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November 2008

Speak Out :: Once a Snow Reporter, Always a Snow Reporter

Tim Cohee, Senior VP/Chief Marketing Officer at Mountain Springs-Kirkwood, talks about the value of personable snow reporting. Also, corrections for Turbocristal, Areco and KneeBinding.

Written by Tim Cohee and Staff | 0 comment


By Tim Cohee
Senior VP/Chief Marketing Officer, Mountain Springs–Kirkwood

I began doing snow phone reporting in November of 1979, when I became Snow Summit’s first marketing director, working for Dick Kun. As I have moved to other resorts and moved up the corporate ladder, I never stopped doing snow reports, and this season will be my 30th year. I’m not certain of the number of reports, but it’s very likely over 10,000, including six years at Snow Summit, three at Heavenly, three at Bear Mountain, two at Sunday River, and now 15 at Kirkwood.

It became a well-known fact for many years that the president of Kirkwood was the snow reporter. There are a few important reasons I’ve continued this crazy habit, illustrated by the following brief story.

About three years ago I was walking across our plaza and an attractive woman, sitting with her husband and two children, waived me over. “You’re Tim Cohee,” she said. “Yes, I am,” I responded. She pointed to me and said to her husband, “This is who I wake up with every morning.” This announcement was news to both of us, but apparently I am #1 on her speed dial, and when her alarm goes off she reaches over and hits #1, every day, all winter. Never underestimate the power of making a personal connection with your guests!

I moved out of daily operations in 2006 nearly full time into real estate as president of Kirkwood Real Estate. At a board of directors meeting, with probably 15 people at the table, we discussed my new role. Then board chairman Chuck Cobb looked at me and said, “What about the snow phone? I know you’re not going to be focused on resort business full time, but your role in the snow phone is not up for negotiation!” Needless to say I continued snow phone reporting during my two years away from daily resort management.

“Never underestimate the power of making a personal connection with your guests.”

This past May I moved back into a resort role as SVP/CMO of Mountain Springs–Kirkwood, our holding company which includes the resort and real estate, focusing on marketing, sales, resort profit centers and real estate. And I continue to serve as the voice of Kirkwood’s snow phone. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I hope you all have a great winter, whatever your roles.


Our report on Turbocristal in “Snowmaking 2008” (July) misstated the company’s current lineup. The new Supercrystal fan gun has an improved gpm to amp ratio and its simple design allows for easy automation, efficient production and also longevity (several older Turbocristals are nearing 20 years in age). The Supercrystal was also designed to maximize airflow through the barrel. This drastically changed the design and allowed for a cleaner airflow, thus using less energy while increasing throw and production. The adjustable oscillator reduces cat time for spreading snow. Simple to operate automation “increases production 20 to 30 percent over a manual gun,” says Jason Sawin, western rep for Turbocristal. Plus, the design provides resorts the ability to upgrade to newer technology in the future. Even older guns can be updated easily to the latest nozzle and nucleator design in less than a minute with Turbocristal’s central nozzle technology, which eliminates the need for a filter. Low energy tower/stick guns from Turbocristal include the Sauron and the new LP2.

Our report on Areco in “Snowmaking 2008,” July issue, omitted some key information. Over the past two years, the company has introduced 30-nozzle versions of its fan guns as part of the K.I.S.S. gospel of modern snowmaking. Areco aims to maintain or even improve performance with fewer nozzles while reducing the maintenance demands of multi-nozzle machines. At the same time, “there is continuing demand for our standard 300-nozzle configuration, and a customer base that accepts the required maintenance as the price of performance,” says Ed Dietzel, service manager. “We are offering both versions to give customers what they want, while maintaining the quality we have built our business on.” Models are Supersnow, with a new chassis; updated Standard Economy; and lightweight Areco Jr. The Supersnow and Standard Economy are available in 30-nozzle or multi-nozzle versions. Areco Jr. comes in a 220-nozzle version only.

In our report on KneeBinding (“What’s New,” September 2008), we overstated its release modes: the heel piece incorporates both lateral and vertical release, and lateral release only at the toe. Further, bindings come in both left and right, as the lateral release at the heel is asymmetrical. The reason for these design choices on the directions of release: Many skiers are more concerned about pre-release than no release. Therefore, KneeBinding is designed to release only in modes that will mitigate the “phantom foot” type of knee injury, which is the cause of the majority of ACL tears in skiing, as well as traditional modes.