Snow made of clear spring water – optimized snow management

Snowmaking has become an essential part of modern winter sports. Snow guarantee, reliable offers and a well-groomed deep snow cover form the basis of high-quality winter sports that meet visitors’ expectations.


Did you know . . . ?

Natural and artificial snow are physically identical

  • that, seen from a physical perspective, artificial snow is identical to natural snowflakes? In nature, a drop of water falls from a great height before it reaches the ground and thus has a lot of time to freeze. Snowmaking uses the same physical principles. Clear water is pushed through a nozzle by the force of a turbine and thereby nebulized. While these fine water droplets fall towards the ground they freeze and become snow.
  • that snow can be produced at temperatures lower than minus 2 °C depending on air humidity? Optimal snowmaking is achieved at temperatures of around minus 10°C. Lift operators carefully monitor the weather conditions to achieve an optimal benefit ratio.

Artificial snow is more compact and more durable than natural snow

  • that for a well-prepared ski run less artificial snow is needed than natural snow? 20 cm of artificial snow equal up to about 50 to 60 cm of natural powder. To make natural snow navigable, it has to be compressed a lot more.

  • that artificially produced snow keeps a lot longer than natural snow? The snow crystals are smaller and the snow cover thus denser. By adjusting the nozzles on the machines, snow of different qualities can be produced. In contrast to a natural snow cover, good snow quality can be maintained even in changing weather conditions.

Snow cannons and snow lances

  • that our snowmaking equipment consists of either snow cannons or snow lances? Snow lances have especially low energy consumption because they only use high pressure to push the water up into the air where the droplets then freeze into fine snowflakes. However, the lances can only be used when temperatures drop lower than minus 5 °C.

Clear, pure water – nothing else!

  • that snow in the Wintersport-Arena Sauerland is made exclusively from clear, pure spring water? Furthermore, the process does not consume water in the usual sense. When the snow melts, all the water seeps back into the natural water cycle. If the water is taken directly from mountain streams, the authorities determine the exact amount to be taken in advance. In other instances, operators build small reservoirs that collect water during rainy periods that is later used for snowmaking.

Snow is a valuable resource

  • that the production of one cubic metre of snow, including expenses for staff, energy, acquisition and maintenance of the equipment, costs around 2 Euros? To cover a ski run, 1 km long and 30 m wide, with a 30 cm (compressed) snow cover, operators need about 10,000 cubic metres of snow. That amounts to about 20,000 Euros for the initial snow cover alone! One cubic metre of water is needed to produce 2 cubic metres of snow.
  • that snow is considered a valuable resource? Lift operators only produce enough of this valuable material to keep the season running. Snow is not produced before mid November or after the end of March.
  • that modern, effective snow management is vital to extend the durability of snow? Lift operators have acquired comprehensive knowledge on how to optimize the durability and quality of the resource snow. Continual grooming of the slopes is one of the crucial factors.