Mount Pakenham is known for great snow and great grooming.
In 2017 we invested $800,000 in upgrading our snowmaking system to the latest technology- increasing our water pumping capacity and purchasing state-of-the-art new Fan guns.
Snowmaking usually allows us to get open every year before Christmas! Man-made snow looks and feels like regular snow but it takes longer to melt in Spring. You don't need snow in your yard to be able to ski at Mount Pakenham!
Mount Pakenham is renowned for being famous for snow!! 100% of our terrain is covered by snowmaking, so as soon as we have cold temperatures, we can have snow all winter long, even if we get no natural snow at all. Making snow is more than just waiting for the weather to be cold enough to fire up the snow guns - there are 6 key elements that need to be in place before we begin to make snow:
- Cold temperatures
- Low humidity
- Compressed air
- Snow guns
- Snowmakers & groomers
First and foremost, we absolutely need cold weather in order to make snow. No equipment arsenal in the world can produce good machine-made snow without it! 0 degrees Celsius is the freezing temperature for water to turn into snow crystals, but ideal snowmaking conditions call for temperatures to be around -5 degrees or lower
Aside from the air temperatures, our snowmaking staff at Mount Pakenham also keeps an especially close eye on the wet bulb. The wet bulb temperature is a combination of the air temperature and the humidity, and is the most critical indicator for snowmaking. In a nutshell, as the temperature and humidity drop, the amount of snow made per hour goes up.
Compressed Air & Water
Water and compressed air is the combination that creates our snow! Our brand-new Hi-tech Fan guns have built-in compressors. A set of snowmaking pipes is used to pump up to 900/gpm of water up the hill. All the water is drawn from our snowmaking pond located in our base area, converted into snow over the winter, and then returned naturally to the water table and pond in the springtime when the snow melts.
The snow gun serves as the mixing chamber for the water and air and can put out a ton of snow in a short period of time. Our goal is to have a good snow base wall-to-wall on all our runs.
Machine made snow is more durable than natural snow, and provides a great snow base here at Mount Pakenham!
So, how much snow can be made in an hour?
At the ideal snowmaking conditions of about -8 degrees Celsius.
- We pump 800 gallons of water per minute through our guns
- Each gallon of water weighs 8.33 lbs
- Multiply the two (gals per min X weight) you get 6,664 lbs of water being turned into snow per minute
- Divide that number by 2000 (# of pounds in a ton) you get 3.33 tons of snow per minute
- Multiply that by 60 (minutes per hour) that's 200 tons of snow per hour!
Snowmakers and Groomers
The final touch in the snowmaking process is our staff! Our snowmakers and groomers are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to be at Mount Pakenham, taking advantage of ideal conditions the moment they arrive.
They work all night to prepare Mount Pakenham for you to enjoy skiing and riding. Even when we don't get to make snow on a certain night, the grooming staff will be hard at work all night to get the slopes looking and feeling like there is a nice fresh coat of snow.
There is a lot that goes into snowmaking here Mount Pakenham, with several departments working together. But the excitement of getting those first runs open makes all our work worthwhile!