Like a snow goose paddling gracefully across a pond the world doesn’t notice those hidden legs hammering away to make headway against the current and nor do they notice the snowmakers of ski resorts. They are the invisible engines of our snowy fun.
Adam Carboni’s and Tansy Michaud’s short documentary on the Snowfarmers at the Plattekill Mountain in the Catskills, one of New York’s last remaining family-owned ski resorts explores the challenges of the small snow fields.
Up and about before the dawn clearing car parks, warming up lifts, removing machinery and removing icicles from snow cannons so that your favourite parks and pistes are up and running upon your majesty’s arrival.
Yet climate change and competition from other higher resorts mean that the priority for many resorts is making snow. Tons of the precious stuff. And it’s not cheap, 15% of US resorts have closed under the weight of a need for the white stuff. The 2016 season saw 75% less snow than expected and every day is a challenge for those who strive to keep it open.
It’s the difference between eating steak and peanut butter and jelly in our business
It takes months to lay down a base if Mother Nature isn’t cooperating and that can cost a resort dearly. ‘It’s the difference between eating steak and peanut butter and jelly in our business’ says mechanical magician and professional snow farmer Macker Davey.
‘You can’t function day after day after day with just natural snow…’ The staff have to be out there 16, 18, 20 hour a day just creating their snow ‘we have to make a crop, nurture a crop… the more you farm the more people will come’
And that’s what it’s all about for these family run resorts, so appreciate the hard work that goes into each crop of snow you get to play with and salute those who farm it.