Christmas in July

By Geoff Lee

July 20, 2017 12:24 PM

Last summer, Chrisopher Nicolson, left, president of the Canada West Ski Areas Association gave some development tips to Mount Joy Snow Resort board members including resort president Ray Tatro on the right and another volunteer. This summer crews will fix a drainage issue at the bottom of the hill after installing a needed snowmaking system. They are looking for someone to salvage the old water tank in the background. GEOFF LEE LSS PHOTO

Mount Joy Snow Resort issued an early season snow report with a list of summer slope improvement projects, and routine equipment maintenance to be completed.
“We look forward to providing a good recreation experience for the people in the area,” said resort president, Ray Tatro.
Priority number one is to resolve a water runoff issue at the bottom of the hill that forced the resort to close one day during a spell of unseasonably warm weather in February.
“We want to make sure we have a solution ahead of time with the earth work alterations, so that we don’t have that situation,” said Tatro in an update.
The plan is to route any runoff water into the resort’s new reservoir, and direct it toward the access road through a drainage ditch with the required approval of the landowners.
“In the past, it’s been allowed to melt and run across the bottom of our run,” said Tatro.
“The word is climates are going to be warmer, so we need long-term solutions, not short term, so this will never happen again.”
Until this season, the operation of the resort had been highly dependent on natural snow conditions, with snowmaking limited to the bunny hill.
Mount Joy kicked off its 2017 season with a new snowmaking system, to provide better snow coverage on the upper slopes with further tweaks scheduled for late summer or early fall.
“One of the other things we are going to do is T into our risers that are in the water line that takes our snowmaking water to the top of the hill,” said Tatro.
“So we’ll have some more Ts, so that we don’t have to move our cannons and gensets as much as before.”
Tatro said gensets are heavy and can be damaged when dragged through two to three feet of snow.
“With this, we can permanently leave gensets in better locations and the snow cannons will be where the risers are, instead of having to drag hoses,” he said.
The master development calls for an additional water line south of the T-bar to provide snowmaking to the south slopes—with a partial interim fix in the works.
“At this time, we believe we can reach the top of the south side from the top riser that’s in place, and a short line across from the mid hill riser —that’s part of that Teeing in,” said Tatro.
“We’ll focus and really make sure we have enough snow on the north side, but a lot of our riders were saying the south side’s more fun.”
Tatro said they are hoping someone steps forward with a commitment to tear down and salvage the old water tank that is relegated as an eyesore.
“We’ve got some ideas for that property,” said Tatro, following a brainstorming meeting of board members and volunteers in early June.
He said when the tank is removed, the timing would be good to attach the existing ski rental shop to the main chalet.
Other blue-sky ideas from the think tank include adding off season zip lines, gravity go-carts (alpine slides) and mountain bike trails to utilize more months of the year.
“We had a very good meeting out there in June trying to do our long-term planning, and we’ve come up with a lot of great ideas from the 18 people that showed up at that,” said Tatro.
“We are always getting excited when that stuff’s in place.”
He said the meeting reinforced a lot of the good things that have been happening and need to happen, including getting enough certified ski instructors and volunteers.
“We had to turn kids away last year because those classes were filled up,” said Tatro, who noted the ski and snowboard school was well received by the public.

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