Mother Nature does not always cooperate when it comes to natural snow for our winter recreation, the solution: snowmaking. The basic requirements for manmade snow are compressed air, water and electricity.
When you take a look around the base area you will see ponds, open top tanks, carriage snowmakers and a couple of tower snowmakers. What you don’t see is the underground network of electrical wire and pipelines that supply those snowmakers. The snowmaking pump supplies these snowmakers with up to 500 gallons per minute at 400 PSI capable of producing 300,000 gallons of water in one night. It takes approximately 200,000 gallons of water to make one acre foot of snow.
The water is combined with air from a compressor on the snowmaker into the nucleator where it forms the nucleus of a tiny snow particle. With the water near freezing temperature and air expanding at 140 PSI to normal atmospheric pressure, a snow flake is born. Dependent on temperature and humidity, the amount of water supplied to each snowmaker varies from 31 to 125 gallons per minute. The large fan propels the snowflake into the air where it freezes, going up as water, and coming down as snow onto the slope
A calculation known as the “wet-bulb temperature” is used when determining how much snow can be made. The most efficient snowmaking occurs in the low teens with low humidity. At these temperatures, an optimum amount of water can be added to the nucleus without causing any freezing problems. As temperatures and humidity rise, the amount of water needs to be decreased in order to create a dry, fluffy quality of snow. Snow can be efficiently made at a temperature and humidity factor not exceeding 100, and at temperatures up to 36 degrees Fahrenheit.
Temp x Humidity= Wet Bulb Temperature
32F x 50% = 27
26F x 70% = 23
20F x 40% = 15
12F x 20% = 7