Making Winter Happen

Behind the Scenes at Cranmore Mountain Resort
Snow guns below chairlift

For Mt. Washington Valley folk, the itching for winter creeps in long before December kicks off. This yearning also undeniably reverberates across Cranmore, because we live for this stuff.

It’s why our ski patrollers, groomers and snowmakers work so hard because they are just as eager for days on the hill. Our staff isn’t just mountain ops or guest services—they’re innovators, creatives and field researchers, all working to make winter happen.

And if stick season lingers a little too long in the early season, they are ready to rise to the challenge of mimicking Mother Nature and getting us the best conditions possible. Here’s some of the work that entails.

Start with the Big Guns

Today, snowmaking isn’t just a helpful boost for resorts, it's essential. Cranmore is one of few resorts in the East that has 100% snowmaking coverage. We’ve upgraded our water pipes and added 500 energy-efficient snow guns, increasing production by 25% and cutting electric use in half!

Of course, this development is less meaningful if the temperatures aren’t cooperating—this is where our snowmaking team gets innovative. Think of them like a football team. When the weather isn’t ideal, their defensive line springs into action with a strategy to preserve the snow, and grooming has a lot to do with this.

Snow guns at night

Snow Grooming

An early day on the mountain conjures visions of rolling banks of corduroy and the satisfying sound of carving into it with your edges. But when temps are high or there’s a possibility of rain, grooming can be disastrous. Wet snow clumps together and ices over when it’s pushed around and groomed. It’ll last longer and ski better if our snowmakers can build it up, and let it drain.

A typical day for our groomers starts at midnight, giving them the biggest window to groom each skiable acre at just the right time. Groomers aren’t just smoothing the snow, they’re filling drainage ditches and gullies and covering rocks. Luckily, Cranmore added the PistenBully 600 E+ to their fleet, the first electric-diesel snowcat at a resort in New England. The 600 E+ decreases Cranmore’s carbon footprint and fuel consumption by 20%!

Freshly groomed snow

Who’s Behind the Curtain?

Creating the best possible on-mountain experience is a full-time job for the rest of mountain operations as well. You’ll find the parks crew and ski patrol on the hill long before first chair.

The parks crew are tasked with ensuring guest safety by setting up signs and fences and spray painting the lips of takeoffs. Ski patrol starts their morning with a sweep down the trails, a final check for any anomalies before the resort opens.

There are tons of moving parts working together every day at Cranmore to give guests an incredible experience, but the crew wouldn’t accept anything less.

“The best part about working in mountain operations is being able to give people a great experience or make memories with their families,” said Cranmore’s Director of Mountain Operations Brantly Ludington.

Help us thank our mountain ops team! Next time you visit Cranmore, tag @cranmoremountain in your post and #thankasnowmaker, groomer, ski patroller or any of our Cranmore crew!

Groomer under chairlift sunny day
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