2012-2013 updates

For the past two years, Cannonsburg has been all about updates. Last season, we made huge investments all across the hill including a renovated and improved snow-making system, expanded terrain for skiers and snowboarders, and way too many other things to list. We’ve really enjoyed getting feedback from skiers and riders about all of our efforts, so we decided to continue it this season.

Our brand new Prinoth Bison X Snowcat!

Our brand new Prinoth Bison X Snowcat!

Yesterday, we got one of our new Prinoth Bison X snowcats on-site. We previewed them at Shredtoberfest, but now it’s actually here! This particular snowcat has amazing park-grooming capabilities AND can maintain groomed runs. This futuristic looking snowcat is very much the future of hill maintenance and terrain park grooming due to its agility and versatility… plus we hear it’s got a really, really good stereo.
One of the major projects we’ve taken on is expanding leisurely ski and ride terrain along with freestyle terrain. We created runs in the previously unused area between midrope and the triple as well as removing tubing to create two new terrain parks.


Our adult race leagues for those 21+ are getting a huge face lift this season. If you’re not quite an Olympic skier, don’t worry. Race League director John Losey has created a three-tier system for all levels of skiers and snowboarders so no one gets left in the dust. Keep an eye out for more information in the coming weeks about the huge changes for race leagues. We’re excited!

This season, we are ecstatic to re-open the triple. Little snowfall combined with maintenance and upgrades forced us to decommission it for the 2011-12 season.
…and we filled the potholes!!!

Terrain Park Updates
As expected, we’re expanding our terrain park feature options even more. We’ve got a team working every single day on expanding our park features and making sure the old ones are up to our high standard. They’re the best in the business with their design, welding, fabrication, and painting skills.
The new Monster City Park will tentatively host some old and familiar features, plus these brand new ones:

16’ Stair Set
• 16’x6” Round Down Rail
16’ Ledge w/ Hubbas
• 24’ Stair Set
• 24’x6” Round Down Rail 24’x6”
• Down Ledge
Gate Rail
Chain Stall
10’ Closeout
20’ Closeout

Our signature feature list is growing, too!
Burton Aberdeen Rail
Oakley Trap Ledge
• Rome SDS Hubba Ledge

We decided to take the City theme one step further and throw in some junkyard features:
• Two 4’ Diameter Culverts
• Two 3’ Diameter Half Tubes
• 20’ Jersey Barrier
• 10’ Jersey Barrier

Some other normal features we’re building out:
24’x6” Y-Rail / Double Elbow
• 16’ Cannon Rail
• Merry-Go-Round
We have a few more features we’re building during the season that we’re going to keep secret for a little bit. Stay tuned!
We are just about out of room to create any more terrain parks, but we LOVE switching out features and keeping our parks fresh, challenging, and exciting. Our goal is to rotate all of these features through parks like Progression and The Projects as frequently as possible.

At Cannonsburg, we LOVE feedback. We want to hear what you think, what you want to see, what you don’t want to see, tell us about your cat… whatever is on your mind. Send us a message or leave a comment on Facebook, tweet us, or shoot us an email.


Let’s talk about weather


8-day forecast courtesy of WoodTV8

We’ve gotten a lot of questions about why we aren’t blowing snow yet, and here’s why…

We’re just going to say it… the weather is terrible!

There was one night this week where temperatures were cold enough to blow snow, however the daytime highs were so warm, the snow would have melted within a few hours!

In Grand Rapids, we have a pretty big disadvantage when it comes to making snow. Right now, Lake Michigan is VERY warm at 46°. Those warm lake temperatures are making the air temps higher than normal. This is called “insulating.”

The bad thing about this kind of weather is we have to wait longer for cold temps. Ski hills near Detroit and up north are far away from the lake and don’t have to deal with insulation as much, PLUS they have less humidity and colder air temps.

The good thing about insulation is when it gets cold, it gets REALLY cold and it stays really cold. Lake Michigan brings Cannonsburg all of that wonderful lake effect snow, which we need!

We keep our eyes open for ANY possible snowmaking opportunities, but we have to make sure that if we make snow it will last long enough to be ridden.

Be patient with us!

The Monster City Park at Cannonsburg

Cannonsburg has partnered up with Monster Energy to create a beast of a park.

Last year we took an underutilized area, put in two rope-tows servicing two separate terrain parks – an intermediate-level progression style park – “The Projects”, and a street-influenced advanced level park – “The City Park.” We started seeing photos and edits of skiers and riders in the park… “wow” didn’t even begin to cover it. The City Park turned into a showcase of the level of talent we have here at Cannonsburg.

Early this fall, Monster approached Cannonsburg with one goal: Let us get more involved. We weren’t sure how to do this… until they asked if they could sponsor the build-out of an entire park. An estimated $50,000 investment from both Monster and Cannonsburg means our biggest park build-out yet with some of the most creative features we’ve ever designed.

This season, we’re constructing nearly a dozen features for this park, and next season about half a dozen.

The park will be filled with urban features similar to what you’d see around the city… but with more snow, a rope tow instead of a banshee bungee, and no trespassing tickets.

Check out the course drawings we’ve put together, share them on Facebook, let us know what you think, then keep an eye out for the park opening date/party.

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Snowmaking 101

In Michigan, winters can be iffy. It’s usually cold, but that doesn’t mean the snow is falling. Cannonsburg invested in a brand-new snowmaking system last season. This system included several new snow guns and an improved pumping system so we could put out as much snow as possible.
We get a lot of questions about snowmaking, so I sat down with Cannonsburg’s Snowmaking Expert, Kelly Bennett to get some answers.

1. What kind of conditions does Cannonsburg need to make snow?
At 28° we can possibly start making snow, but the colder it gets, the more snow we can make. One of the big factors is humidity. For example:

28° + 100% Humidity = 32°
28° + 0% Humidity = 20.8°

We’re always taught that “freezing” is 32°, but that’s just the temperature ice won’t melt. It needs to be cold and pretty dry to  make snow.
Besides temperature and humidity, snowmakers have to think about wind, water temperature, and day-time temperature conditions. Getting ideal snowmaking conditions in Michigan is hard because of high temps and high humidity.

2. How much snow can Cannonsburg make?
We like to focus attention on one section of the hill at a time to create the deepest base.

In 166 minutes, we can cover one acre of area with one foot of snow.
We start with mid-rope/quad, cover the face, then the double, followed by the beginner areas and then we coat the triple.

We can pump anywhere from 20 Gallons Per Minute (GPM) to 110 GPM in each gun. This means during 24 hours of snowmaking, we can pump out 1,728,000 gallons!

On a cold, dry night we usually run 21 snow guns.

3. How does snow-making work?
First, Cannonsburg pumps water from a reservoir. This water goes through pump houses and then through underground pipes. These pipes lead to each individual snow gun. The snowmakers decide which guns to turn on and open the valves. Depending on conditions, we can open 1-4 valves. If conditions are marginal, one valve is opened. If they are prime, four valves are opened. From there, the fan guns mix compressed air with water and blow snow. We aim the guns where we want the snow to cover.

4. So when are you opening?
We can never set a true “opening date.” The second we have enough snow on the ground to provide skiers and riders a decent hill/experience, we open! In the past, opening day has been anywhere from the week of Thanksgiving to the second week in December. We have our equipment geared up and ready for those optimal snow-making conditions.

There might not be snow in your backyard, but there’s guaranteed to be plenty of snow at Cannonsburg!

Shredtoberfest 2012

Two of Cannonsburg’s riders hanging out Friday night

October 26-27 was Shredtoberfest 2012. This was our second year having a pre-season event, but our first year hosting a pre-season rail jam. Friday night, a ton of people came out to watch amazing ski/snowboard videos, drink beer, and my favorite… watch some familiar Cannonsburg faces rocking some tribal hair/makeup. It was so great to see the lodge filled with people who are just as excited about winter as us.

This didn’t prepare us for Saturday.

Park designer/marketing manager Marc Moline takes the first hit on the Shredtoberfest course

We watched the numbers for the event skyrocket on Facebook. We were stoked on 50, which became 200, and by the day of the event we were at 650. We’ve never had as much pre-hype for an event as we did Shredtoberfest. Participants for the Tricks for Treats Rail Jam were lined up before the event even began! We estimate nearly 1,000 people made it out the event. We’re happy to call it a success, and cannot wait for next season.

Tricks for Treats winners

Here are your results:
1st Place Girl: Theresa Kewley
2nd Place Girl: Meghan Bolland

Best Grom Skier: Ashton Hayes

Best Trick: John Gardner

2nd Place Ski: Bryan DePauw
1st Place Ski: Evan Boonenberg

Grom Snowboard:

3rd Place Snowboard: Brandon Kirkland
2nd Place Snowboard: Jake Visser
1st Place Snowboard: Dominic Palarchio

Friday Night Photos

Saturday Photos