Gunstock Snowmaking

Snowmaking equipment, not RFID brings the savings.


Gunstock predicts
$110k in energy savings with switch to RFID cards

By BEA LEWIS                   November 30. 2017 9:50PM

Union Leader Correspondent

GILFORD — Gunstock General Manager Greg Goddard said the investment in new
snowmaking technology is paying off in energy usage and that the resort will
open today, offering top to bottom skiing.

Goddard told the Gunstock Area Commission on Wednesday that he is predicting
savings of $110,000 in electricity costs as a result of the purchase of new
high-efficiency snow guns and said that when a new contract for an electrical
supplier goes into effect next year the savings will be compounded when the per
kilowatt hour costs drops by more than two cents.

“The new HKD led mounted guns we purchased this year have been performing as
advertised. As 20 degrees, we can pump water at full capacity while only
running one air compressor saving us nearly $200 an hour in electric costs compared
to last year’s configuration,” Goddard said.

The new technology has also allowed snowmaking crews to convert significantly
more water into white gold, Goddard said, noting that by Nov. 12, they had
already exceeded their water output for all of November of last year. And as
the mercury drops, the system gets even more efficient, he said.

Snowmaking and Grooming Manager Dan Carbonneau reported that when they began
making snow for the season earlier this month they had a very successful
opening run of 13.5 million gallons in 55 hours, an average of 4,100 gallons
per minutes. With temperatures in the teens, they were able to pump 5,500 GPM,
their maximum pumping capacity while only needing to run one of their
compressors. Using the old technology, all three of the resort’s pumps were
needed to max out their pumping capacity.

When skiers flock to the slopes this year they will find plenty of snow even if
Mother Nature is stingy in making her own, Goddard said. What resort visitors
may be wowed by most is the conversion to a radio frequency based ID system for
lift tickets and chairlift access gates.

Guests can load their cards online and can park their car and head directly to
the lifts, bypassing a ticket line, said Gunstock Commission Chairman Stephan
Nix, who said the technology has become commonplace in the western resorts he
has had the chance to ski.

Gone are the need for pictures on season passes and the scanners will read a
ticket no matter where it has been tucked speeding access by preventing
bottlenecks when tickets are put in pockets or are obscured by scarves or other

A key benefit is that it’s hands-off. Skiers and snowboarders simply glide up
to the RFID-enabled gate, and almost instantaneously their passes are scanned
and verified, the turnstiles drop and the customers move on through to the

“Overall, we are very pleased with this project and are anxious to see it in
full operation knowing full well there are always bumps in the road with these
types of projects,” said Resort Director Robin Rowe.

As of Nov. 25 Gunstock has sold nearly 2,000 season passes totaling more than
$391,000, eclipsing the amount of revenue generated by pass sales for the
entire season last year by $106,760.

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