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Snowmaking Arms Race 2013: Race heats up as temperatures cool down

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Colorado received its first snowfall of the season on September 23, 2013. Some places like Loveland Ski Area received 6 inches. This means that the annual snowmaking arms race is about to begin.

Typically, Loveland Ski Area and Arapahoe Basin, both in Colorado, try to duke it out in friendly competition to be the first ski area to open for the 2013-2014 season in North America. This way they can claim marketing bragging rights the entire year! One year Wolf Creek in Southwestern Colorado beat them to the finish line due to a tremendous amount of natural snow. Last year, a mid-western snow storm enabled Minnesota's Wild Mountain to open October 6th, 2012.

How do ski areas make snow? Making snow is both a science and an art at ski areas these days. There is a tremendous amount of technology behind it. Compressed air and water are shot through a gun or a fan and when the mixture hits the ambient air temperature, it crystallizes and falls to the ground as artificial flakes. Low humidity and low temperatures are necessary for making snow. Typically, resorts will make snow when the temperature is 28 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.

Who will win the snowmaking arms race this year and claim the title of first resort open in North America? Stay tuned as temperatures drop and conditions are ripe for making snow.



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