Sunday River inches closer to opening day, fires 80 snowguns during annual test

Posted By: The Ski Channel on October 11, 2010 8:53 am

Between hosting the annual North American Wife Carrying Championships this past weekend, Sunday River was also busy at work preparing for another big event: opening day.

From Oct. 9-10, the Maine ski resort fired off 80 different snowguns during the resort’s annual top to bottom quality-control test. Yesterday, the resort tested 40 Boyne Low-Energy Fan Guns across the slopes located near the South Ridge Base Lodge, and Saturday’s morning tests worked the tower guns on the highest elevations of Locke Mountain.

Photo: Fall foliage and snowmaking – What else do you need? Credit: Sunday River Ski Resort

The past three years, Sunday River has been the first resort on the East Coast to open, thanks to a series of quality-control tests similar to the ones conducted this weekend.

“When you’ve been the first resort to open year after year, you’re automatically held to higher standards,” VP of Mountain Operations Brent Larson says. “Each year we have everything in order by September 15, which may seem early to most, but that’s because most resort’s don’t operate at our level of snowmaking or have the ability to make snow on days like this.”

Prior to this weekend, Sunday River checked for water pressure efficiencies across three mountain peaks. All hoses and hydrants have also been observed to ensure effectiveness so that once colder temperatures set in for the duration of winter Sunday River can begin to make snow on Locke Mountain, the resort’s first peak to open the past three years, and push to open for the 2010-11 season.

Sunday River opened last winter on October 14, 2010 – its earliest opening in over a decade. Thanks to last year’s early-season snowmaking efforts, the resort also celebrated the longest season in the east and its longest season ever, staying open six months and six days.

This weekend’s snowmaking test falls during the resort’s annual Fall Festival Weekend and serves as a reminder to guests that winter is approaching. This timely display also serves to remind skiers and riders that the resort’s pre-season pass sale officially ends today, Monday, October 11, 2010. Don’t delay and make your pass purchase today for the lowest rates of the year.

Sunday River’s opening day for the 2010/2011 season is weather dependant and slated at this time for mid-November.

Larson adds, “Of course, if we can start the winter off any earlier we will. We’re just waiting on Mother Nature for a helping hand.”