Have you wondered how snowmaking works at Blackhawk? The club utilizes (4) portable snow fans and numerous fixed position lance-style snow guns ("sticks"). A high capacity (700 gal/min) vertical turbine water pump draws water from the pond near the bottom of Hill 5 and, along with a pair of rotary screw air compressors, feeds a network of partially buried steel pipes. The snow fans, which produce much more snow than the sticks, have an onboard air compressor and use only water from the piping system.The sticks use both water and air from the system. Connections are made with hoses and flexible pipe, and filters are installed to prevent the fan & stick nozzles from clogging.
Snowmaking can only occur under the right temperature and humidty conditions. Basically, the colder and drier it is, the more snow we can make. Additionally, wind direction & speed impacts fan/stick positioning. And last but not least, we can only make snow as long as we have enough water in the pond! The pond is refilled naturally through groundwater infiltration and supplementally via a 230' deep well.
Our snomaking infrastructure is aging and the system is very labor intensive. The Facilities Committee is currently planning for major improvements to this system. Given recent weather patterns, snowmaking is essential to the future of Blackhawk!
If you have experience with civil or mechanical systems, and would like to offer your help, please email the Facilities Commitee.