OnFocus – Wisconsin’s historic Granite Peak is preparing for another season of winter fun.
As Wisconsin’s oldest ski resort dating back to 1937 when it started as Rib Mountain Ski Area, Granite Peak has been Wisconsin’s largest resort for some time and features 7 lifts scattered across 200 acres of terrain. Over the last 20 years it has expanded greatly to the size that it is today, with three high speed detachable lifts.
“Granite Peak makes snow by pumping water across our resort through an intricate pipe system that is typically adjacent to trails,” said Greg Fisher, General Manager/Marketing Director.
Pumps bring water from the base area to the upper extremities of the hill through a pressurized system. Hydrants and valves release the water to snow guns that vary from tower fan guns to ground water sticks. Each gun works slightly differently and some can make snow at different temperatures, but essentially all snowmaking systems are the same. A compressor fires small water molecules into the air, which freeze during their gradual fall to the ground, creating snow. The colder and dryer the air is, the better the snowmaking potential.
“We can make snow typically when temperatures are below 28 degrees, although we have had success this year making snow even when temps are above freezing because of the level of the wet bulb and humidity levels,” said Fischer.
At Granite Peak, there are approximately 400 – 450 various snowmaking devices across the mountain. The amount of time it takes to open a ski trail or an area depends on a variety of factors that include temperature, size of the area, and the amount of snow guns that are in that area.
“Typically we would want to open a trail with at least a foot to 2’ of snow on top of it to ensure a good base for our skiers and snowboarders,” said Fischer, adding that he’s looking forward to the 2020-21 ski season.
“We’re excited to get the season off the ground and provide guests an outdoor activity to enjoy,” said Fischer. “We anticipate opening up on November 20th if Mother Nature returns to winter like we believe it will next week.”
COVID safety measures will be in place for this season.
“Luckily for us skiing and riding is an outside sport that already has a pretty big social distancing practice,” said Fisher, adding that all guests will be required to wear masks while at Granite Peak when they are inside, in lines, or cannot socially distance.
Base lodges will have limited capacities based on local government’s mandates. Guests will not be allowed to leave bags or equipment inside and will be asked to return all items to their cars. Base lodges will be treated more like restaurants with hosted tables and time limits. More outside seating and dining is available for guests this year.
For those first time skiers, Fischer has some advice:
“I would encourage them to have patience and understand that you’ll fall down and that’s OK!”
We welcome your stories! Contact us at [email protected]!