Operations

While we don't operate to the public there is still a lot of work and logistics that go behind operating Polar Peak. Here is a glance at what we do all year,

August: As the summer season is in high gear we begin our planning for the winter. Our main focus is on capital improvements, and creating an operating budget. During this time we also make hayrolls out of the hay that is grown on the lower slopes and Polar Run. We feed this hay to our livestock.

September: As summer draws to a close on-hill work begins. We start with cleaning up the base area, finish mowing as much as we can. During this time we also paint lift towers and the buildings

October: Painting continues and we give the hill the initial "once over" mowing with the bush hog. If the hay is good we may try to get a second cutting to give to the livestock. Weed wacking begins around the Summit Express, and final finish mowing takes place around the base area. We take our trail mower and mow the upper terrain then use the finish mower on the lower terrain.

November: We try to mow as much of the skiable acres down to 3" by Veteran's Day, this allows us to provide skiing and riding on as little as 6" of snow. During this time we also string the rope, put the ropetow drive in place (and ensure the lift is good to go), assemble the lighting, and if conditions are favorable give the snowmaking system a test run, after all at this point the ski season is less than a month away, and in good years the season can begin as early as November 5th.

December: Last minute preparations continue as the ski season approaches. If we are already skiing we work out the kinks as we go. Final touch ups, repairs, and maintenance to equipment are done during this time period. With natural snow we are able to open as soon as possible, otherwise we begin snowmaking in Mid December if there is a good window of opportunity to open around the holiday. Work shifts from preparation to daily operations for skiing and riding by Mid December.

January - April: We operate every day that we possibly can on the best conditions possible. We work to groom the hill, pack down the snow, and when needed we make snow. We also pay special attention to maintenance of the lift and the equipment. Once we are in the groove the time flies by, and we find ourselves skiing and riding more than working.

In early April we begin late season skiing operations, where we cover what snow we have remaining so that we can enjoy runs until June, and some times until July! In late April most of the equipment is taken down and put in storage and the hill is left to grow in so that we can harvest the hay. The only area maintained for skiing at this point is the Lower Glade slope. We maintain the base area throughout the summer, this allows us to cut back on fuel consumption and allows us more time to work on the hill in the fall.

May - August: Things are quiet, we do routine maintenance as needed and mow and manicure the base area, making it look presentable. We also use this time to work on the base area buildings if needed.

Staying Green

In the past 5 years we have put a lot of effort into making Polar Peak "Greener". The following actions have allowed us to cut our energy consumption by over 75%:

  • Installation of a new drive on the Summit Express (which uses significantly less fuel)
  • Use of different specialty snow guns in the snowmaking process
  • Higher efficiency lighting
  • Repositioned night lighting (which allows us to use fewer lights and greatly reduces ligh pollution)
  • Use of a more efficient air compressor for snowmaking
  • Replacement of old pumps with 3 new energy efficient pumps
  • Use of weather monitoring technology to aid in pin point snowmaking and surface grooming operations
  • Use of organic snow preservation techniques to extend the season and most use per amount of snow

We also are working on a solar project to offset some of our energy consumption.