Published on 2/21/17

Snowmaking and snow cannons

Since many years, Les Gets signed up for snow production with significant investment 

They are useful in cases of low levels of snowfall as well as where there is sufficient natural snow, as machine-produced snow adheres better and makes the slopes last. Here is some information on snowmaking and snow cannons.

Les Gets resort figures :

160 snow cannons comprising approximately 130 lances and 30 fans

100% of electricity consumed comes from green energy (following an agreement signed with EDF – Electricity of France)

150,000m3 of water used for making snow over approximately 390 hours of production per year

Equipping a resort with snow making facilities is a major investment, which is often not used to its full potential.   In order for such equipment to really be effective, it requires a combination of certain conditions, some of which do not just depend on the resort’s employees.

The main constraints are as follows:

Need for favourable weather conditions: temperature and humidity regulate the possibility of making snow.  It isn’t possible to make snow without cold temperatures, even with high-tech equipment.

Availability of sufficient water supply: snow production requires a lot of water and the resort must make sure that the use of water does not compromise the necessary reserves for the rest of the resort (drinking water…)

The use of water in the natural environment is strictly regulated and a minimum flow of water in streams and rivers must be guaranteed throughout the whole year.

Snow production

Snow produced by machines is by no means ‘artificial’ as it contains no additives.  It is simply the reproduction of the natural phenomenon of the formation of snow crystals by blasting droplets of water into cold, dry air.

Technology and method of production

- Mono-fluid snow cannons

This type of machine is commonly referred to as a fan gun – they use electricity and pressurised water (10 to 65 bars).

- Two-fluid snow cannons

Commonly referred to as snow lances - these use both pressurised water (10 to 65 bars) and air (6 to 10 bars)

See all news