After taking the first steps towards doubling the resort’s snowmaking capacity this summer, Sunday River completed its annual fall systems test starting at 6:15 a.m. The Maine resort typically opens for skiing and snowboarding on or around Halloween, and this morning’s cold temperatures provided the perfect opportunity to put the new equipment to the test on the Lower Downdraft trail.
Sunday River recently completed a project to replace the two-mile-long river pipeline that runs from its namesake river to the snowmaking pump house at Barker Mountain with a new high-pressure ductile iron pipe, as well as add a new 600-horsepower pump. These investments have provided the resort with an immediate 15 percent increase in water capacity for making snow. With future upgrades to the on-mountain infrastructure, Sunday River will be able to double its snowmaking capacity.
Although the resort has not yet set an official opening date, this test gives Sunday River’s snowmakers the go-ahead to crank the system at full capacity—9,000 gallons of water and 60,000 cubic feet of air per minute, producing four acre-feet per hour—at the first sustained cold snap with temperatures between 25-30 degrees overnight.
“After a summer of hard work to enhance our snowmaking system, we’ve finally reached the unofficial start to winter. Just give us a stretch of cold weather, and ski season will be here,” says Will Bastian, Snowmaking Manager for Sunday River Resort.
Sunday River’s snowmaking system is the most advanced in the East, with a nearly 2,000 snowguns—including HKD Impulse Tower Guns and Boyne Low-E Fan Guns—covering 90 percent of its groomed terrain.