Chester's new snowmaker keeps their slope white

CHESTERTOWN - Move over, Gore Mountain, Killington and Jiminy Peak.

The town of Chester is now producing snow for its skiers, with its own high-capacity, advanced snowmaking machine.

The result is that this season, more skiers than ever are gliding down the town's ski slope, Dynamite Hill.

Best of all, residents and visitors alike can enjoy skiing through the winter without worrying about whether it snowed recently.

Chester Supervisor Fred Monroe reported Tuesday that as many as 300 or 400 people are skiing down Dynamite Hill on an average busy weekend.

"The machine is making a huge amount of snow," Monroe said, noting the snow cover is up to eight feet thick at the hill's base. "With snow on the slope, it's really bringing people into town, plus it's a great recreational opportunity for local children." he said.

Town employee Jason Monroe, Fred's nephew, has been operating the machine, making sure the slope is covered with fresh snow. Much of his work is on his own time, Fred Monroe said.

With the machine operating since December, Dynamite Hill was covered with snow during Christmas break when most other ski resorts and slopes were unsuitable for skiing, Fred Monroe said. The result was a good number of visitors coming to town and fun for local families, he said.

The snowmaking machine was purchased in June for $14,860 with occupancy tax money, Monroe said.

The used machine, built by Lenko Snow A.B., was last at work at the ski resort in Aspen Colo., according to Bill Van Zee, a Lenko representative based in Queensbury. He sells and leases snow machines all over the nation and internationally.

Dynamite Hill, with about a 600-foot run and 60 feet in vertical drop, is where generations of local children first learned to ski, Monroe said.

Monroe ought to know.

In the mid-1960s, he was a ski instructor for the town at Dynamite Hill, and that's where he, too, learned to ski.

Monroe said the ski hill, complete with its new snowmaking equipment, offered valuable economic benefits for the Chester community.

Many people who've been in town this winter - staying in motels and inns, eating in local restaurants - have reported they were attracted by Dynamite Hill and its ever-present blanket of snow, Monroe said.

"It's great, and pretty unique," he said. "Not many towns, if any, are making snow and providing skiing like we do."

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