Phase One: Operation 2X Snowmaking

July 20, 2018 in Inside Look, Slope Stories - 18 Comments

This summer, Sunday River is taking the first step toward doubling the resort’s snowmaking capability. You read that right — doubling our snowmaking.

We’re replacing the pipeline that feeds water from the Sunday River up to our snowmaking pump house at the base of Barker Mountain with nearly two miles of newly-engineered ductile iron high-pressure pipe. This new pipe will give us the ability to push significantly more water into our snowmaking system.

With the new pipeline in place as the first phase of our snowmaking expansion, we’re also adding a new 600-horsepower pump at the river. The new pump will give us a 15% boost in snowmaking capacity for the 2018-19 season. We expect the project to be completed by the end of the summer — in plenty of time for our annual snowmaking test and getting prepped for early season skiing and riding.

In the coming years, we’ll continue increasing pumping capacity and expanding our on-mountain infrastructure to allow us to make twice as much as much snow as we can today. Our current on-mountain infrastructure includes over 2,000 snowguns, 80 miles of on-mountain pipe, and 2,200 hydrant stations.

All of this is to say that Sunday River will be able to make more snow, more quickly than ever before, and we’ll continue to provide the most dependable snow in New England. And you know what that means? Amazing conditions, guaranteed.



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  • Faith Kirkland July 23, 2018 at 9:26 am

    Have I just gone to heaven?

  • Lois Winter July 23, 2018 at 9:56 am

    I love skiing, but what are the ecological and hydrological impacts to Sunday River when you pull out more water from the River?

    • Sunday River August 16, 2018 at 1:33 pm

      Great question. Our snowmaking page explains this one pretty well, but we’re at the base of a massive watershed, meaning that there is a significant amount of water we can draw from. We’re permitted to draw much more than we have the capacity for (even with the increases brought on by this project), and when the snow melts in the spring, it returns to the watershed.

  • Bill Cobb July 23, 2018 at 10:20 am

    Will there be any realization of the rumor for a snowflake factory in Jordan Bowl???

    • Sunday River August 16, 2018 at 1:30 pm

      That one will stay in the rumor mill. The increased capacity from this project will benefit the entire resort, since we’ll be able to draw more water from the river to be pushed out through the on-mountain system.

  • Matt blair July 23, 2018 at 10:40 am

    Love to hear that! You guys already have great snowmaking so I guess you will move up to super-great snowmaking! 🙂

  • James Mccalsky July 23, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    With more water available on low output guns how exactly does that change anything?

    • Sunday River August 16, 2018 at 1:40 pm

      Energy-efficient guns tend to use more water and less air, so having increased water capacity is key. It also means that we’re able to run more guns at one time, so production will be increased in that regard.

  • Denis Desautels July 23, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    I miss it already, I can’t wait.

  • Ed August 16, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    While I applaud the snowmaking capabilities, what are you doing about the constant issue with lifts not running efficiently after even the slightest bit of snow?
    Way to many “mechanical difficulties”. Perhaps more attention needs to be paid to this. Ice on lift cables is pretty standard industry wide. Doesn’t seem to be a problem at other resorts that get more snow and extreme temps.

    • Sunday River August 17, 2018 at 7:35 am

      Thanks for your question, Ed! This announcement is not to say that we don’t have other things in the works for capital improvements this summer. We are also investing in maintaining our lifts, but rather than one large project (such as the snowmaking pipeline), we’re working on many smaller projects for multiple chairlifts. Lift safety is always a top priority.

  • Paul August 17, 2018 at 5:26 pm

    Rumor has it there has been some changes with group bookings? Are group leaders still handling the bookings for their members or is it all going through your website now using the group code during booking ?

  • Bill Cobb August 17, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    Last winter I heard from a person working maintenance that since the lifts are real old now the parts needed for repair and maintenance are hard to come by and take time to be delivered which is adding to down time of the lifts.
    Is this true and if so will we just have to bear with it until lifts are replaced?

    • Sunday River August 27, 2018 at 9:03 am

      Hi Bill! Comparatively, our lifts are actually pretty young, and we continue to upgrade them to stay current with ever-changing technology. It is true that some of the parts are no longer manufactured, but we are always working with manufacturers to make sure that we’re anticipating any necessary upgrades. A chairlift has thousands upon thousands of parts, and our knowledgeable team is dedicated to ensuring that they are in proper working order for all of our safety. Each year, we put a substantial portion of our capital improvement expenses towards lift maintenance. It’s usually the more behind-the-scenes stuff, so even though you’re not seeing a shiny new lift, many of the parts are brand new. For instance, the South Ridge Express is getting a new drive this summer, but that’s only one of many projects going on right now.

  • […] well on your way to enjoying all that Sunday River has to offer in the fall. Still waiting for the snowguns to power on? We have six reasons for you to get up here to put a smiling face on your season […]

  • […] us an immediate 15% increase in water capacity for the upcoming season and is the first phase of doubling our snowmaking capacity with future […]

  • […] This morning at Sunday River, snowmakers took to the slopes firing up 124 guns on T2, Jim’s Whim, and all of Sunday Punch. They will continue to make snow for as long as possible as temps allow. “Our plans are the same as they are every year — we’ll open as early as we possibly can!” says Sunday River’s Mountain Report. Snowmaking this year is 15% greater than previous years thanks to the new river pipeline. […]

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