Marquette Mountain making snow in preparation for season

MARQUETTE — Last week’s heavy snowfall left some feeling dread, but others welcomed the powder.

One such group of people is the team at Marquette Mountain. They’re currently hard at work readying the mountain to open for the season next week.

One of the most important things they do to prepare is make snow to coat the mountain with. It’s a sight to see the snow guns eject tons of snow on to the mountainside, and it’s an interesting process how they make the snow.

“We pump water from the Carp River and we put it through our snow making pipes,” Marquette Mountain lift manager Andrew Ballew said. “It goes us through our guns. We have compressors on our guns that force air into the water, which nucleates the water. It forms into ice crystals, which we claim as manmade snow.”

The mountain requires a healthy snow base before the public can start cutting and shredding. If it weren’t for manmade snow, which is denser than natural snow, it would take quite some time before most downhill ski and snowboard areas could open.

“When we get about a foot of natural snow, it actually packs down to about three or four inches,” Ballew said. “It takes a lot of natural snow to make up a base of the hill.”

The natural snowfall that has occurred so far has helped the Marquette Mountain team be ahead of schedule. Although warmer temperatures and rain are in the weekend forecast, they don’t plan on losing much of their snow.

Marquette Mountain opens for the season the day after Thanksgiving.