Wrightwood, CA – November 22, 2007: Snowmaking began yesterday evening and Mountain High made several inches of new snow on main trails at its West Resort. Overnight temperatures fell to 29 degrees at the base and 34 at the top meaning a slight inversion took place. Operations have ceased for the day but are expected to resume shortly after nightfall and continue as long as possible. An official opening day has not been set but resort operators expect it could be as early as this weekend. Once open, operating hours will be 8:30am to 10:00pm and discount tickets will be offered to reflect the limited terrain.
Says John McColly, Director of Marketing, “Conditions look very good this evening. There is a 90% chance that we will make snow tonight and we will continue as long as we can, day or night, until we open.”
More than $1 Million in improvements were made at the Wrightwood Resort this season accounting for a major increase in snowmaking capacity. The addition of new guns and the retrofitting of existing hydrants enables them to produce 30% more snow than before using the same, if not less, energy.
Says Ken Showalter, Snowmaking Manager, “Going green is important to us at Mountain High and we are working hard to make sure our snowmaking system runs as cleanly and efficiently as possible.”
How is Mountain High able to make snow when it is so warm down the hill? Santa Ana winds are as cold in the mountains as they are warm in the valleys and the cold, dry conditions they produce are great for snowmaking. The Wrightwood Resort can cover more than 75 percent of its 60 trails with machine made snow. Using water and air, the same two elements as Mother Nature, they will make snow all season long which is why they are traditionally the first resort to open in Southern California.
Says Joe Affleck, Snowmaking Manager, "We'll work around the clock if the weather is right. With good conditions, we can make enough snow to cover a one mile stretch of the 405 freeway with a foot of new snow overnight."
Here's an important fact: SNOW MADE AT THE RESORTS IS REAL SNOW. There's nothing artificial about it. Snow crystals - however they are produced - are simply minute crystals of frozen water.
Snowmaking simply shortcuts Nature's process.
For Southern California snowmakers, two factors have a profound influence on the process; temperature and relative humidity. People often look at their Eddie Bauer thermometers on their ski jackets and say, "Hey, it's below 32 degrees, why aren't the snow guns cranking?" The answer is humidity. In general, the more humid the air, the lower the temperatures have to be to be for snowmaking.
As a result, modern snowmakers are more interested in the "wet bulb" temperature, which is a mathematical function of dry bulb temperature and relative humidity. When the atmosphere is saturated and cannot hold any more moisture, the dry bulb and wet bulb temperatures are exactly the same (this is also known as the dew point). But when humidity is extremely low, the wet bulb temperature may actually be subfreezing - less than 32 degrees Fahrenheit - when the dry bulb temperature is as high as 40 degrees. This makes it possible to make snow at temperatures well above "freezing."
Snowmaking is expected to take place tonight and tomorrow morning. If you would like to take pictures or shoot video for a winter story, we would be more than happy to accommodate you. Mountain High is Southern California’s closest winter resort with three separate mountains and a wide variety of lifts and trails. Photos and live video can also been seen at Mountain High’s website, mthigh.com. For more information, please contact John McColly, Director of Marketing, at (760) 316-7803 or firstname.lastname@example.org.