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The year 2020 has been very busy for the Snowmaking Committee of the Friends of Lapham Peak. Purchase of a new Snowcat and construction of a building to house it became the committee’s top priority after a successful 2019-20 snowmaking season. These lofty goals near the moment of realization.
Two grooming machines – a Prinoth Husky and a Pisten Bully 100 – arrived at the park during the 2019-20 season. They gave demonstrations of their grooming capabilities on the snowmaking trails. Both machines provided excellent performance. After careful consideration, the committee decided to go with the Pisten Bully.
Pisten Bully 100 at Lapham Peak during last year’s demo. Courtesy of Friends of Lapham Peak. Click on photos to enlarge
We expect delivery of the new Pisten Bully 100F, currently in Jordan, Minnesota, to the park in November. It will include a plow blade, tiller, two track setters, and other important features. Trained volunteers, led by Keith “Beattle” Adelmeyer will operate the groomer, spreading manmade snow whales. Also, to occasionally groom the snowmaking trails, especially after a thaw/freeze cycle, to break up the icy surface. It will also be used to set a double set of striding tracks, the likes of which have never been seen before at Lapham Peak. Regular grooming of the trails will continue by the DNR with the Gator and Ginsu.
Friends of Lapham Peak will own the Pisten Bully 100. Paid for by the donations to the Friends, partial financing may come from a loan until sufficient donations have been received. Currently, about $70,000 remains to fully pay for the machine.
The snowmaking operations team have been making improvements to the lighted loop, widening tight corners and leveling cross-slopes. With sufficient natural snow, the Pisten Bully can groom and set track on these trails. A longer term goal includes making improvements to the black loop trails, widening and softening curves, and flattening cross-slopes to allow grooming these trails with the Pisten Bully, should there be sufficient natural snow.
Construction has started on the building to house the new Snowcat, and other snowmaking and grooming equipment. Known soon as the Winter Recreation Storage Building (WRSB), it will sit on the east side of the Field Loop, north of the intersection with Magic Carpet. The building will provide year-round storage for the Pisten Bully, snowguns, gator used for regular grooming, and other equipment related to winter operations at the park. Also, the building will protect the equipment from damage due to sun, weather, and rodents, as well as provide a location for staging snowmaking operations and maintaining equipment.
The building is being paid for by the Friends, with a combination of donations and a $20,000 Stewardship Friends Grant from the DNR. Donations include volunteer labor, equipment, and building materials. As is typical, volunteers combine with contractors to construct the building. Site preparation has been completed, with construction of the building started in September. When done with their work, the Friends will donate the storage shelter to the DNR.
The Friends have amassed a substantial amount of the funds needed to pay for the new Snowcat and the WRSB through the generous donations of our vibrant skier community. The Pisten Bully costs $250,000, while the WRSB’s cost comes in at around $60,000. Snowmaking operational funding amounts to about $15,000 per year. The operating budget includes funding for fuel, electricity, maintenance, and insurance.
The addition of the new Snowcat to the snowmaking system, expanded in 2019 to about 2.4 kilometers of trails, will significantly improve the cross country skiing experience at Lapham Peak. The Friends and the snowmaking committee thank everyone for their enthusiastic support of this one-of-a-kind venue for southeast Wisconsin. Your continued donations are needed to make this possible.