2. How do you make snow?
Water and air are pumped through a network of pipes and hoses on the mountain. A hydrant, acting like a sophisticated faucet, controls the amount of air and water that flows through connecting hoses and into the snowmaking gun. The air and water collide in the snow gun, where the water droplets are blown apart by the compressed air. The microscopic water particles are then shot out of the nozzle and into the air. As the vaporized water falls through the cold air, it crystallizes to form snow.
There are a wide variety of water/air combinations and nozzle settings that affect the snow texture. Based on water temperatures, air temperatures and relative humidity, the water and air settings are adjusted to achieve the desired snow quality and texture. In general, the more water added, the denser the snow; add more air and the snow is lighter. Early in the season, snowmakers attempt to make a heavier snow to establish a base. As a good base is developed, the snow is made with less water, producing a softer skiing surface.