The Lennox Family, Weston Vermont
Below is our snowmaking story for this year’s competition. Unlike many of the people who have entered the competition who are from southern states, thus making snow is to allow for fun where snow may not normally fall or last long, our story is different. We live in Vermont, and we are showing how even in a northern climate, that home snowmaking allows for a very long season of backyard fun.
The Endless Winter
We live in Vermont where one would think that home snowmaking is unnecessary. However, our yard has a direct southern exposure that can eat away snow on sunny days. Furthermore, the home snowmaking has allowed for a very long sliding season – longer than at the ski areas we live near. We started home snowmaking last year, but started with a snow gun from another company. Not particularly happy with the performance, we upgraded to a SG6 SNOWatHOME snowmaker. The improvement in snow quality and quantity was tremendous!
Our system is based on a remote air compressor in our garage, and plumbed to a quick disconnect at an exterior wall. The electric pressure washer is located in the basement space just inside where the exterior connections are located. This can be seen in some of our photos. We have two 50-foot lengths of bundled air and pressure water hose contained in foam pipe wrap, taped at each joint. This method of strapping the air and water lines together inside pipe wrap was suggested by SNOWatHOME, which solved icing problems we had in the airline we previously had. We just connect the hoses at the disconnects at the wall, connect the hose to the snowmaker, and we easily move the snowmaker to where we want it.
In the fall of 2008, we started making snow the evening of October 18 and played on it on October 19, a full month before when most ski areas opened and an even longer period of time before we received any natural snow. As we write our story on April 24, we still have some snow left. The ski areas closed a couple of weeks ago, and we are still going. Just last weekend we had a marathon rail jam in our yard. That is a 6-month season of snow play in our yard! But, we humans were not the only ones who took advantage of the snowmaking. Our dog, Bode, had an absolute ball catching snowballs, as you will see in our photographs. Also to note, we were even able to take our snowmobile on the large amount of snow we had made in mid-November, almost a month before any of the snowmobile trails opened up. We had previously built several terrain features, including box rails, single and double barrel rails, flat rails, sea-saw rail, trap box and more. In the photos you will see start ramps made from several feet of snowmaking snow.
In the fall, the photos show good-sized strips of snow with terrain features. By mid winter, the snow is thick and hard to tell where the natural versus snowmaking snow is. By spring, however, the photos clearly show the extensive area where the deep snowmaking snow is all that is left. It should also be noted that snowmaking snow is much more durable thus longer lasting than natural snow, due to the finer texture and higher density. The snow quality on cold nights is wonderful – very soft and dry, as good as or better than at the ski areas. You will also see a couple of photos with an innovative snow preservation method. In the fall and spring, we would cover the snow with rolled aluminum-faced duct insulation. Between the aluminum layers is a thin layer of bubble wrap; this insulation was purchased at Home Depot. In the fall, we only lost a little of the snow we made during a full week of warm weather. Likewise, this spring, we have extended the season by at least 2 or 3 weeks due to the insulation use. It does need to be weighted down, as it will easily blow around.
Enjoy our photos! We selected a series from the first days in October (2 months before the official start of winter), to our final days in April (at least a month after the official end of winter). Now that is an endless winter! Thank you SNOWatHOME!
Missed the Contest?
If you did not get your photos and stories together in time for this year, be sure and put them aside for next years contest.