Arapahoe Basin Ski Area begins snowmaking Friday, the earliest start in a decade | SummitDaily.com

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area begins snowmaking Friday, the earliest start in a decade

Snowmaking has commenced here in Summit County, with visions of fresh turns on the horizon. High atop the Continental Divide, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area fired up eight snowmaking guns early Friday morning.

A-Basin's snowmaking team blanketed an area around mid-mountain at the top of the High Noon trail with snow. It's the earliest the ski area has started its snowmaking in 10 seasons, as the average start of snowmaking occurs in the first few days of October.

"We fired up last night," A-Basin chief operating officer Alan Henceroth wrote on his blog. "The wet bulb temperature got down to 25 (degrees Fahrenheit) for about six hours. The snowmakers have been training and testing for the last week. They put a little bit of snow on the ground.

"It wasn't a big night," the COO continued, "but it was a very productive and important night. We will probably have a few more nights like this. It is good to run the system and work out any kinks. A snowmaking system has miles and miles of machines and equipment. Most of that gear lives outside and is exposed to weather and wildlife. Testing is good, running the system under real conditions is even better. The objective is to be fully ready when we get that 36-hour period of temperatures in the teens.

"We will be ready."

Though A-Basin has approximately 25 total snow guns in its fleet, the ski area only runs the ones located where the temperatures are optimal.

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Also this season at the ski area, 100 percent of the energy used for A-Basin's snowmaking system is coming from renewable solar energy.

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