With low temperatures, snowmaking is activated at Minnesota ski resorts

Minnesota ski resorts started producing snow over the weekend, including Buck Hill in Burnsville.

BURNSVILLE, Minnesota — Minnesota ski resorts and businesses are gearing up for the winter season.

Over the weekend, ski resorts across the state posted on social media how they had started producing snow.

To Buck’s Hill in Burnsville, staff began the snowmaking process Friday evening.

It drew crowds on Sunday afternoon.

Sotero Manwa of Burnsville stopped with his family so his wife, Grace, could see the snow for the first time. Grace, who is from Kenya, is spending her first winter in Minnesota.

“That’s why I brought my wife for the first time to see how they make snow without the snow coming from the sky,” Manwa said.

Grace’s reaction? “It’s too cold,” she said.

“We have our snow guns running. As much as we can, 24 hours a day, we will be making snow and opening as soon as possible,” said John Sandberg, director of operations at Buck Hill.

Sandberg said snowmaking comes off wet bulb temperature, a combination of air temperature and humidity.

“Making snow is extremely complicated but very simple. You take compressed air and water, mix them with a fan or a jet, and throw them in the air,” Sandberg explained. . “Make a water particle as small as possible so that it freezes when it hits the cold air and falls like a snowflake.”

Buck Hill has about 120 snow cannons, both permanent and portable. By Sunday afternoon, Sandberg said they were pumping about 1,800 gallons of water per minute.

“We can get up to 5,000 gallons per minute when temperatures drop enough,” he said.

As long as conditions are favorable, they will keep the machines running 24 hours a day. Staff work 12-hour shifts: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

“Yeah, we’ll see our families when we’re done snowmaking,” Sandberg said.

Just down the street, Zombie Boardshop wrapped up a busy weekend.

“Temperatures are dropping and people are excited. So we’ve been busy for sure,” owner Shawn Solem said.

Zombie Board Shop has been around since 2005 as an independent snowboard, skate and surf shop.

Solem said his customers can’t wait to get out on the slopes.

“For pre-season sales, it’s definitely up in comparison, which is a good sign,” Solem said.

Supply chain issues have also improved. Solem said at this time last year that the store was not as full.

“There were certain categories like boots or certain outdoor apparel that we couldn’t get our hands on and that has improved dramatically this season,” Solem said.

For Solem and Sandberg, snow is not only good for business but also for pleasure.

“I’m excited. I want to snowboard, personally,” said Sandberg, who was finishing his second shift snowing. ” I’m excited. It’s hard work, but I guess you could do something cooler? »

Buck Hill is recruiting from all departments for the season. You can find more information, here.

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About George Dailey

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