuous wiping of wet flakes with a chance of fog.
The basic accessories: our main go-to for easier and happier snowmaking.
- Boot dryer- The pumphouse has a near 8′ rack to dry boots during break. Happy feet equals happy misers.
- Dryer- We have two heavy-duty dryers to dry soaked gear during break time.
- Channellock- Every good snowmaker has this tool on-hand. If we slip and slide downhill, we slam the channellock into the snow to create a slower drag to stop. If we have trouble connecting an air hose, we use the channellock to push and twist into place. The list continues for use as a clamping device, a hammer, and whatever else an icy glove can’t grip.
- Knife- Always necessary. Always have on-hand.
- Bat- A surefire way to remove big ice beards from snow guns, poles, and wires.
- Duct tape- If we can’t duct it… well, then it’s time to get a new piece of gear. Duct tape is the most essential accessory for a quick fix, glove rip, and DIY gaiters.
When prime snowmaking temps hit, our shifts run in rotational increments between work and break time. Length of snow runs is dependent on the time of day, size of crew, temperature, and designated trail. Our day is a wintry mix of making snow, plowing snow, maintenance, and repairs with break times necessary to dry out gear and grab a few more cookies.
We are waiting. We know you are, too. Think snow… and preheat the oven.
See you on the slopes,