Thanks to a colder-than-average March and early April, Wachusett Mountain Ski Area officially wrapped up its 2016-17 winter season on April 9, extending its season nearly 2 weeks longer than average.
The biggest story of the 2016-17 season was the impact of Wachusett’s expanded snowmaking system. Thanks to last summer’s $2 million snowmaking improvements (which doubled the mountain’s pumping capacity from 4,000 to 8,000 gallons per minute), snowmakers made more snow in less hours than ever before. Season-long snowmaking operations yielded an 11% increase in machine-made snow produced (from the previous high), covering trails in up to 5 feet of base. This was achieved in only 570 hours, nearly a 20% decrease (from the previous high).
“We made more snow more energy efficiently than ever before in our history,” said Wachusett President Jeff Crowley.
In fact, thanks to cold temperatures in early March and its newly expanded snowmaking system, Wachusett also made snow later in the season than ever before. That, combined with a well-timed mid-March snowstorm, allowed for some of the best snow conditions of the season right through into early April. In fact, there is still so much snow on the mountain, Wachusett will be holding its annual Cinco De Mayo Celebration (on Saturday, May 6th – Sexto De Mayo!) with a slopestyle competition for snowboarders and freeride skiers and a deck party with live music and outdoor barbecue.
This season by the numbers:
- Opening Day: Friday, November 25; Number of Trails Open: 4; Average Base Depths: 10-12 inches
- Closing Day: Sunday, April 9; Number of Trails Open: 24; Average Base Depths: 10-48 inches
- Number of Days in Operation: 123
- Snowfall Total: 108 inches
- Biggest One-Day Snowfall: 16 inches on Feb. 9 and Mar. 14
- Lowest Temperature This Season: -2 on Dec. 16 and Jan. 9
- Highest Temperature This Season: 67 on Feb. 24
“As evident by the 69 degree swing in temperatures during the season, the winter was somewhat of a roller coaster ride,” said General Manager David Crowley. “March was colder than average, however, allowing us to finish on a positive note. In fact, we’re already seeing interest on 2017-18 season sales!” (A special 1-week preview sale of next year’s Wachusett Mountain season passes will run from April 24th to May 1st. Check www.wachusett.com for details.)