Snowmaking has begun at Bristol Mountain, but still awaiting for opening day

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Ski resorts like Bristol Mountain typically try to open around Thanksgiving every year, but the lack of real snow on the ground and the prolonged warmth has made things a bit difficult to officially open the slopes this season. I went down to Bristol Mountain this afternoon to see their progress.   

Now that Meteorological winter has begun on December 1st, that means winter is just around the corner and places like Bristol Mountain are gearing up for the upcoming season ahead. The careful process of snowmaking has started for ski resorts like Bristol Mountain as the weather gets colder and temperatures continue to drop. And naturally this time of year, the staff and guests of Bristol Mountain are getting excited to get out on the slopes again. 

“Temperatures as they drop we’ll continue to make snow to get ready for opening day. We don’t have a date opening projected right now. It’s really going to be based on temperatures, so as soon as the weather drops and we can get enough snow on the mountain we’re gonna get open and get everyone on the slopes this winter.”

Vice President of Bristol Mountain Steven Fuller says getting the snow to stick on the mountain has been a bit trickier so far this year with temperatures still so marginal and fluctuating between above and below freezing, and typically saves the snow making for the evenings when things cool down.

“This time of year we’ve had a few of those nights, not enough yet but we’re excited for this weekend looks like we might have a couple of nights here and potentially next week as well. 

When making snow for the slopes Steven looks for ambient, or air temperatures to be in or around the mid 20s, but it’s the wet bulb temperature that’s most important because it takes into account the “cooling effect” that the humidity in the air allows for. The colder and drier the air is, the better the conditions are for snowmaking.

Image courtesy: bridgerskifoundation.org

As we get to the top of the mountain we can have a 6 to 8 degree temperature difference for the base and that 6 to 8 degrees makes all the difference when we’re making snow… some of the snow that we made has already melted at this point, so we’re looking forward to colder temperatures to be able to make all those little white patches one nice, white strip.”

Once the temperatures stay cold enough and the snow becomes plentiful from top to bottom of the mountain, the slopes will be ready for action.

Steven says, “…whether you’ve been skiing a bunch or snowboarding a bunch or it’s just your first time, it’s such a great activity to do outdoors with friends and family.” 

Newer additions to the resort include a new outdoor eating facility, a new trail, and a new “experience and learning center” for beginning and novice guests. Access gates with new RIFD technology have been added as well for easier lift ticketing to and from the slopes.

~Meteorologist Christine Gregory

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