Blue Mountain update
Just an hour out of Philadelphia they have dealt with from the onset, what the rest of North America is dealing with now. Increasingly shorter windows of snowmaking opportunity and increasingly marginal temperatures. Liberty trail automation has been their salvation.
Blue Mountain, PA was an early adopter of Liberty technology with a trail of (126) 3m Granite guns. Its second trail, (120) 6m Borax at the highest density we have ever seen, 65 foot spacing, kills it. Over the years they have experimented with less expensive manual guns, but they keep coming back for major expansions to increase their arsenal of "Liberty" automated guns which currently stands at 330 TechnoAlpin guns.
Like a lot of North American resorts, Blue Mountain long ago decided to automate their pumps separately from the automated snow guns, rather than integrate guns and machine rooms as is common in Europe. The classic North American approach starts one variable speed drive to fill the line and bring the system to pressure. Once to pressure, as snowmakers add manual guns the pressure drops and when it hits a low set point, a second pump is added, and so on and so on. Too slow for our taste. It is a pressure controlled, "reactive" system. That reactive system kind of works until you have a mix of manual guns and automation. The Liberty computer, can start 200 guns at the same time, a "reactive" system cannot follow that load and collapses. Only a very smart operator thinking ahead can make a preemptive strike and manually add pumps in advance of that load. Liberty software on the other hand is "predictive" it speaks to the pumps and compressors in advance of the load. It tells the machine room, "We are about to add 200 guns, be ready". Resources come on in advance of the load. The results, 200 guns running in less than seven minutes. Sun Valley with 7 machine rooms, does it every day.
For the coming season Blue Mountain has decided it needs that kind of predictive capability because it has so many automated guns and so little time to maximize its snowmaking potential. However it still has a lot of manual guns. Liberty doesn't know about their existence so it can't predict what their demand will be. For the very first time in snowmaking history, a team of Liberty engineers led by North America's Jean Petit, have created a hybrid system. One that can predict the load that will be created by the automated trails (TechnoAlpin does that every day) but also be able to follow by flow, not pressure (pressure shall not vary because it effects quality) the demand of manual guns added to the system.
Blue Mountain has five separate pump stations which must be coordinated for any snowmaking campaign. Two of the five are high-pressure stations which will be integrated in to the first hybrid Liberty system. Perhaps Blue Mountain was not on your short list of sophisticated automated snowmaking systems. Please put it there. This hybrid system will be the most sophisticated Liberty system ever designed.
In addition, Blue Mountain has already integrated TechnoAlpin fan guns in to their Liberty system. Only the third resort in the world to integrate both technologies under one command and control, all in North America. Copper Mountain has 3 TechnoAlpin guns integrated with (10) EVO's. Wintergreen VA, (8) TechnoAlpin fans integrated with 450 Liberty guns. Blue Mountain the largest with (15) TechnoAlpin fans running under Liberty.