Schweitzer Mountain Resort began installing a new snowmaking system last year and is continuing with additions this year. The addition of a water reservoir should aid snowmaking in the Basin Express area.

Schweitzer's snowmaking project installed 6,000 feet of line, 16 hydrants, two permanent towers, a well, and a pump house last year. The resort credits opening last winter in December due to the snowmaking guns.  

The high-tech, low energy automated snowmaking guns are able to produce 25 percent more snow for the amount of energy consumed than other types of systems. Humidity, temperature, and monitoring gauges sense when conditions are ripe for snowmaking. The guns turn on and off automatically to conserve energy when conditions are not ideal. The water and air mix can also be adjusted to create different snow-wetter snow for building a base or drier snow for topping corduroy with fresh powder.

The resort claims the system is about 40 percent quieter than other systems on the market. The hydrants, which are retractable, do not create obstacles for skiers and riders.

Schweitzer is finishing up the snowmaking system this year by building a lined reservoir pond at the top of Stiles Saddle, left of the Great Escape Quad. The reservoir is expected to provide enough water to blanket 18 inches of snow from the top of the Basin Express to the bottom on the Midway run. The pond was lined to prevent leeching, and the project includes revegetation and transplanting of native plants throughout the building process.  

More information. Or call 208-263-9555.