b'the day starts early on the mountain with grooming the upper slopesthe inside story behind windham mountain snow - continued from page 45 -Windhams management has devoted the bulk of capitalIts not uncommon to hear the term artificial snow wheninvestment over the past few years to improving the quality anddescribing the snow made at ski resorts. That conjures up a quantity of snow that it makes. This is a story about how thatsense that ski areas are manufacturing some sort of chemical investment has transformed Windham into an industry leader inor plastic compound to cover the slopes. Manmade or ma-producing the finest snow surfaces for skiers and snowboarders. chine-made snow are more accurate descriptions because it is Snowmaking and grooming at the ski area are led by Ted Davis,just like Mother Natures version: a form of frozen water. Natural Windhams Director of Mountain Operations, who has been atsnow has the advantage of falling thousands of feet from clouds the resort for 45 years. His longevity and experience cover a where the frozen water droplets can form the delicate six-sided period that has seen major technological advances in flakes that can be ultralight. Manmade snow that is shot out of snowmaking and grooming; he also knows every detail of stick or fan guns falls 100 feet or less in the air and consists of Windhams topography and the challenges it brings. Davis andthe equivalent of the center of a natural snowflake. It is more his team have overseen the evolution and transformation of thecrystalline in texture and many skiers and riders prefer it to snowmaking and grooming infrastructure into a state-of-the-artnatural powder. Longer stick guns have been added over the system that can produce quality snow much faster and morelast several years to allow for more hang time. In many ways, efficiently than ever before. machine-made snow holds up better through thaw and freeze The reality is that snow is the most important part of a ski cycles as it is more dense and contains fewer delicate crystals.resorts operations because without it, there is no skiing orThe machine-made snow that you experience on the slopes is snowboarding. And even if there is plenty of it, it must be made with water and compressed air. The combination is forced manipulated to make for an enjoyable experience. To up slopes in pipes and shot through the nozzles of stick gunsunderstand modern snowmaking and grooming technology or snow cannons under very high pressure, basically atomizing and the advanced techniques behind it, lets cover some basicsthe water droplets so they freeze quickly in cold air.about the process while also getting a historical perspective Temperature is only one element to making manmade snow.on the evolution. The other is humidity. Snow makers use a measurement called continued on page 49windhammountain.com800-754-9463 47'