MENTONE, Ala. - The Cloudmont Ski Resort has brought snow to North Alabama every year since the 70s. "My oldest brother was an engineer, graduated from the University of Florida. We were doing the golf and resort lodging and all that. He wanted to find a way to stay year round and make money during the winter time," says Janis Carrier, the resort manager.
Founder Jack Jones and his son did a little research. "They went up to Virginia and checked out the snowmaking," says Carrier.
They found a way for people to trade in their shoes for snow boots while taking a trip to Mentone. The current weather conditions make it the best time to make the artificial snow. "It has to be 28 or colder and the ground has to be frozen to make snow. It takes about 20 hours of snow for us to open up one slope, about 30 or 40 hours to open up both slopes."
Cloudmont uses fire hoses to shoot water through the snow machines. The machine, needing an extremely cold atmosphere, sprays the water out in a fan like motion, creating the snow. "We missed the holidays," says Carrier. "It was kind of warm out. Then we opened December 31st."
Cloudmont Resort had a very tough time last year due to the drought. "Our worst year was last year we had seven days. Our best year was years ago and we had 93 days."
From the looks of winter so far, they're expecting to be open for the majority of winter this year.