Snowmaking Underway in the High Sierra

SODA SPRINGS -- The combination of freezing overnight temperatures and low humidity made for perfect snowmaking conditions in the high Sierra early this week.

"We were able to blow snow the last two nights, testing our guns, making sure they're ready," said Tucker Norred, marketing and communications manager of Boreal Mountain California.

Norred gave FOX40 a tour of the early snow base Tuesday evening.

"The ground is getting cold right now with the snow on top of it, which means that when we go to blow the next time the snow will stick twice as well," Norred explained.

The resort has snow machines positioned every 50 feet along the main runs. When conditions are right, water is sprayed through them at high-velocity freezes and falls to the ground as snow.

"The snowmaking here at Boreal we expand upon almost every single year," Norred said. "And that's because we want to be one of the first to open. But also to expand our terrain as far as possible."

The resort practices sustainable snowmaking. Much of the power comes from solar and the snow machines tap into water from Boreal's on-site pond. When the snow melts in the spring, much of it drains right back into the pond.

Fountains in the pond help keep the water cold.

"That way, when the water reaches the gun, we're making as much snow as possible the second we're ready to do it," Norred pointed out.

Existing resort employees were already hard at work preparing Boreal for the upcoming season, which will include some new terrain park features for experienced skiers and riders, plus expanded beginner terrain and lesson programs. Construction of a new beginner chairlift is on track completion early in the season.

Hiring of seasonal workers is also underway.

The targeted opening date is Nov. 9. But if conditions cooperate Boreal will be prepared to open sooner.

"If we get the right temperatures and the right wind speed, I would say that we could probably open in less than 48 hours of blowing around the clock," said Norred. "One date that we always shoot for is Halloween. We love to be open and watch people riding the hill in their costumes."