This Snow is Fake?


| 2 Comments

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(http://kidzcoolzone.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/artificial-snow-cannon.jpg)

 

With ski season coming around the corner, I have always had the urge to get up to my local slope: Blue Mountain. Being situated in Pennsylvania, home of the world's most unpredictable weather, Blue Mountain, as a business, is required to make artificial snow. It gets the job done when skiing, but this may hurt the environment and locals in an unexpected way.

I was never a science stud, but always loved learning about the water cycle and drawing the diagrams. What does this have to do with fake snow? The issue is that as more resorts are making artificial snow, more water is being wasted. By wasted, I mean evaporated and not return to the area. About 30% of water used in blowing artificial snow is completely wasted through evaporation.

The natural water cycle is different than the cycle that modified water goes through. When normal water is evaporated, it will obviously be returned the area through precipitation. When this modified water is evaporated, it is transported into the next basin, or even the neighboring country! This idea is supported by French Ministry for Equipment, Transport, Housing and Tourism. Some believe this number can actually be as great as 50%.

Is this the end of the world? No and blowing snow is far from it in my opinion. I find this an interesting topic. What can be problematic in the future is water shortages in areas with ski resorts, which are already receiving many tourists.

If I were to conduct a study on this issue, I would analyze water levels in local areas surrounding mountains, both eastern and western US, but Europe as well. If ten years down the road, there is a significant loss of water, I think the issue can easily be assigned and that ski resorts may eventually need to find a new way to create their snow.

Do you think this is an issue, will be an issue, or we should all just keep riding?

2 Comments

I love going skiing, tubing, or snowboarding down mountains and always have been amazed at seeing those machines pump out the fake snow like they do. You then see the snow cats coming and pushing the snow to make it even for all of the people on the mountain to have a good time and have a nice even powdery ride down the mountain.
Although it would be good if mountains could do research to figure out how to possibly make their own but in the mean time there is no possible way that the mountains would ever stop pumping out the snow. Blue Mountain though uses far less snow and is probably nothing compared to the amount of snow that the mountains in Colorado use. Out there they probably should try to find a way sooner because of the amount of snow they use.
Here is a video of them using the machines and how much snow they use out in Colorado on some of those mountains. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyy7TvHQgo8

I'm having a hard time understanding why the evaporated water wouldn't simply return to the area it is in? I do see this as an issue if it continues and really starts affect the environment, especially since the popularity of these resorts is on the rise. But I still do wonder why it is that it would not just return to the area where is evaporated. Also, have there been any other successful ways to produce "fake" snow? If not, we should explore other options to find a better solution, seeing as this one does not seem very efficient.

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