Lake affect

Dear Ace: When they make the snow at Wintergreen, where does all the water come from, and how does it get onto the slopes? I’ve read some unsavory things about the water used in snow making at other ski slopes.—Dwight Stuff

Dwight: Ace works on a pretty low budget here at the C-VILLE office, so imagine his dismay when, confronted with a discrepancy such as the one you’ve read about, he’s armed with only a magnifying glass and a pair of khaki slacks. No Gadget ‘Copter, no Gadget Lanyard. Not even any Gadget Skis (which certainly would have come in handy during his research). He does have a Top Secret Atkins Phone, but it can only accept calls, not place them.

Of course, what Ace lacks in gear, he makes up for in brains. And this particular investigation turned up a lot of interesting facts (none unsavory, to be sure) with which to please crowds. To get these facts, Ace talked to Wintergreen’s Scott Gunnell, who provided him with a flurry of information. Just as Ace suspected, the water comes from a lake at Wintergreen, and unused H20 is recycled back into that same watershed. “The founders of the resort were very forward thinking when they set up the area, so that we are able to re-use and replenish the water supply,” Scott said.

Ace also found out that the resort uses 150 million gallons of water per season. Without a Gadget Calculator, it’s hard to do the math. But let’s just say that with 129 acres of skiable land, that works out to more than 1 million gallons of water per acre.

As for your second question, Wintergreen has a network (a Gadget Network, if you will) of 400 snowguns and underground hydrants, both powered by a computerized system that controls the air to water ratio, as well as the timing and placement of the snow. The system also controls weather sensors, which help determine the balance of water to air by detecting moisture levels.

Speaking of moisture levels, what’s this in Ace’s glass? Go-go Gadget Esophagus!

You can ask Ace yourself. Intrepid investigative reporter Ace Atkins has been chasing readers’ leads for 19 years. If you have a question for Ace, e-mail it to

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