Sugarloaf to buy energy-efficient snow guns to keep skiers on slopes

Posted May 23, 2012, at 11:50 a.m.

CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine — In an effort to avoid a repeat of last winter when the lack of natural snow kept skiers off the slopes, Sugarloaf ski area has announced plans to install 300 new energy-efficient snowmaking machines.

Sugarloaf spokesman Ethan Austin says a $300,000 grant from Efficiency Maine will help the $1 million project.

He tells the Morning Sentinel that with improved snowmaking, Sugarloaf will be able to prevent low snowfall totals from harming not only its own business but dozens of others that rely on the tourists who visit the Carrabasset Valley resort each year.

He said Sugarloaf normally has 40 to 60 trails open by Christmas. Last season there were just 10.

The new snow guns use 90 percent less compressed air than the resort’s older models to reduce energy use.