Winter tourism has become a very important economic sector in the alpine region. In the 70s, the snowfalls in the Alps became variable and the need of guaranteed snow increased (Gianumberto , Crescini, Tarroco, & Palmeri, 2006). Artificial snowmaking was invented in the US in the 50s and introduced and implemented in Europe in the beginning of the 70s (Gianumberto , Crescini, Tarroco, & Palmeri, 2006).
Artificial snow is usually made with the use of snow guns. The procedure is rather simple. Water is being pumped to the snow gun and is being spayed into the air with the help of fans and compressed air (Gianumberto , Crescini, Tarroco, & Palmeri, 2006). If the air is cold enough (ideal temperatures are between -7 to -4 degrees Celsius (Schuchlenz, 2012). The ideal humidity should be less than 40% for ideal conditions, in which 3m3 can be obtained with 1m3 of water (Gianumberto , Crescini, Tarroco, & Palmeri, 2006).
More and more ski stations throughout the alpine region are dependant on artificial snowmaking. The effect on the environment is told to be quite severe, but is not yet thoroughly researched.
This mini case study is based on 3 articles, of which one focuses on Italy, one on Austria and the last one on Switzerland.
Please keep reading in the attached pdf file.
Author: Marcial Sommer