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Snowmaking Begins!

Welcome to the snowmaking season at Purgatory! Last night, at about 10 p.m., we fired up the snowmaking system and made snow for a solid 12 hours. Thanks to the cold front that came through (which brought temperatures in the teens on the mountain), we had a nearly perfect – and extremely productive – first night.

This news comes on the heels of last week’s welcome sight: natural snowfall. Last week’s storm brought up to a foot on our mountain (see the photos), and from mid-mountain and higher, that snow is still holding.

Before we made snow last night, we brought our snowcat on the hill to start track packing (an activity where we pack down the snow and break up early season layers. This lays the groundwork for outstanding future ski conditions). Being able to blow snow on top of natural snow helps everything: it keeps the ground cooler and it’s easier for the snow to bind with an existing layer (as opposed to grass). We typically wouldn’t track pack this early, although last week’s snowfall was very wet and high density – so we decided to usher in the grooming season, too.

I’m incredibly proud of our snowmaking team and their efforts not only last night but also as they prepared for the winter season. They worked extremely hard to get our system ready: when our first cold night came, they were set to go!

This marks one of our earlier starts for snowmaking, and our plan is to aggressively take advantage of every snowmaking window. We anticipate having another opportunity tonight, and our snowmakers are on standby as we watch the temperatures. Here’s to a snowy winter season!

About Sam Williams

Sam Williams is the Senior Director of Mountain Operations for Purgatory Resort and Hesperus Ski Area. He joined the Purgatory and Hesperus team last summer after nearly eight years at Powderhorn Mountain Resort in Grand Junction, where he was the general manager. Born and raised in Colorado (and a skier since age 3!), Sam’s previous ski industry experience includes work at Copper Mountain in grooming, snowmaking, lift operations, and lift maintenance.