What Is Man-Made Snow?

There are different kinds of man-made snows. First, there is the fake snow, that looks and feels like snow but is not formed the same way that snow is formed. The second is the kind of snow which is made under the same conditions as real snow is made in, but requires human initiative to be made. The first kind of snow is widely used in areas where the formation of snow is either unviable because of the climate of the place, or because of the weather conditions prevailing at a time when the snow is required. The second kind of snow is used to augment the amount of snow produced. Here is an article about the various uses of man-made snow.

The most common and cheapest form of man-made snow is the fake snow. They are widely used by children and adults, not for an authentic snowy experience, but only for fun. They are available like spray paints in cans. This form of man-made snow is called fake snow because it is synthetic in nature. It is not frozen water droplets, but a concoction of chemicals that form a dry foam-like substance or emulsion. They look like snow, and hence are called fake snow. You may have experienced them yourselves in parties or science projects. Children can also make their own fake snow with ease. You just have to look at YouTube videos. The materials required are not hard to find, and the fake snow to be made is not hard to make. This is the reason that it is so cheap.

Another form of man-made snow is that which is not synthetically produced. It is real snow, the wet, frozen water droplets. Except, it isn’t formed in the atmosphere, but inside a machine. The basic inputs are energy and water. Electrical energy is required to recreate the conditions required for the formation of snow- the right temperature and humidity. Such snow is used in ski-resorts to augment the snow-cover. The environment in ski-resorts is maintained by using snow-making machines. Without them, ski-resorts are bound to remain closed when snowfall is inadequate. If you are at a ski-resort, out of curiosity, you can look out for snow outlets. They may be installed inconspicuously most of the times. But you will find it if you are looking for it. While those machines used in ski-resorts are very expensive, considering that they construct snow-making plants, there are also smaller snow making machines that can be used at home. The water supply can come from a hose pipe, while generators can be used for the electricity requirement. Even though they are more expensive than fake snow, they are real. So even if you have to pay a greater price for them, it may still be worth it. It is not impossible now to build a snow man in your backyard if you live in Florida or San Francisco. It is not impossible to have a snowy Christmas in Las Vegas. Man’s ideas have made it possible to recreate mother nature’s phenomena. Though this is not recommended by environmentalists, you can try it once in a while, or actually visit a cold, freezing place for the overall experience, instead of the instant gratification you receive otherwise.

The 10 Best Places For Skiing & Snow Boarding Around Neuschwanstein Castle – Schwangau – Bavaria

How about combining your skiing or snowboarding holiday with the visit of the most popular castle in Europe: Neuschwanstein Castle? Stay at one of the boutique and luxury self-catering apartments or a rustic hotel and enjoy the view of the King’s Castles, which look stunning especially when lit at night.

And as a special bonus you can use the Royal Thermal Spa with its hot indoor and outdoor pools, its sauna and massage offers after a fun day in the mountains.

Here is a list of the best places to go skiing in and around Schwangau.

1. Tegelberg Mountain (1720m) & Wintersport Arena / Schwangau Germany

Right in Schwangau, the village of the King’s Castles Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau is the wintersport arena Tegelberg with its cable car, 4 regular lifts and flood light at night. You will enjoy 7.3 kilometres of downhill piste here as well as a separate one for tobogganing. This place is great to for beginners and intermediate skiers, has a ski school and a ski/snowboard rental facilities. Snow machines provide snow garantuee.

A special highlight is the 2km long Neuschwanstein Cross Counry Skiing Track which is lit at night…and of course skiing with “cinderella castle” in your view.

2. Buchenberg (1140m) Ski Area / Buching Germany

Only a 5 minute drive from Schangau you will find a double seater lift taking you to the top of the Buchenberg. 2 more regular lifts provide variety.

A special highlight is the 2.5km long tobogganing track right from the top of the mountain. The hut on top of the mountain provides stunning views of the lakes and the valley. This area is great for beginners and families as well as for tobogganing fans.

3. Alpspitz (1575m) Ski Arena / Nesselwang Germany

Only a 20 minutes drive away from Schwangau is the Alpspitz Ski Arena. It benefits from the longest 2km long daily floodlit piste in the region, has one cable car, a 4-seater, one 2-seater, 3 regular lifts and 2 children’s ones. This varied place provides skiing fun for advanced skiers as well as beginners and families. Ski school, ski/snowboard/tobogganing rental facilities and tobogganing areas are available and so are several excellent mountain huts for your après-ski.

Snow machines provide snow garantuee.

A special highlight here is the O’Neill Alpspitzpark, a top modern Freerider Snowboard Park with Floodlight every night from 6-9pm.

4. Breitenberg Mountain (1877m) Ski Centre / Pfronten Germany

Only a 15 minute drive away from Schwangau you will reach the Breitenberg Ski Centre with its cable car, an open 4-seater and 5 regular lifts as well as 4 children’s lifts. Nearby in Steinbach is the Snowboard fun park, the ski school as well as two more floodlit pistes.

A special highlight for the first time in winter 2009/10 is the 6.5km long tobogganing track right from the top of the mountain.

5. Hahnenkamm Ski Resort (1900m) / Reutte Austria

Only a 25 mintue drive away from Schwangau into Austria is the Hahnenkamm Ski Resort with its cable car, double seater and 5 further regular lifts. It has one of the best ski schools for adults and children. Skis and snowboards can be rented there.

6.-9. Füssener Jöchle (1821m) & Ski Arena Tannheimer Tal / Austria

There are 4 ski resorts in the Tannheimer Tal in Austria, no more than 30 minutes away from Schwangau, one of which is Füssener Jöchle in Grän. It has a cable car, a 6-seater and 3 regular lifts. The piste from the top is 3.5 kilometres long.

The other ski resorts here are Neunerköpfle / Tannheim, Schattwald and Nesselwängle.

10. Jungholz Ski Centre / Jungholz Germany

About 40 minutes away from Neuschwanstein castle is a super family friendly ski centre with two special 4-seaters for children and one training lift. For adults there are 4 regular lifts. Snow machines provide snow garantuee.

There are even more cross-country skiing/ nordic skiing opportunites which I will cover in a separate article. And if you get bored of downhill skiing, how about tryin snow-kiting, letting the wind in your kite pull you across the piste?

Ski Vacation Reflection: Snow Cannons and Its Effects to the Environment

The cold breeze of winter season and the first flakes of snow puts your countdown to your most awaited ski vacation to its end. However, snowing patterns have changed due to global warming, forcing ski resorts to use artificial means to create snow through snow cannons. Ski resorts usually use this machine to create the first layer of snow.

Snow cannons create snow by combining cooled water and compressed air. The compressed air serves three functions in the process of making artificial snow. First, it “atomizes” the water or splits them into many tiny droplets. Second, it blows the water droplets into the air. Lastly, it helps cool the water droplets as they fly into the air. During warmer days, they use an agent known as Snowmax – a protein which provides a nucleate for ice crystals, enabling freezing at temperatures around -3C.

Although considered to be a savior to most skiing resorts, these cannons have undesirable effects on the environment.

Since it uses water to create artificial snow, it increases water consumption. Based on an article published on Chamonet.com, it is estimated that snow-making in France uses more water than in a town with 170,000 inhabitants. However, there are resorts now that utilize treated waste water in order to create snow instead of fresh waters from reserves.

Moreover, it uses too much energy. It contributes further to the problem of global warming due to the amount of energy output it creates. In addition, these machines contribute to noise pollution. In fact, a single snow cannon creates sound between 60 to 80 decibels which is equivalent to the noise created by heavy traffic. This noise disturbs wildlife in the mountains.

In addition, let’s not forget that these machines also use certain chemicals in order to produce artificial snow. And when the artificial snow melts, the residue of chemicals coming from the snow may affect vegetation.

Furthermore, artificial snow is much denser than natural snow so it melts much later than natural snow, thus increasing the volume of melted water that runs down the mountain, causing natural erosion.

Plus, the chemical additives used in creating artificial snow may find its way into rivers which supplies potable water for the resorts.

The use of treated waste water also raised alarms. They argued that chemicals used in treated water may cause further harm to the environment.

Bottom line is, while snow cannons may help sustain businesses, its detrimental effects to our environment could not be ignored. So how can we ski vacationers take an active role on helping keep the ski industry alive while still being environmentally responsible? Here are a few ways:

  1. Take steps to reduce energy use. Unplug seldom-used appliances and turn off all the lights when you leave the room. While we can’t put an end to the use of snow cannons for now, we can take necessary actions to eventually end climate change (and render snow cannons useless in the process) in our own little ways.
  2. Go for alternatives. When snow’s scarce, it’s high time to consider other fun activities that don’t require snow. Go waterskiing, or hiking.