Perhaps the biggest difference between Mad River Glen and the rest of the ski industry is that Mad River Glen is primarily dependent on natural snowfall. Recently, the Board of Trustees and Management thoroughly investigated the feasibility of expanding snowmaking coverage. The current recommendation is to modernize Mad River Glen’s existing snowmaking infrastructure in a manner that would be compatible with future expansion, but not to expand coverage at this time. There are a number of reasons for this decision, but the primary factors include lack of access to water rights or purchase for an adequate source of water (likely near the Mad River Barn); and very high operating costs which would not be sufficiently offset by additional revenue, resulting in unsustainable operating losses.
However, this does not mean that Mad River is solely dependent on the whims of the weather. Over the years, Mad River’s operations crew has devised creative strategies to steward Mad River’s snow. For instance, the crews carefully rotate trail grooming, as excessive grooming creates dense snow that is more prone to icing. They have created “inventory areas” where snow can be stockpiled and moved to problem areas when needed. During the summer, the trails are carefully manicured and culverts are repaired to ensure that the trails are skiable with the minimum amount of snow possible. These efforts rank among the most cost-effective mountain improvements, and help ensure that Mad River can optimize the wonderful natural snow that falls on General Stark Mountain.