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Artificial Snow in the Alps

Artificial Snow in the Alps

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Artificial Snow in the Alps

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  1. Artificial Snow in the Alps Bastian Richter

  2. Snow Reliability of Ski Resorts Ski Resorts today = 100% % of “Snow-Safe” Ski Resorts

  3. Artificial Snow • Mixing of chilled water with compressed air and additives • 3100 snow cannons in Europe • 100Million m3 total water usage • Equivalent to a city of 2 Mio. • 31,000-36,000ha (+30% of skiable area ) • +€200 million investment in 2008 • Very high in energy use • Higher density than natural snow • Efficiency and quality depend on topography, temperature, and humidity

  4. Impacts of Artificial Snow • Depletion of rivers and groundwater • Storage of water during the summer • Loss of water from snow making in the winter  Droughts downstream and local water shortages • Composition • Additives and nutrients in water • Higher turbidity  Decrease in water quality • Density of artificial snow • Late snowmelt • Less vegetation  Increased run-off and floods • Infrastructure • Reservoirs, dams, pipes • Erosion of soil • Change of river flows • Change of habitat Artificial Snow increases the effects of global warming