Peter Hines

by Peter Hines

Whiteface Adds 100 New Guns to its Arsenal


Whiteface Mountain in Wilimington, New York recently added 100 new high efficiency, low energy snow guns to its arsenal.

The HKD impulse snow guns are a welcome addition to the Whiteface’s to snowmaking collection of equipment said General Manager Aaron Kellet. "We were able to deploy the new guns very quickly after they arrived. We got them off the truck and right up the hill" said Kellet.

Impulse Head

The HKD Impluse "low-e" snow guns operate at higher temperatures. They have four water flows, hybrid nucleation and variable airflow. The Impulse is unlike any other low-e gun on the market. The "Variable Airflow Technology" of the Impluse is able to deliver better snow quality at high temperatures, and big production with minimal air consumption at cold temperatures.

The 100 new guns were made available by a grant from Whiteface’s electricity provider, New York State Electric and Gas Corporation, NYSEG. The return on investment is about a year and a half according to Kellet. Whiteface now has about 350 snowguns including the computerized Technoalpin T-40 Snow guns.

This is very important to Whiteface as it is faced three thaws after starting to make snow this year. Making snow in marginal conditions is important to laying down a good base. “The goal is to get the summit open before the Christmas week so skiers and riders can enjoy all aspects of the mountain” said Kellet. Whiteface is poised to make that happen this year.

HKD Impulse Snowgun head

The topography of Whiteface makes snowmaking a little more challenging. While there is an abundance of water from the Ausable River getting water up the hills and to the heads where it is combined with compressed air is not so easy. There are now flat areas where water can be staged half way. Many mountains have storage pumps to store water.

The Ausable River where the water is drawn from is at about 1,200 feet above sea level. Pumping that river water another 3,200 feet to the guns located on the upper mountain requires a complex network of about 40 miles pipes and multiple pumps stations. Whiteface can take 6,000 gallons an hour from the Ausable. They hope to increase it to 12,000 an hour in the future according to Kellet.

The snowmaking crew at Whiteface wants to provide the best possible conditions. The simple reason for this is because they are skiers and riders. They know where the snow needs to be, how much and when. They make it and they use it. Their commitment to working with Mother Nature and the technology available to provide the best coverage on the mountain.

Whiteface, like other mountains, plans to make snow well into February and expects to have substantial coverage by then.

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