Seven Oaks Recreation Explains Magic Behind Its Winter Wonderland

BOONE, Iowa – Seven Oaks Recreation is the first outdoor center in central Iowa that is fully open with a chair lift for its winter season.

It is all thanks to the center’s 17 snow machines, Mother Nature, and an upgrade to their snow making process.

Seven Oaks General Manager Joel Bryan said the center put in a more high-pressure snow making line to produce a better snow quality.

“So, we can put as many as 11 snow making machines on one run, which is just greatly reduces the amount of time it takes to get a run open,” Bryan said.

The machines first turned on in November because of the cold temperature.

“The temperature depends on how much water you can put into the atmosphere and have it fall as snow. Put too much water and it’s not freezing, it is basically a mist out there,” Bryan said.

Man-made snow can be made once it hits 28 degrees. Bryan said making snow takes time and the right equipment.

“We convert roughly in cold temperatures in the single digits roughly 1,300 gallons of water a minute into snow. That’s pushed through a snow machine at high pressure and it mixes with nucleated water. That is just an air water mixture. It gets suspended up in the air, freezes and falls to snow.”

Bryan said so far the center has used eight million gallons of water this season. The machines take water from the three on site ponds.

Every day crews go out and till the grounds.

“It’s no different than people mowing their yard. We like straight lines up and down the hill. We want it to look good,” Bryan said.

There are 11 runs for people to enjoy at Seven Oaks. The center see’s on average 800 people a day. During students winter breaks there will be around 1,000 people a day.

People can ski, snowboard and snow tube.

Seven Oaks is open Wednesday through Sunday as follows:

  • Wednesday: 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., check website
  • Thursday: 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., check website
  • Friday: 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • Sunday: 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Click here for more information on prices.