NORTH CREEK, N.Y. — Gore Mountain in North Creek has made a lot of snow it its days, but now they’re making more than ever, and at a cheaper cost than years ago.
Newer, high tech snowmaking machinery was installed at the mountain with the help from an incentive grant it received from the National Grid.
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“We took a look at the amount of kilowatt hours that will be saved for an energy efficiency project like the HKD snowmaking project that Gore Mountain just did,” National Grid’s Tom Iwinski said. ” In this case, Gore just received a $1.2 million incentive from National Grid.”
Ski areas spend thousands of dollars on energy and labor costs to produce snow. New generation snowmaking equipment, however, is taking a big bite out of the energy needed to make snow.
“We’ve been partnering with Gore to provide them with low energy snowmaking,” HKD Snowmaking Co.’s Gordon Santry said. “A lot less compressed air is used and that’s what our low energy technology currently evolves around in reducing our air consumption while maximizing out water and snow production.”
As winters become more unpredictable in terms of how much snow will fall naturally, the snowmaking operations at ski areas are no more important than ever in order to make the business work.
“There were years before that we opened the entire mountain on natural snow,” Gore Mountain’s Howie Carbone said. “That is very rare now. We’ve had that one time in the last 10 years.”
The new age snowmaking equipment can get trails covered much quicker, too.
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“When we get the cold window we can optimize our snowmaking,” Carbone said. “Our snowmaking has become so powerful.”
It’s been a team effort between Gore and National Grid, and it’s working well to keep the slopes covered at a much reduced cost.