Three degrees is cold. Three degrees is curl-your-fingers-into-a-ball-on-the-inside-of-your-gloves cold. It is pull-your-hood-over-your-helmet cold. It is swing-your-feet-around-on-the-chairlift cold. It is this-is-my-last-run cold. Three degrees is lapping-Canyon-and-Lower-River-Run-so-we-can-ride-the-gondola cold.
Today the temperatures on Baldy were frigid. First thing this morning, the weather report proclaimed a meager one degree Fahrenheit at the top of Baldy, then rising to a balmy three degrees by midday. By four o’clock, it was back to one.
But cold temperatures, while they freeze your fingers and make your toes ache; do one very good thing for all of us. They allow our awesome snowmaking system to actually make snow. Sun Valley’s snowmaking system covers a behemoth 645 acres, ranking it as the world’s largest computerized snowmaking system. In a course of 24 hours, the 550 guns can pump out over 3 million gallons of water. That is pretty epic, but in order for it all to work it has to be cold. The guns can only run at 28 degrees and really kick in at around 22. With a temp of one degree on the top and 16 on the valley floor, today was pretty ideal for snowmaking.
Where are we utilizing all that technology and making all that snow? Now that we have Warm Springs from the top to bottom open, as well as a pretty decent International, and Roundhouse Slope and Canyon, the guns are now powering all over the mountain. Christmas Ridge and Ridge now have huge piles forming, getting closer and closer every day to complete coverage. Lower College and the renamed Sunset Strip (aka Hershey Highway) are also now in the works. You can even see the rising snow plumes over on Seattle Ridge. The snowmaking crew is also hammering the halfpipe on Lower Warm Springs and the location of Dollar’s forthcoming terrain park on Old Bowl is now holding huge snow piles too.
So while the 1,832 of us who skied or snowboarded today spend the rest of our afternoon at the Inn’s hot pool or in our own hot tubs, recovering from a cold day, the guns will thankfully keep running. And since it is supposed to be even colder in the next few days, let’s bundle up a little more tomorrow but hope that it stays cold so we can keep making snow and pray for a big storm!