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Newsletter #13

Friends of Oak Hill

As we near the end of the trail and snowmaking construction phase of the project, we understand the curiosity and excitement about opening day.  With that in mind, this newsletter comes quickly on the heels of the last note earlier in the month.  As you might have guessed the recent storm has created some issues with the trails and delays in final construction tasks.  The trails have held up quite well, but will need some repair in the spring to fill a few sink holes and eroded water bars. 

The remaining construction tasks include installation and start-up of pumps in the intake vault and pumphouse, electrical work in the pumphouse, final welding and testing of valves and drains, and compressor wiring and testing.  Once the mechanical and electrical work is completed, hopefully over the next two holiday-shortened weeks, the system will need pressurizing, testing and shakedown.

All of us are anxious for the first night of snowmaking, but we also recognize that this is a complex, multi-year project.  We don’t want to rush the final steps and want to get it right.  The pictures below illustrate some of the scope of the project and the challenging conditions under which our crews are working (and some of our volunteers making benches for the office and rental center).  You’ll also see the newly assembled snow guns, all now on site.

Despite our impatience with the final steps, we have made significant progress this month with some of the longer-term parts of the project:

·       On December 5, the Hanover Planning Board approved the site plan for the parking lot and trail lighting that will be built next summer.  One of our key Dartmouth partners, Tim McNamara, contributed many hours of volunteer work to prepare the site plan submissions.

 ·       Aligning with Dartmouth’s effort to enhance physical and mental health environment for the student body and expand accessible outdoor activities, a group of generous donors has contributed funds to allow all Dartmouth students (undergraduate and graduate) to use the trails without charge for the upcoming season.  The donation is a great example of the partnership between the College and the Oak Hill Outdoor Center and provides important support for our start-up operations.

Crews will be working hard over the next two weeks to complete and test the snowmaking systems.  We look forward to opening the trails early in the new year, and we appreciate your patience!

If you have questions or comments, please let us know at 



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