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Koteewi Run - Snow Making Process

Snow Making and Grooming

The square green structure at the far corner of the Koteewi Run area is our pump house, and it’s pulling water through roughly a quarter mile of underground pipe from our 20-acre lake (which is where all the dirt for the tubing hill came from!).  We use lake water instead of well water because it’s colder to start with than water pumped from deep below the ground.  The water is pumped to the posts on the far side of the hill, through fire hoses so we can move our target area around as needed, and directly into our Super PoleCat Snow Guns.  The water is blasted through small nozzles in the face of the Snow Gun, and super high-powered fans blow the mist into the air to become our snow.  We make piles initially, and our PistenBully (Sno Cat) groomer then moves it around the hill and carves out the snow tubing lanes.  Our goal is to have 3-4’ of snow on the hill.

Snow making is a moving target that is dependent on temperature and humidity.  We would love to see 16°F and 50% relative humidity, but we can’t dial that combination up and so we take what Mother Nature gives us.  We vary the water and fan pressure in the Snow Guns, constantly adapting to the best snow output we can achieve even with air temperatures slightly above freezing.

Our PistenBully snow groomer spreads our snow piles out around the hill to give us a consistent depth.  Once we have consistent depth, we carve in the snow tube lanes and shape different features that help us provide a safe area.  We’ll also keep fresh natural snow groomed to keep the speed of the hill in what we consider to be the optimal range for the 700’ length of the tubing lanes. 

A final point for grooming the snow… fresh falling snow will slow the speed down on the hill.  Days when we have heavy snow falling can really slow the entire process down.  In extreme cases, we’ll shut down and run the groomer over the hill to pack it down.  Most of the time however, we’ll just have to create the desired speed by running over and over it with the tubes to pack it down.  So on those heavy snow days, relax and enjoy the beauty of Koteewi Park.  We’ll always do our best to make it fun and safe.

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