Thanks to a bumper winter, many European ski resorts still have snow covering their slopes. This has ski areas thinking, why not save some of this snow for next season?
Storing snow for the following winter by covering it with sawdust or insulation panels is known as Snow farming. It was first tried out a decade ago in Davos in Switzerland, but the idea has been slow to catch on.
However, this season more and more ski areas are recognizing the advantage of being able to guarantee at least some snow on the ground for the start of the following ski season.
Covering the snow with sawdust can allow resorts to retain around 70-80% of the volume. This enables ski areas to start their ski seasons earlier, regardless of what Mother Nature decides to do.
Courchevel, part of the world’s largest ski area, Les 3 Vallees, is the latest ski area to began stockpiling snow. This spring they covered around 20,000 cubic metres of snow under insulation panels and a special tarp. The resorts hopes that by storing this snow they will start next season with 15,000 cubic metres of the 2017 – 2018 harvest.