ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Make Snow

Updated on January 15, 2008

Snow is obviously the single most important component of a great day on the slopes. The personnel at each North Carolina Ski Resort diligently monitor temperature, humidity, and wind to produce the optimum conditions. The snowmaking and grooming crews work throughout the season, day and night, taking advantage of the mountain climate to blanket the slopes with new snow.

The hours spent making snow each season can range from 600-1500, depending on the weather and the location. Some resorts will stockpile snow in key slope locations. When the weather turns warm or even to rain, the large piles of snow are strategically spread over decreasing snow base areas.

Snow forms when water vapor condenses directly into ice crystals. These crystals normally have a diameter of several millimeters and have six lines of symmetry. A snowflake is an aggregate of the ice crystals and may be several centimeters large.

Contrary to what some people may believe, machine-made snow is real snow. There's nothing fake or artificial about it. Snow crystals, no matter how they're produced, are simply tiny crystals of frozen water. In nature, evaporation of water from the ground, rivers, lakes, and the oceans creates moisture in the atmosphere. The moisture condenses, and when the weight of the moisture exceeds the capacity of the air to keep it aloft, it falls to the ground. Under the right conditions, including low temperatures and low humidity, it falls as snow. The crystals often pick up more moisture as they fall, resulting in the variety of shapes for snowflakes.

Machine-made snow is a shortcut in the process of making snow because there is no evaporation phase. The water is pumped as a liquid from a source such as a pond, lake, or reservoir. The water is then forced into a specialized nozzle or gun, where it collides with highly pressurized air. The nozzles can be adjusted to vary the size of the snow. The compressed air shatters the stream of water into tiny particles and launches them into the air.

At this point, the process becomes similar to nature. The droplets of water freeze and fall to the ground. The only difference is that the water doesn't have as much time to freeze before it hits the ground because snowguns can range between 3 feet to 25 feet above the ground. Thus, the air temperature needs to be colder than freezing with low humidity so that the droplets will freeze faster and not collect water, which melts them, on the way down.

Skiing in the North Carolina Mountains

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Brad 

      7 years ago

      Great hub MayberryNC. Im with Fred on this one, I had no idea the amount of hours that went into making snow. Total respect to all the guys and girls out in the middle of the night that get this done so us punters can have a good day on the hill.

    • profile image

      julia 

      8 years ago

      its good

    • profile image

      fredlovesgc 

      9 years ago

      WOW, i didnt know so many hours went into making snow. Respect!

      I went on holiday to Niseko a few years back it was a great experience to lots of natural snow! If you get the chance stay right next to the main gondola in a 8 person chalet, they are so good!

      http://www.gondolachalets.com/

    • MayberryNC profile imageAUTHOR

      MayberryNC 

      10 years ago

      Thanks, Isabella!

    • Isabella Snow profile image

      Isabella Snow 

      10 years ago

      This is cool, thanks for explaining it!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)