Mountain View Technologies, Inc.

Snowmaking System Design * Research & Development * Investigations * Energy Based Mountain Information 


The Snowman Newsletter – Fall 2010

(The application of rational thought and science for demystifying the snowmaking process)


La Nina 2010 arrives…  The great summer weather (in the East) of 2010 emphasized the last gasps of the recent El Nino and the initiation of La Nina. At first glance, the change over to the La Nina pattern appears to be very rapid, however worldwide weather systems require time to adjust to a new pattern and it may be a few months before La Nina truly settles in. Historically La Nina brings colder and snowier conditions to the Northeast with the jet stream assuming the classic deep dip starting in the Northwest through the Rockies and Midwest, and then swooping northward through the Ohio Valley through the Northeast. Hard to say what November and early December will bring. Check the following NOAA link and related links on the NOAA site:

Another entertaining and interesting source is the Farmer’s Almanac, which has been publishing forecasts for quite a few years – the Almanac predicts a slow start to a colder and snowy winter. Go to . For the more adventurous reader, an out of the box forecast by Astromet is at


Snowmaking Energy Index (SEI)… The SEI methodology continues to gather momentum with the latest information to be published in the 2010 November issue of SAM. Check it out! The current worldwide emphasis on energy conservation and productivity has continued to spotlight snowmaking not only from an equipment perspective, but also from an intelligent energy management viewpoint. The SEI methodology is a metric that allows disparate snowmaking systems to be compared on an energy and water use basis irrespective of ski area size and snow gun type. It provides a baseline measurement or index of existing snowmaking system performance and productivity for future enhancements and change. Snowmaking energy costs are a huge part of a ski areas expense budget and this is one sure method for evaluating present and future expenditures. It is one step in redirecting the snow industry’s focus to the importance of intelligent and consistent energy management. Info request on implementing this powerful energy management tool: SEI

Snowmaking Factoids… As a water particle freezes into an ice crystal its internal temperature will rise to 320 F – within a snow plume all the ice crystals will exhibit this physical behavior during the freezing process. As a result the immediate environment within a snow plume will show an increase in temperature. The new fully and partially formed ice crystals will remain at this temperature as they land on the surface. The snow surface temperature will remain close to 320 F until it is fully cured and then the surface temperature will drop. Any moisture in the underlying snow will keep the sub surface at the near freezing temperature. Try this as a neat snowmaking experiment with an inexpensive digital probe thermometer. The addition of an ice-nucleating agent to snowmaking water will not change the above physical facts.

Snow Density Testing… A continuation from the prior newsletter on the need for accurate and repeatable volumetric snow deposition testing. An important component of snow volume testing is the snow density measurement for different snow guns and snow quality. We have posted on our website a simple and straightforward snow density method that has been used by MVT for quite a few years. This method will give consistent and reliable results for the advanced snowmaker. See . In a subsequent issue we will address a number of methods for gathering snow deposition data within a measured grid. This type of data gathering is not for the faint of heart! If you do this type of testing please share the data.


Weather Humor… It seems that there is a weather battle brewing between Russian and Polish forecasters about the upcoming winter




Mountain View Technologies, Inc. and the Snowman have provided innovative, practical and technology-based solutions for 25 years. Let our experience and expertise work for you and your area in providing solid management tools that can create a positive impact on your snowmaking energy demand and operational costs.



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