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Wednesday

April 2014

23

Ausblick guarantees a White Christmas on the slopes

Ausblick is ahead of their average this season, taking advantage of December's cold snaps and opening ahead of schedule. They have over thirty snow guns to keep the slopes well covered."

Ausblick is ahead of their average this season, taking advantage of December's cold snaps and opening ahead of schedule. They have over thirty snow guns to keep the slopes well covered." Photo by:

A ski club. Rearrange those letters and you'll find none other than Ausblick.

Ausblick ski club, on Maryhill Road in Sussex, is a private ski club that's been in operation for over 60 years. Hill managers still aim to provide members with the finest ski facility in the area at a reasonable cost and without congestion.

"Everyone thinks of skiing as soon as it becomes winter," Dennis Evinrude, Ausblick general manager said. This will be his 43rd season at Ausblick.

To achieve their goals, they have a well-groomed hill, triple chair lift, cooling pond, outdoor lighting, chalet and even a garage. They offer ski instruction, racing, freestyle and snowboarding opportunities for their members and guests.

But most importantly, they make their own snow.

The club tries to open as early in December as possible. This year they opened on Dec. 8.

"For us, opening before Dec. 17 is ahead of average," Evinrude said. He explained that cold temperatures this winter made it possible to get the most out of their snow-making machines.

Snow-making can start when the temperature is 23 degrees F or below for at least eight hours. Winds should be from the west or northwest for optimum snow-making conditions. There shouldn't be a warm snap or rainy conditions following the snow-making period, either.

Man-made snow, much like real snow, involves water and air. Compressed air is pushed through miles of pipes where it meets water in the snow gun or snow cannon. Water, too, is pumped into the cannon from a nearby pond (where the water returns after snow melts naturally in the spring).

The snow gun or snow cannon will mix the water and air to create the snow, which, curiously enough, doesn't look like natural snow up close. The machines will create tiny snow balls rather than the microscopically elaborate snow flake we see in nature.

That density or compactness is great for skiers, too.

"You need to make snow because the snow needed to open a ski area needs to be 10 times more dense, have 10 times more water in it ... Anything mother nature puts on top of that, we're happy to have," Evinrude explained.

by the numbers

30 Snow guns

3 miles of pipe and hose

Longest straight run is 1,200 feet

Bunny Run is 1,600 feet

Up to 300 total visitors on opening day this year (Dec. 8)

40 Ski patrollers

400 member cap

1-2 year wait list

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