Grooming and Snow Making
Craigleith can begin to make snow at -2⁰C. At colder temperatures, the club can make ten times as much, with the ideal temperature being -7⁰C or colder. However, when the club needs snow, especially early in the season, they will try to make snow at almost any temperature. Factors to consider when making snow is the short and long-range forecast especially with respect to temperature (rising or falling), wind direction, humidity level, and the condition of the current base (first base layer or second skiing layer of
snow). The snow made under marginal conditions is generally of poorer quality, and this is usually only done very early in the season before all of our trails are open or if the forecast is unfavourable. The snowmaking system is substantially automated. Craigleith’s decision of when to make snow, and how to make snow, is based on their expertise. The snowmaking itself is substantially automated. Most snowmaking systems on the escarpment are manual and may take several hours to get fully up and running. This can be extremely expensive as you often have to start during unfavourable conditions so that you are up and operating when the weather turns colder. Craigleith has the advantage that our snowmaking system can be fully operational in 10-15 minutes. This allows us to wait through the unfavourable, marginal conditions and then with the click of a
mouse switch everything on when it is favourable. Although the club did not have snowmaking until 1981, the club now investing over $1,000,000 each year for the past couple of years and is arguably the most sophisticated and efficient system on the escarpment.
Craigleith’s first mechanical-motioned groomer was in January of 1963. During that time the groomers used chains, rollers and even sharp discs to flatten and smooth out the snow each of the runs. Now the clubs as six groomers, two for the six groomers have winches. The winch is used on very steep hills when the snow is loosely packed to keep the groomer from slipping. The winch is a cable that attaches to a pole at the top of the hill to give the groomer extra support and extra power to get back up the run. Each new groomer with no special attachments like the winch costs about $500,000. Also, now using GPS tracking the groomer driver can see how deep the snow is in a given spot on the hill. Thus
meaning that they can see where they need to make more snow or fill in any holes. Below is a picture with the GPS tracked runs of the club after a night of grooming showing the depth of the snow.