Last Monday marked an exciting milestone in the countdown to Winter 2022 at Mt Ruapehu, New Zealand, with the first snowflake falling on Happy Valley a month earlier than in previous years.
The Snow Factory, used exclusively to support snowmaking efforts in Whakapapa’s Happy Valley, is one of its kind in New Zealand. It has the capacity to produce up to 200 cubic meters of snow a day, and as an all-weather system, will continue to run 24/7 in the lead up to winter.
This photo was taken last Monday and the Head of Snowmaking, Pete, estimates the pile is now sitting at about 400 cubic meters. Starting snowmaking efforts early, working in these piles, and utilizing thermal blankets in the coming weeks, will help support snow coverage and protection from weather and warmer temperatures. It’s just some of the Mahi underway to ensure a great opening for Happy Valley come Queen’s Birthday weekend, 61 days from now.
Within three weeks, Pete expects to have a two-meter snow coverage across the sledding area. He will then turn his attention to the rest of Happy Valley to support skiing and riding. As temperatures drop, we will also see the other larger snow guns come into effect and double down on our snow-making efforts.
We look forward to watching this pile grow in the coming weeks and then spread right across the valley of happiness. The countdown begins!