Spreading the Joy

By Geoff Lee

January 12, 2016 11:16 AM

Ray Tatro, president of Mount Joy Snow Resort, points to new weld patches on the floor of a 5,000 barrel water tank that will be used for one more season of snowmaking. A new reservoir will be dug in the spring.

Ski hill opens to plenty of snow

Mount Joy Snow Resort opened its 50th year of ski operations on the weekend with half-rates for lifts and rentals and about half-a-hill’s worth of man-made snow to boot.
“It’s good snow and it’s groomed well at the bottom” said resort president Ray Tatro.
“At least those people who got a new snowboard or skis for Christmas — or they’ve got them under the steps at home — can finally get them out.”
A late snowfall last week provided some coverage to the whole hill prompting Tatro to hedge his bets about what runs would be initially open to kick off the season.
“We’re optimistic and we’re grooming today and tomorrow — I’ve got this idea that perhaps we may be able the whole north side of the hill to the top,” he said in a phone interview last Thursday.
“We need to see how this snow compacts and stuff.”
The white stuff was just what the doctor ordered as Tatro’s response to being asked how he was feeling about the historic season opener was “Good, hey we’ve got snow man.”
Mount Joy will operate Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m for the season, weather depending.
“We’re only 20 minutes from town and the rates at very attractive,” said Tatro.
He noted the full service chalet would be serving hot meals for the season.
Tatro said the resort is planning to mark its 50 years of skiing probably in the last part of February.
They want to make sure the whole hill is open first before throwing a party.
Snow coverage is not likely to be a big issue starting next year when a new 20-by- 60 metre reservoir is dug to hold more that one million gallons of water for snow making.
Water pipes will eventually extend to the top of the hill to provide snow-making from the top down as part of a $250,000 development project.
“Until we get that water to the top we can’t make snow up there,” said Tatro, who’s leading the multi-year project.
Tatro said everything is in place for the earthworks that will start when the frost is out of the ground this spring.
“By next fall I’m 98 per cent sure it will be in place, but who knows,” he said.
Crews welded 27 patches to an existing 5,000 barrel water tank at the base of the hill in December to hold water for making snow on the Strawberry tow rope beginners run.
“We’ve got more snow than we’ve ever had at the bottom,” said Tatro.
He estimated it’s four- to five-ft deep in parts and crews have been spreading it out.
“So the rope tow is all good and that’s why we’re running half rates,” he explained for the opening weekend.
“That’s the only thing we can guarantee at this time.”

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