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el nino 2018

The Snow’s Coming

Yesterday, we shared Unofficial Networks’ post that our mountains could start seeing snow as early as this weekend. Plus, snow was spotted Pigeon and Turret just this afternoon – check it out!

Photo captured 10/4/18  by Grady James

With natural snow in the forecast, we talked with Josh Hamill, our head of snowmaking, about how Purg is preparing to create its own snow – and what he thinks about El Niño. Here’s what he said:  

Purg: We’re just over a month from Purgatory’s opening day (scheduled for November 17, 2018) – how is the crew getting ready for winter?

JH: We’ve been doing a lot of mowing and it’s going well. The front side is done and we’re making our way to the back side. (Mowing is part of our annual preparations: keeping the natural grasses trimmed in the fall means we can open that terrain faster during ski season.) We’ve also been clearing downed trees on runs around Poet’s Glade and other tree skiing areas. Snowmaking repairs and servicing is done and all systems are tested and ready to go.

Purg: When do you think we’ll start making snow?

JH: We typically start making in mid-October, and we’re getting close. We’re hoping for snow in the high country – that will change everything.

Purg: What’s the strategy for this year?

JH: We’re moving forward as usual. When we start making snow, we target protected, shaded areas that hold the snow well. When we do this, we create these micro climate zones that keep the snow cool. This lays the groundwork for our opening day.

Purg: Everyone’s talking about El Niño this year. What do you think about it?

JH: The patterns we saw in this week’s storms off of the Pacific are extremely encouraging. If we saw something like that in December, we’d get 3-4 feet of snow out of it!