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.

<>

<>

Visit The Homestead Website >>>>

<>

The Homestead On Facebook

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

<>

Wednesday November 14th, 2018 - 4:34 pm

The Homestead

What’s giving you the warm fuzzies this holiday season? ... See MoreSee Less

What’s giving you the warm fuzzies this holiday season?

 

Comment on Facebook

So so thankful ❤❤❤

Nice! Someone deserves a burger and a beer at Art’s tonight 👏

Indeed! "God bless everyone!"

Monday November 12th, 2018 - 12:15 pm

The Homestead

Food always tastes better when enjoyed outside. Join us at the brand new Cavanaugh’s for made-to-order pizza. ... See MoreSee Less

Food always tastes better when enjoyed outside. Join us at the brand new Cavanaugh’s for made-to-order pizza.

 

Comment on Facebook

Seems like it would be cold out there this time of year?

Ready in 60 minutes!

Love! Love Cavanaughs !!!😘👍

Best pizza!!!

Love it too!♥️

Jeff Elder

+ View previous comments

Friday November 9th, 2018 - 8:09 am

The Homestead

The early bird gets the lift ticket! Every day now until Thanksgiving, we’ll have 3 1-day adult lift tickets available for just $11. First come, first served. Buy now at bit.ly/Ski_Passes No promo code needed. ... See MoreSee Less

The early bird gets the lift ticket! Every day now until Thanksgiving, we’ll have 3 1-day adult lift tickets available for just $11. First come, first served. Buy now at http://bit.ly/Ski_Passes No promo code needed.

 

Comment on Facebook

We love the Homestead! Send us brochures for our customers!!

Beautiful

Do you choose a certain day and buy a ticket for that day or can you buy a one day lift ticket to be used whenever?

Today on the slopes. Are you really opening?

Wednesday November 7th, 2018 - 2:07 pm

The Homestead

Exploring is always better with a buddy. ... See MoreSee Less

Exploring is always better with a buddy.

 

Comment on Facebook

That’s my baby :))) We love Homestead!

Adorable!

Everyday an adventure! 😛

Cute

Yes it is

So Cute!

Cute

He's cute

He is so adorable!!

What a cutie! Always smiling and brightening our day!

Srce malo nasmijano voliga tetka❤️❤️❤️

+ View previous comments

Load more

<>

Visit The Homestead Website >>>>

<>

Upcoming Events at The Homestead

No upcoming events

Load more

<>

Visit The Homestead Website >>>>

<>

Michigan Ski Blog - Skiing and Snowboarding in Michigan - produced by Ski Michigan.