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Great Bear Recreation Park Prepares For Opening

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Winter is just weeks away and with the upcoming season comes the winter sports. Before you hit the slopes, there has to be one thing: snow. We show you what it takes for Great Bear Recreation Park to create its own winter wonderland.

You may not see snow blanketing every part of the state quite yet, but if you take a look at Great Bear Recreation Park, the white stuff covers the hills.

"What it takes is cold weather and thankfully we got that last week," said Great Bear Recreation Park General Manager, Dan Grider.

But in order to make the man-made snow, Mother Nature needs to cooperate.

It takes temperatures below freezing and about 6 or 7 fan guns to put a base of 18 inches of snow, covering the equivalent of 20 football fields.

"The colder it gets, the drier the air gets, the more water we can put in the air the more snow we can put on the ground,” said Grider.

First, employees take cold water out of a pond. Through a hose, they push that water through about 350 pounds of pressure, propelling it 40 feet into the air.

“There’s a fan behind the gun so as water sprays out of the front of the gun, the fan behind is picking up the air. The science is to break the water droplet down to a fine particle,” said Grider.

The water then freezes in the air turning it into an ice crystal. But it takes intensive labor and monitoring from employees for it to be a success.

"The guys come in at like 10 p.m. and they get geared up. They are here until the morning constantly moving,” said Grider.

Employees have to pay attention to the weather making sure winds are steady at about 10 miles an hour or less.

"It's important because if you get the wind blowing back in the gun, the gun will ice up and shut down. It creates a big problem,” said Grider.

It’s mimicking what Mother Nature can do.

"Hopefully Mother Nature will help us put some on the ground but as long as we have our snow guns and makers, we will be alright," said Grider.

Employees will continue to make snow until February. Grider says the snow guns they use are similar to the ones that will be used at the next winter Olympics. Great Bear Recreation Park opens Sunday.
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