Ken Mack - Loon Mountain
Loon Mountain, N.H.
Snowmaker since 1999
SAM: Favorite temperature?
Ken: 10° F wet bulb
SAM: WHat's your Life philosophy?
Ken: Work hard, gain experience and knowledge, experiment with new ideas and tactics, and leave a positive impression wherever I go.
SAM: What was your most memorable gun run?
Ken: November 2007--the first time we started South Peak. I had the opportunity to be involved in all aspects of the construction process, from untouched forest to smooth trails with snowmaking and lifts. It was extremely satisfying to start up the new trail and watch skiers/riders enjoying it a couple of days later.
SAM: What gets you fired up for snowmaking in the fall?
Ken: The excitement of the "skiing and snowboarding community." The skiers/riders are raring to get out on the mountain and everyone is ready for the season to change. My daughters love to ski, and on the first day of snowmaking, they will pull out all of their ski gear. It certainly fuels my motivation.
SAM: What is your favorite part about snowmaking?
Ken: I enjoy the challenges of opening the mountain—the months of maintenance, upgrades, testing, staffing, and the training that goes into snowmaking operations.
I love to watch all of the logistics come together at the start of the season.
SAM: What was your "I AM" moment? The experience that made you say "I want to be a snowmaker?"
Ken: It’s hard to pinpoint what made Snowmaking my career choice. What started out as a winter job ended up fitting really well with my goals, morals, and ambitions. Being a Snowmaker conveniently combined much of what I learned in the Marine Corps (leadership, teamwork, crisis management and improvisation) with the ability to live, work, and raise a family in a beautiful location.
I realized early on that I enjoy the logistics of it all: searching, acquiring, and placing all of the pieces together to create a safe, efficient, and successful operation. I also enjoy the challenges of opening the mountain – the months of maintenance, upgrades, testing, staffing, and training that go into snowmaking operations. I love to watch all of the logistics come together at the start of the season. Growing up, I looked forward to winter and skiing. Now being the first department to start operations, we get to “lead the charge” into the winter season.
I like working outdoors, at night, as a team, in adverse weather conditions. There is an unspoken and inspiring camaraderie that grows from that. Working through problems, celebrating minor victories that, when the sun comes up, no one will even know about.
My favorite moments come near the end of the snowmaking season, when we go out skiing as a family. I can really appreciate the manicured snow surface, skiing past miles of snowmaking pipe, hydrants, and snow guns, each location reminding me of particular victories, defeats, hard work, long nights, wet clothes, and the good people that made it all possible.