Before guests’ skis are waxed, before skiers have broken out their winter gear and before the lifts begin to spin, the snowmaking team at Deer Valley Resort is on the mountain preparing the slopes.
“We’re all dedicated to creating the best snow surface possible,” said Julie Hygon, one of the 32 snowmakers on staff, in an email.
Each snowmaker has a variety of tasks on the mountain during their daily 12-hour shifts. And making snow is only one of them. On Oct. 23, snowmaking operations began, requiring an around-the-clock effort to prepare for Saturday’s opening day.
The crew, split into two daily shifts, works together across the mountain, ensuring that each snow gun is functioning properly and receiving adequate water pressure and that quality snow is made on usable terrain. Crew members also move snow piles and eventually groom the trails.
“If it’s cold out, we’re here,” said snowmaking foreman Scott Enos.
Snowmaking by the Numbers
- 28 fan guns on towers
- 80 carriage fan guns (that are moved with utility snowcats — there are up to two dedicated snowcats on the mountain at a time to move the carriage fan guns.)
- 49 air water guns
- 153 low-energy, high-efficiency air water stick guns
According to Enos, the crew utilizes more than 250 guns to make snow across 725 acres at the resort. While some of the snow guns are permanent, others are moved to various locations by one of three utility snowcats or 13 snowmobiles available to the team.