The Snow

It’s Always Snowy at Alpine Valley

A “Snow Fan” usually consists of one or more rings of nozzles which inject water into the fan air stream. A separate nozzle is fed with a mix of water and compressed air and produces the nucleation points for the snow crystals. The small drops of water and the tiny ice crystals are then mixed together and blown out by a powerful fan, after cooling in the surrounding air, they fall to the ground. This is known as the art of Snow Making.

At Alpine Valley, we have 13 Pole Cats “Snow Machines or Snow Fans” -The Standard Polecat uses a 15 HP fan and has 18 spray nozzles that are customized to achieve water flows that are able to adjust to suit specific climates. Centered with a central six jet nozzle, water flow is controlled by three heated, self-draining valves. Alpine has 3 water pumps; these pumps provide the H2O for “PoleCat machines”, as well as our Snow Sticks.

Water Flow: The Carriage suggested 10-100 gpm (gallons per minute), and Alpines are set at the higher end of this spectrum, which equals 835lbs of water per minute!

Water Pressure: ranges between 100-500 psi, comparing this to the average paintball gun – where the paintball leaves the barrel at 350 psi  (this is a pretty high rate of speed for snow-making!)

Fan Horsepower: 15 HP 

Fan Speed: 1760 rpm (revolutions per minute) So this means if we leave our snow machines on overnight, it would equal 1,267,000 RPM’s for all 12 machines!  

Alpine is also equipped with 2 Snow Sticks – located on the Peeks of our hills (Look up, you may notice them now!) One is 20 feet tall and the other tops out around 30 feet!

“CoOoL Facts” 

Did you ever notice the stream & pond you pass over entering Alpine Valley? It is naturally fed by the Chagrin River, and the majority of our water used in snow making is pumped from this location! 

Alpine Valley is able to start making snow when the temperature falls below 28 degrees Fahrenheit. The water is injected into the snow max machines and this allows Alpine to create 8 inches of snow on an acre of land in an 8 to 12 hour span!

 Alpine Valley has two groomers, they are manufactured by Bombardier, and both have a 16 foot blade that is capable of pushing 250 cu. feet of snow at one time. Both groomers are equipped with tillers that are 16 feet wide. Both Groomers are constructed from heat treated tubular steel, are 164 inches long, and 166.5 inches wide. The maximum speed for the Bombardier is about 11.2 MPH, and these massive machines hold a whopping 68.6 gallons of diesel fuel. After all of the snow is blown it takes roughly 3 days for everything to be pushed out and smoothed over in order to make it ski-able. It takes our Groomers nearly 6-8 hours to groom the whole property.

The groomers are responsible for smoothing out bumps and moguls, shaping the snow slopes into fun and challenging conditions, reshaping our trails, and maintaining a descent depth in the high traffic areas.

The main objective of snow grooming is to provide our guests with the best possible skiing, snowboarding and tubing conditions daily! Each night our crew heads out onto the hills to repair, reshape and to maintain our hills in order to make them “like new” each morning!


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