Winter Recreation

Thanks to an unseasonably cold October, 2 Idaho ski areas have started snowmaking

Some leaves in the Treasure Valley haven’t yet finished changing color, but in the mountains snow is already falling — with the help of some technology.

Tamarack Resort began snowmaking at its Donnelly ski area on Wednesday. In an email, general manager Brad Larsen said there were as many as seven snow guns operating at once, converting up to 350 gallons of water per minute into snow.

Tamarack has had snowmaking technology since 2004. Larsen said warmer temperatures over the weekend will force the resort to put its operations on hold, but he said Tamarack will continue to make snow throughout the ski season as temperatures allow.

Bogus Basin starts snowmaking early

Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area announced on Monday that it began snowmaking operations over the weekend, firing up all 24 of its fan guns to blow snow on the Upper and Lower Ridge areas near the Deerpoint Chairlift.

“Colder temperatures allowed us to start making snow earlier than expected,” said Bogus Basin’s general manager Brad Wilson in a news release. “We are excited about being ahead of where we thought we’d be at this time.”

Officials at the Boise-area mountain said they would continue snowmaking throughout the week as a cold front plunges temperatures into the 30s and 40s during the day and the mid-teens overnight.

According to the news release, Bogus officials used nearly half a million gallons of water over the weekend to blow snow onto the slopes. This week they plan to add snow to the base of the mountain and the tubing hill, according to Nate Shake, director of mountain operations.

It’s Bogus’ second season using the snowmaking equipment, which it installed in the summer of 2018. The system draws from a reservoir located on the southern end of Bogus Basin’s property that can hold more than 13 million gallons of water. It’s the first season Bogus has been able to draw on a full pond.

Officials said the snowmaking could help speed the start of the 2019-20 ski season. Bogus’ tentative opening date is Dec. 7, but “the date will be moved up if a combination of manmade and natural snow allows,” the release said.

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Nicole Blanchard is the Idaho Statesman’s outdoors reporter. She grew up in Idaho, graduated from Idaho State University and Northwestern University and frequents the trails around Boise as much as she can.