Snowmaking and Our Winter Wonderland

By Brad Bates, Head of School

Dublin School’s snowmaking system had its first live test over the weekend, and it exceeded all expectations. On Wednesday, Dublin School was asked to host the first Lakes Region Association prep school race since no other school had enough snow to host the event. Seeing the smiles on the racers faces as they sped around the manmade loop on Dublin School’s Memorial Field confirmed our greatest hopes for this project. 

Dublin decided to add a snowmaking system to provide a training surface for its skiers and snowboarders during the early weeks of the season. Most of our students learn how to ski and snowboard in late November and December, before the competition season begins in earnest in January. While this winter has been difficult, New England is known for having cold and snowless Decembers, a January thaw, and then great late season snow in February and March when the prep school ski and snowboard seasons are almost over. While the snowmaking system takes energy to run, having skiing and snowboarding on campus actually cuts down on our overall fuel cost by significantly reducing travel by bus to ski areas with snowmaking systems.

Like so many other projects at Dublin School, the snowmaking system was designed internally by our joint trustee and staff Building Committee. Engineer and trustee George Foote designed a cost and energy efficient system that uses very little water and fuel to make snow for a short practice loop for the Nordic Ski Team while also covering the Norm Wight Ski Slope for the Alpine and Snowboard teams. Ian Jarrett of HKD Snowmakers went out of his way to support the project and provide the four guns that make the snow. Trustee Carl Von Mertens volunteered his own time to build the beautiful pump house to store the engines running the system. We thank the trustees, parents and alumni parents who made this dream come true for our snow sport enthusiasts. A special thank you to our Buildings and Grounds staff, Andy Hungerford, Larry Ames, Dylan Pierpont, Bob Miles, Mark Sirois, and Norm Bergeron for their efforts to bring the system to life. Our new snowmaking guru and snow groomer Jeremy Bouchard says it is one of the best systems with which he has worked. 

Skiing was the signature sport at Dublin School throughout the 1940’s and 1950’s, and the Lehmann family, led by son Michael Lehmann, has been instrumental in providing the very best skiing experience for our students. With the new Dublin School Nordic Center, new Steele Boathouse, Whitney Boathouse, Norm Wight Ski Slope, Whitney Gymnasium, Alumni Field, Memorial Field, new Horgan Tennis Center, and Morton designed cross-country running and mountain biking trail, Dublin School has some of the finest and most beautiful athletic facilities for its students in all of New England.