Great discussion. I have been thinking about this a lot this year. I wanted to share some of my thoughts and experiences with the addition of snow making, (which doesn't seem probable based on the cost and fact that there is not a solid water supply).
Costs: Snow Making if it were successfully installed would increase prices at MRG. BIG TIME. It makes me wonder what, if anything would keep customers coming back to MRG with man made snow and ticket costs just like our neighbors?
Grooming:Also, in looking at the spreadsheet regarding costs, I would like to point out the added grooming costs on tab 3. It may be opbvious to some, but I point it out because a lot of folks may not know that when you make snow, you MUST push it into place and groom it once its made (same night), or else it freezes into hard whale-backs. The guns may make it, but they dont always put it on the trail evenly like mother nature does. I know this because I spent a season (when I was much younger) working for Killington on their snow making crew.
Ski it if you can:Another consideration which may be obvious, but not well understood, is ski areas with man made snow have trails with significantly higher snow depths on the trails than the adjacent woods, and in many areas where we all take for granted that a simple turn "off piste" into the woods where the trail snow height and woods snow height are basically the same; with snowmaking we would no longer have that natural feel from piste to off piste - instead it would be a big drop in over frozen snow blobs on the edge of the trail from the groomer, it may not be a big deal to anyone, but it would not be MRG to me ...these are things I think of when snowmaking at MRG is brought up.
Some other peoples research: I haven't downloaded this white paper, but the abstract is very telling. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ar ... 7712001367
Some recent anecdotes suggest that operators with snowmaking are already feeling the pinch of warmer night time temps than in the recent past, making the guarantee of nighttime snow making not as high as it used to be. Ever skied a trail with snow guns ablaze? It sux. It seems that there would be many periods in the future where a snow making investment was made (ie man made snow is blown up on the hill) only to see it melt away less than a week later - putting a big loss on the books. This is my biggest concern...