The science of snowmaking

imgres.jpgWith interest in snow sports steadily growing, Three Rivers has turned to artificial snow making for a more reliable source of the white stuff on our downhill and cross country facilities - including our new lighted 5K trail at Hyland. Keep reading to see how the magic works, and check out this cool kare11 video that shows our operation!

The system consists of water piping and electrical lines buried along the trail. Small water hydrants and power outlets are located on these lines so we can move mobile snowmaking machines around the loop to make snow at strategic locations. The machines draw cold water from a pond and mix it with highly compressed air, splitting the water into tiny droplets, which are then blown out by a fan.

The droplets turn into ice crystals, and as they travel through the air, more water particles condense on the crystals to form larger snowflakes. After the snowflakes fall to the ground, snow-grooming equipment prepares the skiing surface. Without any help from mother nature, it takes between 20 to 25 days of daytime temperatures below 25 degrees to fully snow-in our trails.

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John Gunyou
Three Rivers Parks Board Chair