Newry, ME – Warning: this is a test. This is only a test. Had this been an actual snow emergency, you would have been directed which way to point your car after strapping your skis on the roof.
With last night’s frost and this morning’s cool temperatures, Maine’s Sunday River ski resort was able to complete a full test of its snowmaking system at daybreak. At 5 a.m., the resort successfully fired up 40 guns on its T2 trail on Locke Mountain, officially welcoming the approach of the 2015-16 ski season. Sunday River typically opens on or around Halloween.
Sunday River’s snowmaking system is as advanced as any. The resort owns and operates a total of 1,900 snowguns, including HKD Impulse Tower Guns and Boyne Low-E Fan Guns, allowing it to cover 95 percent of its 135 trails.
Last year’s snowmaking test fell just days earlier than today, on September 19, 2014, when 29-degree temperatures allowed Sunday River’s snowmaking team to fire 32 guns to coat T2, typically the first trail to open each season.
“The moment the leaves start to change and the air gets cooler, the Sunday River team is eager to get those snowguns running again,” Resort President and General Manager Dana Bullen says. “We see another great season on the horizon and this early snowmaking test is proof we are ready to get back on the hill. And so it begins.”
Though the resort has not yet set an opening date, this test does give Sunday River’s snowmakers the go-ahead to crank the system at full capacity—8,100 gallons of water and 60,000 cubic feet of air per minute, producing four acre feet per hour—once the temperature is consistently cool enough. Generally, full snowmaking requires sustained temperatures between 26-30 degrees overnight.