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Mount St. Louis Moonstone - Open Day “Showcase”

On March 5th TechnoAlpin and Mount St. Louis Moonstone, Ontario hosted a “T-A Showcase”. It was the first of 4 events in North America designed not only to Showcase TechnoAlpin snowmaking systems but also the progressive, innovative resorts that have adopted these systems. 30 people from both Ontario and Quebec showed. Double the anticipated turn out. 


During the sessions much discussion revolved around three topics, automated systems utilizing short windows of opportunity, ductile iron pipe and crew sizes and issues. MSLM and Craigleith a neighbor resort took advantage of some short but cold November snowmaking windows. Both of these resorts were able to build enough snow to have 75% plus of their terrain open for Christmas. Many other resorts close by had less than 25% of their terrain open. The discussion around ductile pipe focused on ease of installation, the longevity of the pipe and the flexibility of installation. Boler Mt. a close by resort with experience with ductile pipe and MSLM staff provided great feedback regarding their experience with Ductile Pipe. Several resorts present have experienced staffing issues these past few seasons. They found some good networking with some of the other resorts regarding how they handle these issues.


MSLM is correctly thought of as an “early adopter”. On first approach to the region, you’re not expecting much in the way of mountains. This part of Ontario is pretty flat, but the two peaks that comprise MSLM stand a little taller than the surrounding terrain. The peaks have been augmented. This of course has been done before, but at MSLM it’s been done very tastefully. The extra vertical was created by a conga line of extended family members, each driving a double barreled Euclid scrapper. The “Cut” for this “Fill” created a very large hole on the back side of the mountain. More on that later.


In this part of Ontario, powerful, responsive snowmaking systems can put money in the bank. Energy or labor inefficient snowmaking systems can also take that money right back out. MSLM has been at the forefront of energy and labor efficiency. MSLM had many of the first generation “low energy” guns that used 100 to 135 cfm each. Then they tested Rubis Classic. Better performance and 18 cfm. MSLM next expansion automated with Liberty, about 40 Classics and later Rubis EVO’s. When a great idea crystalizes we say “the light bulb went off”. In this case, “the compressors went off” because with each foray into ultra-low energy guns and automation, MSLM was able to turn off huge compressors. Some on which are never coming back on. In the fall of 2010, MSLM put in a trail of (18) fully automated TechnoAlpin V-3 stick guns and (6) M-18 towers. The auto Rubis are loved for their unmatched air efficiency and high output. The new TechnoAlpin stuff has become loved for its fine grained, snow quality.


MSLM is also a big believer in Ductile Iron pipe for all the usual reasons. Long in ground life often thought of as triple the installed of steel. The fact that it can be install with MSLM own crews.


As we guide customers from old technology to ultra-low E automated technology there comes a “tipping point”. A point where “air limited” drops from the lexicon and the thirst for more and more water becomes the quest. Back to the “cut” that augmented the summits. It now one of the biggest snowmaking lakes in the world. The only thing surprising about the lake is that there is not yet a Bennett’s Waterski franchise operating on it.


MSLM innovation does not end with snowmaking. They have 12 lifts including 3 detachable 6 Pacs, 3 Quads include one that has carpet load for a total of 23,000 pph uphill capacity. MSLM also has 3 terrain parks anchored by the “Outback” that always seems to be in contest ready condition and full regalia. Mount St. Louis Moonstone is a Showcase. Next Showcases:


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