Michigan Ski Blog – Skiing and Snowboarding in Michigan

Snowmaking at The Homestead – February Cold Blast Means Great Ski Conditions

How many gallons of water does it take to cover all the runs at The Homestead with machine-made snow? What’s the perfect combination of conditions for snowmaking? We caught up with The Homestead’s master snowmaker, Steve Sanborn, for these answers and more. Read on.

When most people think of Northern Michigan in winter, they naturally think of snow—deep, deep snow. So it may come as a surprise to learn that The Homestead has any snowmaking machines at all.

But the resort’s coastal location provides some unique challenges where snow is concerned. That’s why, years ago, The Homestead invested in top-of-the-line SMI snowmaking machines to take over when Mother Nature doesn’t exactly cooperate. Steve Sanborn is the man in charge of making those machines hum.

How has this year been on the snowmaking front? Have the snowmaking machines been quiet thanks to all the snow we’ve been having?

On the contrary, we have been quite busy. The resort’s grooming staff does an excellent job in presenting runs in a way that most skiers have no idea they are skiing over a golf course. Filling in the sand traps with snow, smoothing out the bunkers—contouring winter ski runs over land that is used as a golf course for the rest of the year requires a significant amount of snow.

How many snowmaking machines do you have? What are the ideal conditions for making snow?

We have five stationary tower guns and fourteen traditional snow guns—the barrel-shaped kind that we can move throughout the ski area. We also have twelve snow-sticks that are used for narrower runs. But none of it works without the right conditions. Basically, what you’re looking for are temperatures in the mid-teens, low humidity and minimal wind.

What are some of the unique challenges of making snow at a place like The Homestead?

Two major challenges being right next to Lake Michigan are the water and the wind. Water acts as an insulator at this time of year (until it freezes). Typically, air temperatures here at the resort are 5- to 10-degrees warmer than areas just a few more miles inland. As for the wind, the almost constantly blowing wind coming off Lake Michigan makes it difficult to keep snow on the North Face of the ski hill.

Where does the water for the snowmaking machines come from at The Homestead?

It takes approximately 12-million gallons of snow to cover all of our ski runs. We’re lucky to have a river flowing right through the property—the Crystal River, which is our primary water source. Wells at The Homestead also provide water. We take the water out, transform it into snow, and—when it all melts in the spring—the water goes right back where it came from.

What are some of the conservation measures The Homestead takes to making more efficient?

The SMI snowmaking machines we use at The Homestead are really topnotch. They’re all designed to maximize efficiency, specifically when it comes to conserving electricity used in the snowmaking process.

Any memorable tales from the snowmaking trenches?

Looking back over the years, one incident that remains most memorable is the time that our snowmaking team returned from the booster pump house on a routine operations check to find the snowmobile they road in on entirely engulfed in flames. The apparent cause was an electrical wire short, and the team brought things under control quickly; however, we were reminded that a seemingly “tame” job like snowmaking, definitely presents its own challenges to snowmakers.

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The Homestead On Facebook

Below are the latest postings from the The Homestead Page On Facebook.

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Tuesday August 15th, 2017 - 4:06 pm

The Homestead

Tonight's guests: a family of turkey...checking in to Fiddler's Pond. ... See MoreSee Less

Tonights guests: a family of turkey...checking in to Fiddlers Pond.

Comment on Facebook

Rent-free, I bet😁

Brittney Bennett Davidson, Joanne Witucki Davidson, Rick Davidson right by our room!

Leah Moore is this the real reason Anthony Camparone liked this place??

We saw them on the golf course in the back of our house!

Monday August 14th, 2017 - 12:09 pm

The Homestead

Please join us for our last Music on the Mountain concert for the 2017 season. We're pleased to feature Jazz North with music so energetic and inspiring...you'll have a hard time sitting still.

Music on the Mountain Concert - Jazz NorthAug 17, 7:00pmThe HomesteadThe music and energy will be so inspiring you’ll have a hard time sitting still. Jazz North is a “little” big band combining the best acoustic and electric jamz for all genres.

The horn section gels with the rhythm section to perform everything from funk to swing to rhythm and blues. You’ll also hear some Latin, bebop, and rock. This seven piece band also throws in plenty of fresh original arrangements for a mix that’s delightful for listening and dancing! The experienced core musicians have played together for many years, creating a tight musical camaraderie that demonstrates their love for music and inspiring anyone with a toe to tap.

The concert begins at 7pm. Transportation via chair lift or six-passenger golf cart begins at 6pm. Cash bar and snacks are available for purchase. Coolers are not permitted.
In the event of inclement weather, the concert will be held in Mountain Flowers Lodge.

Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door.

To purchase tickets, call 231.334.5100 or visit mynorthtickets.com
... See MoreSee Less

Music on the Mountain Concert - Jazz North

Monday August 14th, 2017 - 11:53 am

The Homestead

It's a calm day in Sleeping Bear Bay...great day to kayak, SUP or just plain enjoy! ... See MoreSee Less

Its a calm day in Sleeping Bear Bay...great day to kayak, SUP or just plain enjoy!

Comment on Facebook

Just two more weeks and I'll be BACK!!

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Upcoming Events at The Homestead

Music on the Mountain Concert - Jazz North

Music on the Mountain Concert - Jazz North

Aug 17, 7:00pm - Aug 17, 9:00pm

The Homestead
1 Woodridge Rd
Glen Arbor, MI  49636 Map

The music and energy will be so inspiring you’ll have a hard time sitting still. Jazz North is a “little” big band combining the best acoustic and electric jamz for all genres.

The horn section gels with the rhythm section to perform everything from funk to swing to rhythm and blues. You’ll also hear some Latin, bebop, and rock. This seven piece band also throws in plenty of fresh original arrangements for a mix that’s delightful for listening and dancing! The experienced core musicians have played together for many years, creating a tight musical camaraderie that demonstrates their love for music and inspiring anyone with a toe to tap.

The concert begins at 7pm. Transportation via chair lift or six-passenger golf cart begins at 6pm. Cash bar and snacks are available for purchase. Coolers are not permitted.
In the event of inclement weather, the concert will be held in Mountain Flowers Lodge.

Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door.

To purchase tickets, call 231.334.5100 or visit mynorthtickets.com
... See MoreSee Less

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