Tamarack Resort is not waiting around for the next big snow storm. Despite sunny, blue skies, it got a jump on building its base today. With colder temperatures sweeping the state, resort operators decided the ground is cold enough to get some snow to stick. According to a news release from the resort, nine snow guns were fired up, using 45 gallons of water per minute per gun—that's almost 25,000 gallons per hour, running 12 hours straight. We're talking nearly 300,000 gallons of water used to start coating the ground.
In order to cover some 100 acres with man-made snow all season long, it will take 25 to 35 million gallons of water. But Tamarack's "snow maker," Brian Amundson, said the snowmaking is considered a non-consumptive use of water because very little is lost to evaporation and most of it will melt to replenish rivers, lakes and aquifers.
“It’s a tremendous asset because it gives us a high level of certainty about being able to open and deliver a great skiing experience throughout the season. We’ve never missed a scheduled opening date at Tamarack,” said Amundson, who's been with Tamarack for a decade. The resort expects to open mid-December. After wading through six years of foreclosure, the resort was bought at auction
for $80 million. It will operate seven days a week this season for the first time since 2008.
Snowmaking is a godsend for ski resorts across the country, battling warmer, shorter winters. David Byrd, with the National Ski Areas Association, told Boise Weekly
in this week's issue that resorts are relying on snowmaking to "supplement Mother Nature." It allows resorts to open on time with considerable coverage.
"Oh yeah, there's a huge concern," he said. "A huge concern about climate change."
Not all resorts can rely on snowmaking though—such as Bogus Basin.
Our local hill doesn't have access to the water to allow for significant snowmaking, unlike Tamarack, Sun Valley and Schweitzer Mountain. To read more about issues facing Southwest Idaho ski resorts, click here