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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Wednesday June 21st, 2017 - 5:02 pm

The Homestead

Summer Solstice...How are you enjoying it? Here are some snapshots from guests enjoying the longest day of the year at The Homestead! ... See MoreSee Less

Summer Solstice...How are you enjoying it?  Here are some snapshots from guests enjoying the longest day of the year at The Homestead!

Comment on Facebook

Heading there tomorrow for our 2nd anniversary (got married there)...can't wait!

Magical Place !

Beautiful!!!

Kandy Jenio this place is pretty awesome up north

Can you stay right there at the main Homestead?

Gorgeous!!

I'm here NOW and loving it!!!❤️

Liana Schlissel

John Breck

+ View previous comments

Wednesday June 21st, 2017 - 8:45 am

The Homestead

Our 2017 Music on the Mountain series begins Thursday, June 22nd with Blackthorn. Advance tickets only $15. Enjoy chairlift ride to top of mountain, cash bar, fabulous music and stunning views of Sleeping Bear Bay.

Music on the Mountain - BlackthornJun 22, 7:00pmThe HomesteadTraditional songs of emigration, sea shanties, lively jigs and reels, and ancient airs combine with some of Ireland’s best contemporary songs for a musical experience that captures the history and legend of Ireland and its people.

What makes a Blackthorn show unique is the variety of tunes, tempos and textures. Each member of the band plays multiple instruments, including wooden flute, accordion, tin whistle, five string banjo, cittern, bones and more. These instruments complement the lead vocal of Belfast native Richard McMullan and the band’s tight blend of four part harmony.

Blackthorn has played throughout the Great Lakes region since 1984. Based in Detroit, they can be found regularly at O’Mara’s Pub and Restaurant in Berkley. Other venues include concert halls, universities and festivals, including main stage appearances at the prestigious Michigan Irish Festival and world renowned Milwaukee Irish Fest.

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.
... See MoreSee Less

Music on the Mountain - Blackthorn

Wednesday June 21st, 2017 - 8:33 am

The Homestead

Traditional songs of emigration, sea shanties, lively jigs and reels, and ancient airs combine with some of Ireland’s best contemporary songs for a musical experience that captures the history and legend of Ireland and its people.

What makes a Blackthorn show unique is the variety of tunes, tempos and textures. Each member of the band plays multiple instruments, including wooden flute, accordion, tin whistle, five string banjo, cittern, bones and more. These instruments complement the lead vocal of Belfast native Richard McMullan and the band’s tight blend of four part harmony.

Blackthorn has played throughout the Great Lakes region since 1984. Based in Detroit, they can be found regularly at O’Mara’s Pub and Restaurant in Berkley. Other venues include concert halls, universities and festivals, including main stage appearances at the prestigious Michigan Irish Festival and world renowned Milwaukee Irish Fest.

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.

Music on the Mountain - BlackthornJun 22, 7:00pmThe HomesteadTraditional songs of emigration, sea shanties, lively jigs and reels, and ancient airs combine with some of Ireland’s best contemporary songs for a musical experience that captures the history and legend of Ireland and its people.

What makes a Blackthorn show unique is the variety of tunes, tempos and textures. Each member of the band plays multiple instruments, including wooden flute, accordion, tin whistle, five string banjo, cittern, bones and more. These instruments complement the lead vocal of Belfast native Richard McMullan and the band’s tight blend of four part harmony.

Blackthorn has played throughout the Great Lakes region since 1984. Based in Detroit, they can be found regularly at O’Mara’s Pub and Restaurant in Berkley. Other venues include concert halls, universities and festivals, including main stage appearances at the prestigious Michigan Irish Festival and world renowned Milwaukee Irish Fest.

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.
... See MoreSee Less

Music on the Mountain - Blackthorn

Wednesday June 21st, 2017 - 8:24 am

The Homestead

Bugs Beddow & the Good Stuff supply the best rock & soul music from the last four decades...you know...the Good Stuff! With Bugs on trombone, flute and vocals; Jose Hamilton, a true Motown legend and the tightest back up rhythm section and you have Bugs Beddow and the Good Stuff. From Bruno Mars to Stevie Wonder, Bon Jovi to the Temptations, you'll enjoy the best mix of feel good, toe tapping music there is.

Bugs Beddow & The Good StuffJul 20, 7:00pmThe HomesteadBugs Beddow & the Good Stuff supply the best rock & soul music from the last four decades...you know...the Good Stuff! With Bugs on trombone, flute and vocals; Jose Hamilton, a true Motown legend and the tightest back up rhythm section and you have Bugs Beddow and the Good Stuff. From Bruno Mars to Stevie Wonder, Bon Jovi to the Temptations, you'll enjoy the best mix of feel good, toe tapping music there is.
... See MoreSee Less

Bugs Beddow & The Good Stuff
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Upcoming Events at The Homestead

Music on the Mountain - Blackthorn

Music on the Mountain - Blackthorn

Jun 22, 7:00pm - Jun 22, 9:00pm

The Homestead
1 Woodridge Rd
Glen Arbor, MI  49636 Map

Traditional songs of emigration, sea shanties, lively jigs and reels, and ancient airs combine with some of Ireland’s best contemporary songs for a musical experience that captures the history and legend of Ireland and its people.

What makes a Blackthorn show unique is the variety of tunes, tempos and textures. Each member of the band plays multiple instruments, including wooden flute, accordion, tin whistle, five string banjo, cittern, bones and more. These instruments complement the lead vocal of Belfast native Richard McMullan and the band’s tight blend of four part harmony.

Blackthorn has played throughout the Great Lakes region since 1984. Based in Detroit, they can be found regularly at O’Mara’s Pub and Restaurant in Berkley. Other venues include concert halls, universities and festivals, including main stage appearances at the prestigious Michigan Irish Festival and world renowned Milwaukee Irish Fest.

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.
... See MoreSee Less

2 interested
Bugs Beddow & The Good Stuff

Bugs Beddow & The Good Stuff

Jul 20, 7:00pm - Jul 21, 10:00pm

The Homestead
1 Woodridge Rd
Glen Arbor, MI  49636 Map

Bugs Beddow & the Good Stuff supply the best rock & soul music from the last four decades...you know...the Good Stuff! With Bugs on trombone, flute and vocals; Jose Hamilton, a true Motown legend and the tightest back up rhythm section and you have Bugs Beddow and the Good Stuff. From Bruno Mars to Stevie Wonder, Bon Jovi to the Temptations, you'll enjoy the best mix of feel good, toe tapping music there is.

8 interested
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