White topping to cover Mount Joy

By Geoff Lee

December 6, 2016 12:00 AM

Local ski hill will have snow for opening

Ray Tatro is dreaming of a white Christmas.
Tatro is the president of Mount Joy Snow Resort who expects to have a new snowmaking system in place during the holidays to kick off the resort’s 51st year of operations by Jan. 7.
“We’re optimistically feeling we should be making snow to add to the top of the hill by the Dec. 17,” he said, on the final day of November.
“It never goes quite as quick as you’d like to have it go—things are coming together.”
Bandit Energy Services is lined up on Dec. 12 to bore 800 metres of pipe from the resort’s pumping station to bring water to the top of the north area of the main hill.
“They are working on a Husky project right now with the equipment,” said Tatro.
“They are saying they will be ready to move on the site by the 12th.”
The water pipeline boring is expected to take about four or five days including hooking in the risers.
Mount Joy is also working with a company from Edmonton to coordinate the crimping on the various line connections.
“We’re doing it at begging pricing today and all that kind of stuff, so you are a little bit at mercy of people,” said Tatro,  referring to scheduling work.
Tatro reported the lines are in connecting the new one-million gallon water reservoir and a high pressure pump.
“We just need to finish backfilling, we just wanted to make sure we had no leaks or anything before we started backfilling,” he said.
Tatro expected the reservoir to be filled on the weekend.
The snow making system was to have been completed by now, but Tatro said they ran into a few snags.
“We kind of had to rebuild the reservoir once and relocate our suction line,” he said.
“Because the reservoir ended up a little different, we had to get the bladder rebuilt.”
Boring, pulling the lines, doing the connections and installing the risers should complete the work as early as the Dec. 17.
“We’re still wondering: Is this a dream,” said Tatro, about the snowmaking improvements.
“In the future, we’ll plan for doing the south side.”
Mount Joy plans to start making snow soon to cover the beginner bunny hill to make sure the new pumping system from the reservoir will work as planned.
“Our snowmaking director likes to see -10 Celsius and it does make beautiful snow,” said Tatro.
“The equipment will make snow at higher temperatures, but it’s not bigger granules and it’s not as good quality snow.”
The resort began selling its Joy Ski & Snowboarding School packages Friday at the Boardom Snow Skate Life store in Lloydminster.
They also held a garage sale at the resort Saturday and Sunday for a supply of discontinued boots and bindings for snow boards.
The Border City Optimist Club has stepped up with a $2,000 cheque to help sponsor the cost of the ski and snow board school packages.
Ski passes and gift certificates are available now at Mac’s Realty.
Tatro said a lack of volunteers over the Christmas holidays dictates another January startup.
He said hopefully by then the snowmaking cannons will blanket the slopes with snow with the system tested and the ground backfilled.
“If we can test with our own pressure system, we don’t have to bring in outside pressure,” said Tatro.
He noted the line is below frost level to prevent any issues with winter operations.

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