Share this article:
Ski resorts’ business runs entirely on the abundance of snow. But what is the plan when Mother Nature doesn't cooperate?
Technology has advanced enough to allow them to create artificial snow – padding Mother Nature’s bounty to the delight of skiers and snowboarders everywhere.
Anna Cole, communications manager at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Teton Village, Wyo., said, “The technological advances in snow-making have really helped the ski industry be able to stick to open days that they have published.”
But to create the snow, three elements are still needed: low temperatures, water and compressed air. For ideal snow-making, temperatures need to be below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
“You can make snow at 28 degrees or cooler, but that is not the ideal temperature to make snow. The colder, the better,” Cole explained.
When the temperatures are optimal, water is fed through snow guns which utilize compressed air to create snow. Skiers may notice some slight differences in the artificial snow as compared to natural snowfall.
“You can definitely tell the difference. [Artificial snow] holds moisture differently. Sometimes it will get scratchier. It will get icier than natural snow,” Cole said.
Differences aside, creating artificial snow allows skiers to get a jump-start before the first snowfall and optimize their time on the slopes. The main purpose of these snow guns is to create a base in the early ski season – late October to January for Western resorts.
When conditions are ideal during these times, Cole said, “We are blowing snow 24 hours a day.”
After January ends, the ski resorts usually have enough natural snow to sustain the base for the rest of the ski season.
Looking forward, Cole hopes snow-making will become an ever greater asset to Jackson Hole.
“There has been tons of innovations in terms of efficiency and how they've automated these very complex systems. We've invested significantly in our snow-making systems over the past few years and will continue to do so.”
Due to their snow making capabilities, the Western Jackson Hole Ski Resort will be opening on Thanksgiving Day this year.
Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.
Heavy storms moving across the Upper Midwest this weekend created hazardous flooding that resulted in many road closures and washouts.
Intense heat will last into the early week before thunderstorms bring relief by midweek.
Carlotta will elevate the risk of flooding in southern Mexico into Sunday night.
Showers and thunderstorms may return to some of the venues hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup matches early this week.
Cooler air will rush from Canada southward into parts of the Midwest and Great Lakes early this week, bringing an end to the recent intense heat.
The National Capital Region is among the communities across northwestern India being shrouded by dust and poor air quality as the advancement of the monsoon has stalled.
The central United States will be the focal point for flooding downpours and locally severe thunderstorms through Tuesday.
Downpours and severe thunderstorms will continue to cruise the northern tier of the central United States through this weekend.