21 May 2007

Snow making to start tonight

| Gungahlin Al
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Yup – it’s that time of year.

ABC is reporting that Perisher will be cranking up the snow guns tonight.

And a look at the snow cams on www.ski.com.au shows Blue Cow had a light dusting this morning before rain set in – all the better for laying down a good frozen base.

After the debacle that was last season, here’s hoping for some big dumps to start things off nicely this year.

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carbon neutrality is a copout, i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again. whilst it’s a start, it’s still not an answer. i mean, aeroplanes are still chewing leaded fuels, and power stations are still eating mountains of fossil fuels.

i think it’s just the marketing buzzword of corporations this year. oh well.

Happy to be corrected but I thought Thredbo and Perisher were looking to go carbon neutral, and flying is a far bigger user of GHG than driving

For pity’s sake…
Recycled water is not like the bloody grey water out of your washing machine. It gets treated to near potable standard before being released into the Thredbo River anyway.
Snowmaking just diverts it back up the hill for a while. Every drop that falls on the Snowys ends up in the lakes for the glorious benefit of our downstream irrigators one way or another.
Evaporation during winter would be such a minor component.
And P1 makes an interesting point in that you are avoiding a big chunk of GHG in just driving to the Snowys instead of flying to NZ.

I believe that snow making machines do pump out a pretty large volume of water, however, I don’t think that there is a great loss to evaporation. My reasoning is that only at the start and end of the season will the snow machines make a difference to the surface area that is covered by snow. For most of he winter, there would be snow (or very wet ground) there anyway, so a pretty similar amount of evaporation would be taking place. In fact, it is quite possible that due to differences in the reflection of sunlight between snow and high country vegetation, evaporation might be lower from a snow-covered surface.

After the snow melts of course it runs into the same streams that the water is sourced from, and in the case of Thredbo / Perisher, straight into the dams of the Snowy hydro, where it is diverted to the MIA, converted to agricultural products, and sold in china for less then Canberrans would be willing to pay for the same quantity of water in order to wash their cars.

If it is environmental concerns that people have though, they might consider just how much electricity it takes to power these machines, and the pumping etc nessesary to run them. suggests that they use rather a lot, and since a pretty large percentage of our electricity comes from coal, that contributing rather a lot of CO2 to the atmosphere. And if you have been skiing in Australia for a while, you will be familiar with the effects of global warming.

Another potential environmental concern effecting water, might be the additives they put in to make the freezing process more effective, although I can’t find any easy references to that.

I personally like skiing, and think that snow making is worth the cost for me to enjoy it with having to go to NZ.

I agree with xman, if Australia is in the worst drought in 100 years, you’d think we’d get serious and luxuries such as artifical snow would be targetted for cessation. If Australia can support a natural snow season then great but exactly how much water are they allowed to throw up in the air when others are starting to discuss recycling effluent for drinking? Why not chuck that in the air instead?

So all that detergent in recycled water is just going to make those slopes even more hazardous.

a lot is evaporated, more than you’d think (from some stuff i read. might also be inaccurate). but i believe a number of resorts are using (or will be using) recycled water from now on for snowguns.. a good move!

OpenYourMind5:28 pm 21 May 07

I would have thought whatever water is ‘wasted’ ends up simply melting and returning to the river system at the end of the season. Although I’m sure there’d be an evaporation factor in there as well.

I’m not a rabid water conservationist, but I am an occasional need-for-speed downhiller….and the first thing that popped into my mind on reading this was…how much water do they ‘waste’ making snow?

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