New Snowmaking Technology Makes Ski Resorts Less Reliant on Mother Nature

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Many ski resorts have installed new automated “airless” snowmaking systems to allow them to make more snow while using less energy. The new technology uses less than 1/3 of the energy of traditional snowmaking systems.

Many ski resorts have installed new automated “airless” snowmaking systems to allow them to make more snow while using less energy. The new technology uses less than 1/3 of the energy of traditional snowmaking systems.

Roundtop Mountain Resort is central Pennsylvania recently added 9 new Techno Alpin automated snowmaking towers to their snowmaking system. The new technology is networked and connected to a weather station so the system can begin producing snow automatically as soon as air temperatures allow. The system also monitors the air temperature and humidity and adjusts accordingly to produce the best snow possible. Many other resorts in the region have also installed this, or similar technology from SMI, Areco and York Snow.

The traditional snowmaking systems also known as “air/water” systems relied on compressed air to propel the water into the air. Unfortunately, compressed air is very expensive to produce and comes out hot. Therefore a lot of energy was used to produce the air as well as cool it. The new “airless” Techno Alpin system uses a large fan to propel the water at a fraction of the energy use. Additional advantages of the new airless systems are extremely quiet operation and better snow quality.

Some people comment on the amount of water that is “wasted” in the snowmaking process. This is a big misconception. The water used for snowmaking usually comes from lakes and ponds on the resort property or from regulated withdrawals from rivers and creeks. The water isn’t really consumed at all. Snowmaking simply moves the water onto the slopes as snow. When warmer weather returns, the majority of the water flows back into the ponds or rivers from where it came. In the dry climates of the Western US, most major cities rely on snow melt for most of their water supply. Ski Resorts simply do that process on a much smaller scale.

For more information, please visit skipaonline.com, or http://www.skiroundtop.com/snowmaking.htm.

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Chris Dudding
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