Trevor Arbour, left, and George Hamilton walk out for the last snow gun run of the day as dawn breaks Tuesday at Lost Valley in Auburn. Hamilton, who felt a “call to arms” when the pandemic hit, came to Lost Valley to make snow. “People need this,” Hamilton said. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Trevor Arbour looks out the window of the Weasel Hut on Tuesday at the snowmaking guns at Lost Valley. Owner Scott Shanaman finishes a cup of coffee next to the wood stove before heading out for a ski run. Shanaman slept overnight at the ski area so he could be on hand in case of any emergencies as the snowmaking operations began for the season. The warming shack was originally a ski patrol shack at the top of a ski run named Weasel. When the shack was moved to the bottom of the ski area, it kept the Weasel name. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Trevor Arbour bangs on a snowmaking tower gun Tuesday to dislodge ice chunks clogging up the nozzle at Lost Valley in Auburn. Arbour works from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Usually, he works with one other person checking snow guns and troubleshooting operations. Arbour said he daydreams about making snow in the middle of the summer while he gardens. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Trevor Arbour stands Tuesday at the top of Lost Valley at sunrise. Arbour said watching the sun rise is one of his favorite parts of the job. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Trevor Arbour adjusts the angle of a snowmaking gun Tuesday at the top of Lost Valley in Auburn. At the beginning of the season, snowmakers focus on laying down a base of dense snow. As the temperatures drop, they will adjust the mixture of water and air to make lighter, fluffier snow. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Snowmaking at Lost Valley started Saturday and will continue when temperatures allow. The ski area is planning to be open for school vacation week in December. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Scott Shanaman enters the pump room Tuesday at Lost Valley in Auburn. Shanaman is unusually hands-on for a ski area owner, preferring to keep a close eye on snowmaking operations. “Snowmaking is the most expensive, the most dangerous thing that we do. It’s easy to lose money, fast,” Shanaman said. “I like to keep on top of that.” Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Trevor Arbour checks snowmaking guns and hydrants Tuesday at the summit of Lost Valley in Auburn. “After being out here in the cold, getting wet and lugging hoses, it makes it worth it to see everyone with their families enjoying the snow,” Arbour said. When the ski area has a foundation of snow, he will often ride his snowboard down the trails while checking the guns. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Scott Shanaman, the owner of Lost Valley Ski Area, does a gun run Tuesday morning at Lost Valley in Auburn. The ski area will add trails to the snowmaking schedule in a specific order to maximize the number of trails it can open. “There were more new people skiing last year, and people returning to the sport after a long time away. I felt like what we were doing was important to people,” Shanaman said. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Trevor Arbour heats up a frozen snowmaking hydrant Tuesday with a propane torch at Lost Valley in Auburn. Every snowmaking gun and hydrant is monitored while it is running to keep operations efficient. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Trevor Arbour looks up at the snowmaking nozzles Tuesday morning at Lost Valley in Auburn. Arbour and ski area owner Scott Shanaman fired up the guns on the Bobcat trail to make sure everything was operating. Snowmaking at Lost Valley will pause until Friday when the temperatures are cold enough to make snow again. Bobcat will be the next trail covered. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.