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Gunstock predicts $110k in energy savings with switch to RFID cards

By BEA LEWIS
Union Leader Correspondent

November 30. 2017 9:50PM




GILFORD — Gunstock General Manager Greg Goddard said the investment in new snowmaking technology is paying off in energy usage and that the resort will open today, offering top to bottom skiing.

Goddard told the Gunstock Area Commission on Wednesday that he is predicting savings of $110,000 in electricity costs as a result of the purchase of new high-efficiency snow guns and said that when a new contract for an electrical supplier goes into effect next year the savings will be compounded when the per kilowatt hour costs drops by more than two cents.

“The new HKD led mounted guns we purchased this year have been performing as advertised. As 20 degrees, we can pump water at full capacity while only running one air compressor saving us nearly $200 an hour in electric costs compared to last year’s configuration,” Goddard said.

The new technology has also allowed snowmaking crews to convert significantly more water into white gold, Goddard said, noting that by Nov. 12, they had already exceeded their water output for all of November of last year. And as the mercury drops, the system gets even more efficient, he said.

Snowmaking and Grooming Manager Dan Carbonneau reported that when they began making snow for the season earlier this month they had a very successful opening run of 13.5 million gallons in 55 hours, an average of 4,100 gallons per minutes. With temperatures in the teens, they were able to pump 5,500 GPM, their maximum pumping capacity while only needing to run one of their compressors. Using the old technology, all three of the resort’s pumps were needed to max out their pumping capacity.

When skiers flock to the slopes this year they will find plenty of snow even if Mother Nature is stingy in making her own, Goddard said. What resort visitors may be wowed by most is the conversion to a radio frequency based ID system for lift tickets and chairlift access gates.

Guests can load their cards online and can park their car and head directly to the lifts, bypassing a ticket line, said Gunstock Commission Chairman Stephan Nix, who said the technology has become commonplace in the western resorts he has had the chance to ski.

Gone are the need for pictures on season passes and the scanners will read a ticket no matter where it has been tucked speeding access by preventing bottlenecks when tickets are put in pockets or are obscured by scarves or other clothing.

A key benefit is that it’s hands-off. Skiers and snowboarders simply glide up to the RFID-enabled gate, and almost instantaneously their passes are scanned and verified, the turnstiles drop and the customers move on through to the lifts.

“Overall, we are very pleased with this project and are anxious to see it in full operation knowing full well there are always bumps in the road with these types of projects,” said Resort Director Robin Rowe.

As of Nov. 25 Gunstock has sold nearly 2,000 season passes totaling more than $391,000, eclipsing the amount of revenue generated by pass sales for the entire season last year by $106,760.


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