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City Camp Fortune's opening is the earliest in decade; Ski resort's equipment can make more snow than in previous years Ilana Belfer Ottawa Citizen 578 words 12 November 2012 Ottawa Citizen OTCT Final C4 English Copyright © 2012 Ottawa Citizen Skiers counting down the days to a new season didn't have to be quite so patient this year. Camp Fortune opened its slopes on Sunday - its earliest starting date in a decade.

TD There was a morning rain and no snow in sight outside the resort, but the chairlift was in full operation on beginner-level run Pineault. Some skiers and snowboarders even traded snowsuits for T-shirts as their gear hit powder for the first time in months. "It's a strip of snow with grass on either side of it," said Camp Fortune co-owner Bob Sudermann, "but that strip of snow has 500 people on it right now." Last year, the hill didn't open until the beginning of December. Sudermann said there are two reasons for the change of pace: last week's cold nighttime temperatures and a quarter-million-dollar upgrade to Camp Fortune's snow-making system, which he said allows them to make 50 per cent more snow. Snow-making involves shooting water out of a nozzle at high pressure to produce a fine mist. The mist then hits the cold air and freezes. Sudermann said the upgrade involved buying tower snow-making guns, which place that nozzle 20 feet in the air. "So when that mist shoots out, it has that much more hang time. A water droplet has all this time exposed to cold temperatures to freeze and make a drier snow," he said. Sudermann said they also increased the system's water capacity from pumping 1,000 gallons per minute to 1,500 gallons per minute. More water means more snow. "In a 24-hour period of snow-making, we can open a run, as opposed to taking two to three days," Sudermann said. Camp Fortune, located in Chelsea, is the first Ottawa-area ski hill to open this season. The early start benefits seasonal employees such as "lefties," who operate the chairlifts, because they get extra shifts. But liftie Spencer Middlemiss said he's more excited about the prospect of "shredding." "It has been a long summer," he said. Page 1 of 2 © 2014 Factiva, Inc. All rights reserved.

Even though only one run was opened, the skiers and snowboarders who showed up - Sudermann called them the "diehards" - were not disappointed. "I'm going to frame my ticket ... it's even better than spring skiing. And this morning (the snow) was still packed enough that you could carve and turn," said skier Marie Pierre Kennedy. "Now I feel my legs are ready to ski more." Those keen to hit the slopes can expect to see more runs open within the next few weeks, depending on the weather, Sudermann said. Camp Fortune will be open again Monday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on upcoming weekends. Lift tickets currently cost a reduced rate of $20 per adult and $10 per child. To view more Camp Fortune photographs and see video footage, go to ART Mike Carroccetto, Postmedia News / Skiers ride the chairlift in the early morning fog at Camp Fortune on Sunday. There wasn't much in the way of white stuff, but no one seemed to mind. 'It's a strip of snow with grass on either side of it,' said Camp Fortune co-owner Bob Sudermann, 'but that strip of snow has 500 people on it right now.'; caon : Ontario | cana : Canada | namz : North America Ottawa Citizen Document OTCT000020121112e8bc0001v

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