Off-season improvements at Mount Joy Snow Resort are raising the expectations for a great start to the 2018 season for skiers and snowboarders.
“We’ll have a good product for them,” said resort president, Ray Tatro, nearly one year after a new snowmaking system went into operation.
For starters, the coverage of the snowmaking system to the top of the T-bar will be expanded thanks to the scheduled installation of two new donated gen sets.
“We’re in the process of getting natural gas plumbed directly to those units,” said Tatro, who hopes to get everything in place before cold weather sets in.
The plan calls for the gen sets to be permanently housed in oil site shacks with one accessing risers at mid mountain and one at the top of the lift.
“With the equipment we have, it should allow us to make snow on both sides of the T-bar line and make the south side way more usable throughout the year,” said Tatro.
The resort is also working towards creating a bigger terrain park for the upcoming season.
“We want to make sure we’ve got all our safety in place and a terrain park that seems to be very popular with the snowboard crowd in particular,” said Tatro.
Tatro is also pleased to report the old rusty water tank behind the chalet has been removed.
It was no longer functional because it leaked badly, and the new water reservoir for snowmaking holds about nine times the volume of the old tank.
In its place will be a planned parking lot at the endpoint of a new service road that could be constructed and graded this fall.
“We’ve got a plan to service the chalet, the fuel and the garbage and what not, from a new road that would come up to the area where the tank was,” said Tatro.
He cautioned it may be premature to say there will be parking behind the chalet this year with the do-list one step of actual progress.
The resort is sure though there won’t be a repeat return of the “creek” than flowed along the base of the hill during a warm spell last winter that closed the hill for one Saturday.
Crews were diverting the source of the water runoff last week by digging a ditch.
“We’ll finish damming off a valley where most of that water was originating and we’ll divert it into our dugout (reservoir) and our dugout straight east to the road instead of going south that it used to,” said Tatro.
In other news, Tatro is thinking of stepping down as president when the board has its annual election on Oct. 25 to make way for fresh ideas.
“I believe strongly that you have to have some new ideas and some new people at the helm,” he said, pitching vice-president Dean Peters for the top post.
“I believe our vice-president is ready to make that step and I would be very interested in staying on the board and contributing.”
In response, Peters joked that Tatro keeps telling him he should be president, but he’s not buying it until the election.
“I’m not sure if Ray’s ready to step out of that position yet,” he said.
“One of these years he might be ready to step down, but he’s done an awful lot for that place; those are awfully big shoes to fill.”
Tatro has been volunteering at Mount Joy for 26 years, including president for the past three years and a board member for 15 years.
He credits the recent expansion of the resort led by the installation of snowmaking to the efforts of the board and volunteers and donations of money and equipment.
“That’s how Mount Joy has operated since the beginning,” he said noting the hill should be open immediately after the new year.
“We’ll have really good snow coverage and with the new equipment and the new planning strategy that’s gone into the ski hill,” he said.