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SPEAK-OUT -- HOW MUCH HAS SNOWMAKING TECHNOLOGY IMPROVED?


I enjoyed "Next-Gen Snowmaking" (SAM, May 2010), but some clarification and additional detail are required to fully understand volumetric testing and snowmaking efficiency. 

The results of the Holiday Valley snow deposition volume testing indicate an approximate value of 155,000 gallons per acre-foot for the snowmaking equipment tested. To fully appreciate these tests, we would need more information, including: 1) average measured snow density for each snow gun in the test, 2) metering procedure and volumetric calculation method, 3) snow volumes for each snow gun tested, and 4) general snow quality. Our test work at Mountain View Technologies over the years has yielded a density range of 24 to 30 lbs/cubic foot for the various snowmaking equipment tested at a specific snow quality. The varying densities produced by different snow gun types impact snow volumes. 

The comparison of new machines with older equipment that required an average of 300,000 gallons per acre-foot may overstate the case, since improper adjustment of the new equipment and operation in windy conditions will yield similar acre-foot values for both newer and older equipment. Our volumetric tests using "old style" equipment yield an average value in the range of 170,000 to 180,000 gallons per acre-foot. 

The statement, "The newer guns are better nucleators, so there is less evaporation" also requires clarification. True, newer guns have better ice particle nucleation technology. But that does not reduce evaporation in moderate snowmaking temperatures. The total cooling process (primarily evaporation and convection) continues irrespective of how many ice particle nucleation points there are. More nucleation points yield more snow crystal formation and an improved snow quality-that is the real benefit. 

-Yaroslav Stanchak 
-President, Mountain View Technologies, Inc. \

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