The snow machines are back up and running for the 2023/24 ski season at Nitehawk Adventure Park.
According to Nitehawk General Manager Johnathan Clarkson, the machines are currently operating in full swing, pumping out 600 to 800 gallons of snow every minute, or around 1 million gallons per day. He says machines will continue to operate as long as conditions stay the same.
“The temperatures are holding right now are holding well,” he says. “We’ll need about a week of straight snowmaking to get any of the runs open.”
Clarkson adds that currently, the park is targeting the weekend of December 9th and 10th to hold a “soft opening,” with potential lanes in the Aquatera Tube Zone and some ski trails opening up.
“Our crews have been ready and waiting and our equipment is all ready to go so when we do get the temperatures like we’re seeing right now, we’re able to start the snowmaking system.”
“We are talking about maybe even spreading our snow a little bit thinner just so we can get the slopes open sooner.”
Clarkson says the slopes need around five days of consistent snow making to open the park fully. He says temperatures are also a key factor, as machines need conditions to sit around -2.8°C and around -6°C for optimal efficiency.
“It roughly takes about an hour and a half to start up and the same thing to shut down so we try to look at getting multiple days of snowmaking in a row in order to make snow and then obviously if mother nature cooperates we should be right on target.”
If mother nature decides not to cooperate, Clarkson says Nitehawk is confident in their man-made snow holding up, as chinooks and warm temperatures are normal throughout the season.
“The nice thing about man-made snow is it’s still a snowflake but it’s a more condensed snowflake so it’s not as fragile as a natural snowflake would be, so we see our man-made snow stand up better in warming trends during the winter season.”
Clarkson adds that the later opening is not unusual based on historic temperatures in the past 10 years. He says the park typically opens in late November, so a mid-December opening is not as late as it may seem.