Artificial snow! Two words that put a frown the faces of tourism experts as well the lift company personnel. In fact, there is nothing unnatural about artificial snow, although a high level of technical knowledge is required for the production of snow. Even though at this present time you may be walking in flip-flops on hot sand and stomping through cold snow is far from your thoughts – today I am making a plea for 100% pure snow!
Let‘s pretend, it is early winter, and the lift company managers are all good to go. All the snow cannons have been recently cleaned and restored after the summer months and are all in position in the Skicircus. The weather forecast predicts temperatures to fall, and those with sensitive noses can sense the smell of snow in the air. With sophisticated technology and ongoing investment, Mother Nature can be somewhat supported. The snowmakers head off to work and position the cannons shouting the command “Let it snow”!
The laws of purity & snowmaking
Fresh water and pure air – this makes up the snow where winter sports enthusiasts make their turns in the Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn explain the snow experts of the Skicircus. During the summer months, cows and sheep graze on the blooming Alpine pastures. Hikers and nature lovers are especially pleased with the vast variety of healing Alpine herbs, but it won’t be long before the meadows are transformed with a thick blanket of artificial snow. Even during a winter where Mother Nature blesses us with lots of snow, an initial layer of artificial snow is the ideal base for a long winter season, with the pistes open until Easter.
It’s all about the wet bulb
What is the technical process of turning water and air into snow? Well, just one cold night isn’t sufficient to produce snow, a cold period lasting a few days is necessary. And this is where the wet bulb comes into play. When the temperatures are above freezing but only with very low humidity the purest water is pumped from the reservoirs, without additives of course and transported via the pipelines to the snow cannons, lances and propeller machines. Down in the valley, it is possible to hear the whir of the machines. For those who are wondering why the snow cannons on operating on one side of the piste but not the other, this is where the wet ball comes into play again. Temperature and humidity often change within just a few metres of altitude. Measuring instruments relay information back to the managers and their teams who have a perfect feeling for snow. Hence in winters where there is a sparse covering of natural snow, they can conjure up perfect pistes in just a few nights – from water and air and nothing else!..
90 % perfectly snow-covered pistes
13 reservoirs with a total holding capacity of 1,040.300 m³ of clear water supplies the entire snowmaking network in the Skicircus – thus ensuring that guests get the maximum skiing pleasure on 90% of the pistes. The masters of snow conjure up approx. 2.5 cubic metres of snow from just one cubic metre of water. 771 snow cannons, 211 mobile snow cannons and 238 snow lances provide mechanically generated snow.