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Snow Cannons

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Snow Cannons

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Can anyone give me a simple explanation on when resorts actually use their snow machines ? With all this recent talk of resorts needing more snow to top up he pistes, surely now is the time to use these machines ? When you look at the brochures many resorts sseem to claim they have 80-90% coverage - so what;s the problem - why don't they just get using them ? I understand they cant use them if it's too warm - is this because the air needs to be cold enough to create the man-made snow, or are they just worried that it will just melt straight away if it's not below zero ?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
ArseneWengen, a bit of an odd post, really. What makes you think they're not using them?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
valdisere.com go onto webcams pick the solaise lift and if you look carefully,very, you will see a mobile cannon blasting out some white stuff Very Happy
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its stopped now !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! but was working at 852 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! funny
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Can't help myself, there is no S on the plural.
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Quote:
The lower the air temperature is, the more and the better snow a cannon can make. This is the main reason snow cannons are usually operated in the night.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowmaking
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
wiki has an explanation of snowmaking which gives plenty of details.

Last Thursday many cannons and lances were blasting out in the Ellmau - Scheffau region. Sometimes they only run at night, though, since skiing through the falling snow isn't always all that pleasant.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
pam w - I assumed with all the reports saying that many resorts were struggling with a lack of snow that they weren't using them.

Surely if they were switched on there would be snow ? If that makes sense !
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ArseneWengen wrote:
pam w - I assumed with all the reports saying that many resorts were struggling with a lack of snow that they weren't using them.

Surely if they were switched on there would be snow ? If that makes sense !


Snow cannons don't make that much snow, it takes days to produce enough snow to make a decent piste. Snow cannons are also dam expensive to run and so are often used just to patch up bad sections. Cannons are often not used when ......

a) The weather forecast predicts warm weather in the future as it will only melt.

b) The weather forecast predicts a significant dump of snow (possibly the case at the moment)
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ArseneWengen, until last Wednesday it had been too warm throughout most of Europe to use them. As DB, says, a few days of cold isn't enough to turn a meadow into a piste.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Cheers folks, v.clear explanations.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
ArseneWengen, another key factor especially in French Tarentaisse resorts is the availability of water, there has been in recent summers severe drought which leaves a restricted water supply for snowmaking in the winter.
If you look at the reservoir (pan to the right) on this webcam you can see the amount of water used, the reservoir just supplies the Montalbert sector of La Plagne for snowmaking.
Right now in the reservoir you can see the snowline below that has been cosumed by snowmaking this season so far.
http://webcam-ski.com/interfaces/la-plagne/interface.php?pk_interface=401&m=images&r=panoramique#depart

Little fact for you
Quote:
each snowmaker can make 30 cubic meters of snow an hour using 15 cubic meters of water per hour.


Last edited by And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports. on Tue 25-01-11 10:40; edited 1 time in total
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Also, only a proportion of runs are equipped with cannons, usually the lower ones (sorry tiffin, I know Tennyson didn't have an s, but in common parlance "cannons" is fine, I think. Most of wouldn't say "the cannon have been running all night", would we?)
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Boredsurfing, I aslo found out this week that they need to get permission from the local authourities to fill the resorvoir from the stream lower down near Adrrets, I saw the other day that they where pumping water into the damm from the stream!, they then have to decide which slopes have priority on who gets the snow. The night before last they where flatening out the man made stuff and the slopes down to Monty where great infact better than some of the slopes at higher alt. So if we do have a dry cold season bring on the cannons!!! Madeye-Smiley Smile
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
cockofthenorth, ah! I thought they could fill it up from Bief Bovet when they wanted! After all when it melts thats where it goes back to, surely Very Happy
The Montalbert pistes look brilliant considering it hasn't snowed properly since January 14th !!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
ArseneWengen wrote:
I assumed with all the reports saying that many resorts were struggling with a lack of snow that they weren't using them.

Not a good assumption.

Snow cannons are a rather poor imitation of the real one. It's slow, has very limited coverage, the snow made being poorer quality than the real natural snow. Not to mention rather expensive to operate...

In short, in a poor snow year the resort can blast continueously with their snow cannons and still end up with a lack of snow for their skiing guests.

(haha, I know it all too well, living in a region with marginal natural snow fall -- not this year though, it's been too much snow and not enough ploughs to clear the roads Smile )
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
abc wrote:
Snow cannons are a rather poor imitation of the real one. It's slow


not as slow as grass Toofy Grin
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
abc, actually, my understanding is that snow cannons can make snow every bit as good as the best sky produced stuff but it requires colder temperatures and wouldn't last as long so the resorts don't bother, preferring to produce stuff that resembles concrete as much as possible to get th emost life out of it.
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It's been snowing on and off since the middle of last week. I don't think lack of natural snow is much of an issue right now.
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Quote:

It's been snowing on and off since the middle of last week. I don't think lack of natural snow is much of an issue right now.


There are plenty of places where it is still an issue - most of France, for a start.
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pam w, ooops sorry, I've only really been checking Austria weather reports and webcams. I wrongly assumed that the snow had been generously covering the whole of the Alps.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
queen bodecia, that's O\k, we won't entirely blame you for the lack of snow further west. wink
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
In Obertauren last week they had the cannons going constant;y form Wednesday to Saturday
There was also a lot of real snow fall
We were told that as they want to stay open till the start of May this year they are trying to build up as big a base as they can.
Bit of a pain when you ski through one though snowHead
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under a new name wrote:
abc, actually, my understanding is that snow cannons can make snow every bit as good as the best sky produced stuff but it requires colder temperatures and wouldn't last as long so the resorts don't bother, preferring to produce stuff that resembles concrete as much as possible to get th emost life out of it.

Indeed, and one of the evironmentally unfriendly aspects of artificial snowmaking -- and artificial snowmaking is very environmentally unfriendly -- is that this "concrete" takes much longer to melt in the spring than normal snow, which has a damaging effect on the life cycle of the flora which would ordinarily grow on those pistes.
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Quote:

We were told that as they want to stay open till the start of May this year

Obertauern is always 'open' up to and incuding the 1st May. The last week is just one run but still worth playing in!
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Several other things to consider. Humidity is also an important factor, the lower the better. This is one reason why making snow has been problematic in the UK. It may also be a reason why snow making is so effective in the Dolomites where i suspect humidity is very low (?) and the runs are generally flatter and smoother than the western Alps.

An alternative or supplement to snow making, is to trap as much of the natural stuff as possible when it falls. Hence most Alpine reports have snow fencing, particularly on windy ridges and exposed cols. In the Pyrennes, Canada, America, Scotland and even here in England, snow fencing is used extensively to build up a base. It is far cheaper than making it !
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Certainly in previous years in the 3 valleys when snow has been plentiful they have stock piled it just in case, to spread around to keep pistes fresh but this only works later in the season after they have had lots of snow to stockpile.

I have spoken to our chalet owner in 3 valleys recently (4 days ago) & they need a good snow dump , the snow cannons are working at night and they are concerned over the availabilty over water after dry summers.

I've not noticed too much difference of snow cannon snow & the real stuff that has hung around for a while as oppose to fresh snow, except very icy close to the cannon. but then we ski early in the season when it can be difficult conditions if there hasn;t been a lot of early snow...

I do find a big difference when skiing over artificial snow that has been in the past put down in high traffic areas that aren;t covered by cannons.

Luckily we have 10 weeks before we return so there is hope of snow between then & now..

Noisey
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