Where to get the snow when it is not here?
By Anna Petrishina | January 23rd, 2017
Winter came, and the asphalt is under our feet, and no snow. And what should we do now? For downhill skiing we need real snow slopes. We can go to the ski resorts of Moscow region «Sorochany», «Snowball» or «Volen» — there is a lot of snow there. And from there does it come, if there is no snow in Moscow suburbs?
It is known that the snow only appears at temperatures below freezing. Maybe it is an artificial snow? No, it is poured from the snow towers — so called «Cranes». That snow is made in a following way: water comes from the huge nozzles under tremendous pressure, mixes with compressed dry air — it is necessary in order to prevent water turning into ice during crystallization. Once the mist is in the atmosphere, it instantly freezes and showers on the slope in the form of fine snow.
If the snow is obtained only from the water, why don`t we do it ourselves, where we want to have it? Let`s take an ordinary spray bottle of iced cold water and go out in winter. The fine sprays of water released at low pressure, really hang in the air and fall to the ground as snow, but it does not last long, because it freezes. So, if we want that the snow tower covered with snow the whole slope it must be constantly supplied with clean water. The water comes to «Cranes» from the nearest body of water for the water supply, then water is purified by means of filters, installed under the ground, and then gets on top of the slope.
So that artificial rainfall does not accumulate in one place on a slope, the snowcat — a special tractor to clear the ski slopes – distributes them.
If any portion of the mountain can not be covered with snow, the snow cannons help with it. Firstly, they are mobile and can move independently around the hill, and secondly, they are much more powerful than the «cranes». Thanks to the huge fan, sprays of water instantly freeze because of the injected air force and the white snow falls down on the hard-achieved slope. If the temperature is less than 2 degrees the nozzle will be frozen and the water can not flow through it, and if the temperature is higher than minus 2 degrees, the water is not frozen, and the snow will not work – it will be just sprays of water.
Homeland of such snow cannons is — Austria. But the principle of the creation of the snow out of the water was created by an unknown craftsman from Canada in 1940. It was only in 1979 Fritz Jakob was able to combine all the process steps into a single mechanism.