Reports To: Grooming/Snowmaking Supervisor and Asst Supervisor/Pumphouse Foremen
Snowmakers work as part of the Grooming/Snowmaking team. They are responsible for assisting in the smooth running of the snowmaking operation including, but not limited to snowmaking, maintenance, daily checks, etc. Trail crew shifts are available at times when snowmaking shifts are not. Trail crew shifts are 8 hours per day, Monday to Friday under the direction of the Safety Operations or Special Events depts.
The incumbent should expect to be working outside in any, all and sometimes adverse weather conditions.
This is a full time, seasonal role, 7 of 14 days over a two-week period from mid-October to Mid-February each operating season. The rotation is 4 days on 3 days off, 3 days on 4 off, 12 hours per shift. Please note that you may not receive full-time hours at the beginning/end of the season and during other slow periods.
Alberta Employment Standards regarding probationary periods apply.
A Day/Night in the Life of a Snowmaker
The fresh cold rocky mountain air greets you as you step out to grab the truck that evening with two to three other snowmakers you will be working with over the course of your shift. It wakes you quickly as you hurry to the convenience store to load up on coffees and other essentials necessary for your shift. As you pull into the yard at around 11pm, you look up the stars are out and the wind is low, a perfect night for snowmaking. You head into the shop and start your change over meeting with dayshift, they tell you how the shift went, what snowguns are running and the settings they are running at, the temperature around the various snowmaking sights on the mountain and any other relevant information that might help you.
As day-shift leaves the hill it is time for the first round of snowgun checks at the start of your shift. First thing to do is do the pre-start checks on your snowmobile. Then you layer up with balaclavas, gloves, and your provided warm and waterproof snowmaking jacket. You then attach your headlamp to your helmet and place a radio in your pocket then hop onto the snowmobile and head out into the night under the direction of your shift foreman.
You head up a ski run to the first snowgun you are going to check that night, its spotlight illuminating the stream of snow it is throwing off under the roar of the fan. You park your snowmobile near the gun to do your gun check. First checking gauges to ensure the water and air pressures are correct, then a quick visual inspection of the gun to make sure nothing has frozen up or that anything is leaking. Then you head out into the stream of snow to check the quality of production using of a variety of tests to determine if the snow is either too wet or too dry or just right. Depending on the results of your tests you adjust the snow gun accordingly to produce the best quality snow. Then jump back on your snowmobile and continue to the next gun to check until all checks are complete.
Over the course of the night, you will head out for multiple gun checks each time checking for the quality of the snow and any freeze-ups. If you encounter a gun where something has frozen you will pull the tiger torch off the back of your sled, light it up and use it to slowly defrost the component which froze. On a gun check you park your sled for a second and look all around you, the streetlights of Jasper illuminate in the valley bottom coupled with a blanket of stars shining above and if you’re lucky you might even see the northern lights dancing in the skies above.
Around six in the morning some of the guns might need to be shut down as they have hoses strung out across the various runs that snow is made on. Working efficiently as a team you shut the snow guns down coiling their power cables up and draining the hose to the sides of the runs. At some point during this, the sun will come out rising behind the spectacular mountain scenery of Jasper Alberta and as the sun rises you can feel it warm you up and energize you for the rest of your shift. You take the drained hose back to the shop and hang it up, so it dries during the day. If the conditions allow at this point you will fire up a couple daytime running guns.
At nine in the morning the lifts open, if there is no other pressing work to do you can put your ski or snowboard boots on and then go out and get some turns in the lower mountain and check your guns while you’re riding around. Soon enough it will be 11am and dayshift will be showing up to take over for the day. You will do the shift hand-over meeting, get in the truck and head home for the day to rest up and do it all again the next night.
- Set up and take down snowmaking equipment
- Transfer snow guns and hoses to different locations around the mountain
- Complete daily checks, maintain proper working order of snow guns and equipment
- Make snow as determined by the Grooming/Snowmaking Supervisor and/or Asst Supervisor
- Work safely at all times, point out any safety concerns which would put any employee in an unsafe situation
- Assist in all emergency situations
- Successfully complete Marmot Basin Snowmobile and ATV training
- Assist other departments as required and perform any other work necessary to run the overall operation
- Adherence to the company’s policies and procedures as set out in the “Grooming/Snowmaking Training Manual”
- All Marmot Basin employees will conduct themselves in compliance with Alberta Occupational Health and Safety legislation as it relates to their job.
- Respect and adhere to the company’s policies and procedures as set in the “Corporate Policies”, “Employee Handbook” and “Snowmaking Training Manual”.
- Ski Industry experience (an asset)
- Previous snowmaking or snowcat operating experience (an asset)
- Able to ski/snowboard in all types of mountain terrain in varying weather conditions at an intermediate or advanced level
- Physically fit
- Mechanical background; experience working with pumps and/or high-pressure equipment
- Valid Class 5 driver’s license or equivalent & clean abstract
- Willing to work flexible shifts
- Professional deportment with excellent customer service skills: experience dealing with all on-.hill patrons and co-workers.
- Cheerful, outgoing personality; demonstrated temperament and disposition for stressful situations or irate customers.
- Self-motivated and able to work unsupervised.
- Strong team member able to take direction.
- Motivated and observant; able to perceive needed tasks and complete them without direction.
- Self-aware; able to identify strengths and gaps in own abilities and training.
- Able to use taught skills and previous experience to problem solve.
Please note that you may not receive full-time hours at the beginning/end of the season and during other slow periods.
- Pay Type Hourly
- Employment Indicator Seasonal
- Marmot Basin, 1 Marmot Road, Jasper, Alberta, Canada