How Ski Resorts Use Industrial Air Compressors to Make Snow
Ski resorts produce millions of cubic feet of snow per year to supplement natural snowfall and to extend the ski season. Snowmaking will continue to increase as resorts are seeing less annual snowfall. Industrial air compressors play a critical role in the process and comprise a large percentage of a ski resort’s operating cost.
In addition to simply providing more snow base, making snow also helps to insulate the entire snowpack, which retains the overall quality of the surface snow, including the favored and sought-after powder. In some areas, the additional melting snow provides other groundwater to enhance the surrounding habitat and, in some regions, mitigate forest fires.
The Snow Making Process
The traditional snowmaking process utilizes snow guns which produce water droplets by combining cooled water and compressed air. On a ski slope, you’ll notice that these guns are attached to two different hoses that run to air and water hydrant stations, respectively. The hydrants are hooked up to two separate lines that run under the snow or underground. One pumps in water from a lake, pond, or reservoir, and the other pumps in high-pressure air from an air compressor.
Approximately 75% of the snowmaking process cost is compressed air, meaning operators need the most efficient system imaginable. Compressed air facilities for snowmaking can range between 500 horsepower for small operations and over 10,000 horsepower for more extensive operations. Upgrading and utilizing new industrial air compressors help improve efficiency. Additionally, users should choose oil-free air compressors to prevent environmental contamination and potentially obstruct the snowmaking process.
The Best Industrial Air Compressors for Making Snow
Larger air compressors are ideal for Central Compressed Air Systems. That factor, combined with protecting the environment and the resort and its reputation, makes rotary compressors a perfect fit. Rotary compressors can manage significant air demands and operate at full capacity while running.
To learn more about how energy efficient industrial air compressors can improve efficiency in snowmaking, please contact us.