On the slopes in every indoor ski hall of SnowWorld there is no artificial snow but real snow, just like in the Alps. Perfect for skiing or snowboarding! But how does that "snow making" work? And how do we maintain our slopes so you can hit the slopes with a fresh layer of snow? You can read all about it in this blog.
Artificial snow is often used in ski halls, but not in SnowWorld's. We have real snow on our slopes. Just like in the Alps! But making real fresh snow is not easy.
To begin with, snow is not much more than water and cold air. But in nature, a drop of water has many kilometers to reach the ground and thus also a lot of time to form a snowflake. In our indoor hall, a drop has only a maximum of 25 meters to come down. Quite a difference in height, of course.
We produce our snow with a traditional snow cannon, also called a Fangunn. This cannon causes water to be atomized (divided into small droplets) under high pressure. Then a strong fan blows these mists into the hall with a rotary motion. This rotary motion and the strong fan ensure that the mist remains in the air as long as possible.
We do this so that the mist has enough time to form into a snowflake (crystallize). Of course it is important that the temperature is below zero, otherwise the mist cannot crystallize and we have rain instead of snow. But the cold temperature also causes the snow to stay in the hall.
On our slopes, people ski and snowboard all day long. This also moves the snow quite a bit to the outside of the slopes, or down. The snow is therefore moved back to where it came from every day. This way, guests have a smooth slope every morning and there is the same amount of snow all over.
But the snow is also pressed down and left to rest for several hours. This allows the snow to harden further and it stays in the same place for as long as possible the next day. Because the snow has to rest for several hours, we cannot smooth the slopes during the day. This would mean that the slopes would have to be closed for several hours and our guests wouldn't be able to go down the slopes.
As told earlier, our snow does not melt. However, due to the number of visitors, the snow does become quite heavy. The important thing to know about snowflakes is that these "crystals" have lacy shapes. The stress causes the crystals to lose these lacy shapes and become round. As a result, they feel like granulated sugar or sand and the snow crystals don't stick together much, if at all.
As a result, the snow can no longer be held in place and you can no longer glide properly on it with your skis or board. So we replace the snow periodically on part of the slopes or the entire slopes in order to enjoy the lacy snow crystals throughout the season. We also produce new snow during the high season so that the quality and the snow layer remain up to standard.
The requirements for snow quality vary depending on the type of user. On our slopes come seasoned skiers and snowboarders, as well as beginners or professional teams. Many different users that we all want to accommodate. Regular guests prefer to descend on a well gliding slope with slightly softer snow. While the ski teams prefer a rock hard, icy slope to get more speed.
This is why we produce slightly wetter snow for the ski teams. Here we use more water and less air. For the regular guest, on the other hand, we often produce a slightly drier snow quality. Here we use less water and more air, making the drops smaller and staying in the air longer. This ensures that the snow will stay in place longer and glide better. But the snow is not for playing with. You can't have a snowball fight, unfortunately.