Last month Steep published a piece from Tito Alex of Snowmaking Efficiency that generated good feedback. Some comments were supported, some were opposed and most importantly it opened a healthy discussion on how to better manage the challenges of snowmaking. To summarize some of the feedback, here is what we heard:
- Whales are good and they need to drain thus they sit for multiple days
- Gun placement is okay, not an issue
- Eastern ski areas don’t push manmade snow until it sits for a bit
- Snowmakers work hard and are trained well
- Nothing is absolute in snowmaking
In the spirit of keeping this debate going, Steep Management is pleased to share Tito’s latest post True Cost of Labor Savings. It is expected that this will also generate debate, which is always fully encouraged.
As the season winds down, the snowmaking debate may seem out of synch with the calendar, but actually now is the time to plan for next year while the issues are fresh in our heads. Most of you have completed your Capital requests but often they don’t include dollars or more importantly time for addressing operational change. It is no secret that Steep’s position is to have training as a Capital request. Tito made the point that training is a significant issue for both snowmakers and senior managers. All skill sets are elevated with training that is allocated in the capital bucket.
Snowmaking is becoming more important as we face the winters we have in the past several years, it doesn’t matter where you are, somewhere there has been a drought of snow over the past 5 years. The dependence of snowmaking is huge and the success of newer technology is significant. The challenge is to adapt to new technology with best practices that maximize potential from the technology, not just plugging in the old practices and realizing a benefit but not the maximum benefit.