Crystal Mountain opens early for skiing, snowboarding thanks to snow-making tools

In a typical year, the resort’s machines will make 20 million gallons of snow, and this year they’ve made 8 million so far.

PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — Crystal Mountain just wrapped up the first weekend of the new season, a week earlier than expected.

Communications coordinator Emma Brice said the target opening date is Nov. 25, 2022, but with about two feet of natural snow and their ability to create snow, the resort opened a week early. Season pass holders were able to hit the slopes on Friday November 18th and the resort is now open to the general public.

Initially, only the lower runs are open, but Brice said the upper mountain can open after at least another 20cm of snow falls, which could happen over the next week.

She said the resort is able to open so early because of its ability to generate snow.

In the past five years, the resort has spent approximately $5 million on 40 snow machines capable of blanketing 70 acres of snow.

In a typical year they make 20 million gallons and this year so far they’ve made 8 million.

Brice said they need precise conditions to make snow.

“We need temperatures below 27 degrees, and the colder and drier it is, the more snow we can make,” she said.

She added that her machines are fans rather than weapons, using 25% less energy than weapons.

“A fan has a compressor on board, typically a typical snow gun has a centralized compressor that has ductwork throughout the resort that uses a lot more energy,” Brice said. “So these are much more energy efficient.”

The water they use for the snow is taken from local reservoirs, which then melts and flows straight back to where it came from at the end of the season.

This process, she said, is worth it because it can add months to her season. They can open a week or two earlier, and last year the resort stayed open two months longer than expected.

Visit Crystal Mountain’s website for more information on season and hours of operation. Crystal Mountain opens early for skiing, snowboarding thanks to snow-making tools

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