Snowmaker since 1992
SAM: FAVORITE TEMPERATURE?
Ray: 10° F wet bulb, clear and calm. The system is at full capacity and production is out of this world.
SAM: WHAT'S YOUR LIFE philosophy?
Ray: Carpe Diem. Give 100%, help others, constantly re-imagine life and work, revel in successes, do not be afraid to fail, venture out of this country and see how the rest of the world lives.
SAM: WHAT WAS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE GUN RUN?
Ray: My first. After countless gun runs since, I can still remember that perfect storm.
SAM: WHAT GETS YOU FIRED UP FOR SNOWMAKING IN THE FALL?
Ray: The chill in the air, the buzz and anticipation of the ski season to come. Departments ramping up and being immersed in the process of getting the resort open for the season.
SAM: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT SNOWMAKING?
Ray: The diversity: the change of the seasons, the people, the technology, knowing how critical the process is to the success of our industry and putting smiles on the snow riders of world.
SAM: WHAT WAS YOUR "I AM" MOMENT? THE EXPERIENCE THAT MADE YOU SAY "I WANT TO BE A SNOWMAKER?"
Ray: I remember it as if it were yesterday—the coming of fall, the change of colors, crispness in the air, and the anticipation of the ski season. The year was 1992, and I was contemplating what to do in ski country. I cannot say how or why, but for some reason, perhaps the simple draw of the mountains, I applied for a position with the Breckenridge snowmaking department.
It was a decision that forever changed the course of my life. The first night is a swirl of memories: “rookie in the house;” suit up for the elements, boots, gloves, headlamp; learn the signals to communicate through the roar. Then, out into the wilderness. It was a blizzard that night, a blur, heading up the mountain to check the “guns.” Snowmobiles, hoses, hydrants, learning how to make snow in the perfect storm. Fortunately I had a mentor to guide the way.
I came home that night ecstatic, adrenalin rushing, thinking, “unbelievable! I just became part of a process, part mountaineering part manufacturing, an art and science that helps drives our industry.” I never looked back; snowmaking had become an instant passion.
Fast forward to 2013. We are continually refining and re-imagining the process. Countless construction projects and snowmaking installations later, we’re still looking for efficiencies and superior ways to make the best product. And we’re passing on skills to the next generation, and seeing the spark in their eyes. It’s a privilege to test new technologies and be immersed in a cast of characters who are truly unique in this world.
Snowmaking is essential to the ski industry; the people and passion that goes into it are unparalleled. Although I have recently moved on to the position of environmental manager for the resort and provide a supporting role, once a snowmaker, always a snowmaker!