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>  News Releases >   2008 >   December

Dupré gift funds major snowmaking upgrades to Dartmouth Skiway

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 12/05/08 • Media Contact: Sue Knapp • (603) 646-3661 

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Making snow at the Dartmouth Skiway
Courtesy Dartmouth SkiwayMaking snow at the Dartmouth Skiway
Photo by Joseph Mehling '69

This winter the Dartmouth Skiway, located fourteen miles from campus in Lyme, N.H., will substantially improve its snowmaking production and energy efficiency with a $750,000 gift from four former Dartmouth skiers and their families. The gift from sisters Denise Dupré, Class of 1980, Rosi Dupré Littlefield ’82, Anni Dupré Santry ’83, and Michele Dupré ’88, and their families recognizes the achievements of the Duprés’ father, Herman K. Dupré, an internationally known inventor and entrepreneur in the snowmaking industry.

“Growing up in Pennsylvania in the 1940s, our dad dreamed of skiing for Dartmouth. His bags were packed, but at the last minute he was needed at home to run the family farm,” said the Duprés. “It was his and our mom’s hard work and encouragement that enabled us to attend the College and ski competitively. They were both avid skiers and passionate about our educations, skiing, and the ski business. With our gift we wanted to show our appreciation, and give Dartmouth first-rate snowmaking capabilities, which our father helped design.”

This gift will enable Dartmouth to greatly improve the coverage and efficiency of its snowmaking system over the next two years with expertise and equipment from Snow Economics Inc., the Natick, Mass.-based company that Herman Dupré founded in 1991 with his son-in-law Charles Santry, a 1989 graduate of the Tuck School of Business. Dartmouth’s newly updated snowmaking system is designed to allow more ski terrain to be open in a shorter period of time, earlier in the season, and at lower cost—giving Dartmouth’s ski team a consistent training ground and the Upper Valley community a more reliable snow condition recreational facility. The Skiway expects to save $50,000 to $75,000 a year in energy costs with the new equipment and provide both better and more snow from the beginning to the end of the ski season.

The Skiway will nearly triple the number of snowguns in use on both the Holt and Winslow sides of the mountain, from 100 to roughly 275. New energy-efficient technology will enable increased snow production using the system’s current horsepower. New valve houses will be built to enable crews to focus snow production on specific trails without the need to protect against pipe freeze-ups; submersible booster pumps will be installed to access water that previously went unused from the bottom twenty-five percent of the existing pond; and new pumphouse instrumentation will enable snowmaking teams to better monitor the system’s performance, among other features.

“We’re so grateful to the Duprés and their families for this investment, which not only recognizes Herman Dupré’s groundbreaking contributions to the ski industry but will benefit skiers at Dartmouth and in our surrounding communities for years to come,” said President James Wright. “The Duprés are a renowned skiing family, and Denise, Rosi, Anni, and Michele contributed so much to our campus as student-athletes in the 1980s. With this gift they will enable future generations of skiers to excel. A trail at the Skiway on the Winslow side will be named Herman’s Highway for Herman Dupré and a tribute to him will be placed in the McLane Family Lodge.”

Herman Dupré holds thirty-four U.S. patents, most of which are related to snowmaking, and developed one of the largest snowmaking systems in the world at Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Champion, Penn., where he was CEO for forty years. He is currently the chief engineer for Snow Economics, whose snowmaking equipment is used at many major ski areas worldwide. His wife, Sis McSwigan, was a passionate and gifted teacher of English and physical education in the Pittsburgh schools and was a full partner in their daughters’ academic and athletic pursuits. Both have devoted their time and philanthropy to education, naming the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Complex and establishing the Great Teacher Recognition Program at Saint Vincent College, Herman’s alma mater, from which he holds an honorary Doctor of Science degree. All of the couple’s nine daughters—Denise, Laura, Rosi, Anni, Janeen, Heidi, Gretl, Michele, and Reneé—are avid skiers.

The Skiway had already made major improvements to its facilities this year by widening trails and installing safety netting to meet International Ski Federation (FIS) standards. This past summer the Skiway blasted and regraded nearly 200,000 square feet of Worden’s Schuss, its FIS-approved competition giant slalom course, and Lowell Thomas, its competition slalom course. This work followed the installation last November of nearly 1,400 feet of permanent safety netting, known as A-net, on Worden’s Schuss to bring it up to the most current FIS ski racing standards. The additional width will give racers a much greater margin of safety when pushing the limits of speed and technique. The netting provides significant protection given the higher speeds of today’s intercollegiate and international-caliber racers.

The Dartmouth Skiway is the home of the 2007 NCAA Champion Dartmouth Ski Team and hosted the alpine portion of the 2003 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Skiing Championships. The Skiway regularly hosts numerous FIS- and United States Ski Association-sanctioned races each winter and is the site of Dartmouth’s annual Winter Carnival alpine races. Over its fifty-two-year history the Skiway has seen scores of its racers go on to compete in international and Olympic competitions. Dartmouth has sent athletes to every Olympic Winter Games since the games were founded in 1924. The Skiway also supports several community ski programs, such as the Ford Sayre Memorial Ski Council, Team Spectra, and after-school ski programs for children from the nearby towns.

Dartmouth has television (satellite uplink) and radio (ISDN) studios available for domestic and international live and taped interviews. For more information, call 603-646-3661 or see our Radio, Television capability webpage.

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