Fichtelberg Schwebebahn
German Englisch

Snow Production

© Fichtelberg Schwebebahn
© Fichtelberg Schwebebahn
© Fichtelberg Schwebebahn
© Fichtelberg Schwebebahn
© Fichtelberg Schwebebahn
© Fichtelberg Schwebebahn
© Fichtelberg Schwebebahn
© Fichtelberg Schwebebahn
© Fichtelberg Schwebebahn
© Fichtelberg Schwebebahn
© Fichtelberg Schwebebahn
© Fichtelberg Schwebebahn
© Fichtelberg Schwebebahn
© Fichtelberg Schwebebahn

The technical process for producing machine-made snow mimics the natural formation, in which small drops of water freeze and thus take the form of snow crystals.

In Oberwiesenthal, the water required for this purpose comes from a specially designed storage lake. This storage lake has a capacity of approx. 50,000 m³, which is sufficient for the basic snowmaking of the designated runs even without natural snow. This lake is fed by a natural stream.

As with the formation of natural snow, two media, air and water, are needed. Falling through cold air layers removes the residual heat from the drop of water so that it cools down and crystallizes.

For the production of technically produced snow, often called artificial snow, usually two differently constructed snow guns are used.

These are a low pressure propeller gun and the high pressure snow lance. The low-pressure propeller gun is supplied with electricity (18-24 kW) and water (10 -40 bar). Through the nozzles, the water is sprayed and meets the cold winter air. In addition, compressed air is additionally generated by a built-in compressor and at the same time sprayed with the water.

As a result, as with the formation of natural snow, the remaining heat is removed from the water and the droplets crystallize. With the built-in fan / propeller, the snow is still distributed up to 100 m above the runway.

Depending on the weather conditions, the size of the water drops can be adjusted so that the best possible snow result is achieved.

At a low humidity, approx. 30%, this procedure can already be applied at 0.0 ° C, at 80% humidity - 4 ° C are necessary. The second most commonly used snow gun is the high pressure snow lance.

Here, the principle of snow formation is the same as in the low-pressure propeller gun.

Only that in most cases the snow lances are supplied by central air, so that no power connection is needed. The high pressure snow lances are operated with 10 - 60 bar water pressure and 8 - 10 bar air pressure.

Air and water is then distributed from central stations to the individual sampling points.

The distributed water passes through several filter systems in the pumping station and has drinking water quality at the sampling point.

Both snow guns are used in the spa town of Oberwiesenthal. The low-pressure propeller guns have a higher noise level than the snow lances, so they are not used everywhere. Approximately 75% of the 35 hectares of piste surface can be snowed.

128 stationary snow lances and 13 mobile propeller guns are used.

The system is controlled and monitored from the control desk by means of a PC. The total connected load is 1.50 megawatts.

From 1.0 m³ of water arise about 2.5 m³ of snow. 4 high-pressure pumps convert 440 m³ / h of water into snow at full capacity.

That's equivalent to 0.3 m³ of snow per second. In 113 hours enough snow can be produced so that all snow-covered slopes can be prepared with a snow cover of 30 cm.

The big advantage of machine snow is that its texture is almost always the same.

By contrast, natural snow, depending on the water content, can be very powdery, dry or very sticky. Artificial snowcats are generally harder than natural snowcats.

This is due to the higher density of machine snow.

Natural snow has a hexagonal shape, whereas artificial snow is just a grain. The density of machine snow is twice as high as that of natural snow.

While one cubic meter of natural snow can weigh up to 400 kg, the same amount of artificial snow weighs up to 800 kg.

Due to the compressed shape of a grain artificial snow thaws significantly slower than natural snow.

For this reason, an artificial snow slope can be maintained by the daily smoothing and consolidation by means of snow groomers even after several days of thawing for the ski operation.

Snow-making systems are used to ensure a continuous winter season, to avoid failures during dew periods.

In Oberwiesenthal will begin at the earliest in mid-November with the basic snowmaking.

In December and January, snow periods are used to create certain depot supplies and snow-making of problem areas.

In February, snow is only made on poor snow conditions to secure the season until the beginning of April.

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