Unseen Heroes: The Impact of Pumps on Ski Resort Sustainability

Snowmakers help ski areas ensure trails are covered for the season while they wait for natural snow to fall. These air systems can be large energy consumers.

Pumps for these systems must not only be energy efficient but also extremely reliable. KSB offers automation solutions to record operating data and optimize the pumps’ energy efficiency.

Ski resort snowmaking

Snowmaking allows ski areas to open on schedule, stay open for the full season and provide optimum surfaces on which elite alpine and freestyle athletes train and compete. It requires a complex infrastructure that includes pipes to deliver water, pumps to pressurize the water, and guns that work with compressed air or an alternative technology called “airless” fan guns.

The process is complicated by outdoor temperatures, humidity and wind patterns. Ideally, snow is made in conditions where the water droplets are cooled by dry, outside air and the wind helps disperse them on the slopes.

The system also relies on the team that operates it. At BBMR, the experienced team – many of whom have been on the team for 20 years or more – ensures that the resort’s operations run smoothly and efficiently for guests. Their dedication and expertise is critical to delivering an incredible skiing experience. They also work to minimize environmental impact by using newer, less energy-intensive technology like the climate smart snowmaking technique.

Pumping systems in winter sports

When winter comes to the mountains, ski areas rely on snowmaking systems to produce enough snow to make skiing possible. The systems are complex and energy-consuming. Proper design and planning of the supply network of pipes is essential to ensure efficient operation.

For example, snowmaking pumps are typically equipped with a water cooling tower to lower the temperature of the water to improve performance. Energy efficiency is also important when choosing the right air compressors to power the air systems.

KSB’s flowmeters and controls provide a complete solution for monitoring, controlling and optimizing the energy efficiency of snowmaking pumping systems. From the pump station to snow guns, the entire system is carefully pre-planned down to the smallest detail by experts at DEMACLENKO. This includes selecting the optimal sized pumps, air discharge pressures and starters/controls. This maximizes the utilization and energy efficiency of the equipment. Moreover, KSB’s energy-efficient pumps help to minimize the life cycle costs of the snowmaking machines.

Snow guns and pumping technology

Like most ski areas, Tussey Mountain had trouble making enough snow to open on time. The main problem was water pressure, but the real issue was volume. The pumps and piping were not able to supply the volume needed for snowmaking.

Unlike fan guns, where air and water mix in the gun, internally mixed snow guns use a pump to direct atomized water through a series of pipes. The water is seeded with an active protein, such as Snomax, to enhance conversion from water to snow.

The system then draws in a mixture of water and air through an air plant, often a large electric or diesel industrial compressor the size of a van or truck. The air is cooled, which reduces the amount of heat required to freeze the atomized water. This enables snow to be made at temperatures slightly above freezing, which increases production efficiency and allows ski areas to operate with lower air humidity levels.

Energy-efficient snowmaking pumps

The bom cong nghiep save energy by using a highly efficient motor technology. They also feature large casing dimensions and robust materials, making them reliable partners in snowmaking operations. With intelligent automation, they ensure optimal use of energy in all climatic conditions.

The key to snowmaking success is achieving the right temperature at the nozzles. This requires precise control, which can be accomplished with the help of sophisticated systems like ATASSpro.

Ski areas have been investing in more efficient and sustainable equipment for years. Newer, more efficient nozzles create smaller crystals and require less water and air per cubic meter of output. However, the pumps that deliver this water to the snow guns need to be more efficient too.

Although they don’t receive as much attention as the snow guns themselves, these essential pieces of infrastructure can significantly improve ski area sustainability. This is especially true when the system is powered by KSB pumps. They are able to reduce energy consumption by up to 20% compared to older, rougher pipes.