Victoria, Australia — The land down under’s winters are undeniably getting warmer. As evidenced by last year’s mediocre winter, ski resorts’ operating days are getting shorter. In response, ski resorts like Mt. Buller are investing in more snowmaking equipment.

Earlier this month, Mt. Buller announced that they had purchased a Techno Alpin SF 220 snowmaking machine. Also known as a SnowFactory, these machines produce icy particles at -8 C in an inner building, allowing the snow to attach to each other. They are then spewed out, helping the snow accumulate in warmer weather.

Here’s an official description of the SnowFactory machine by TechnoAlpin:

The SnowFactory is an innovative snowmaking technology producing top-quality snow regardless of air temperature. The SnowFactory is not intended to replace conventional snowmaking systems, but rather to complement them. With their help, snow can be produced 24/7, regardless of the outdoor conditions at the site. 

The SnowFactory system has already been installed in various dimensions. This technical solution has convinced 70 clients around the globe. The installations range from mobile versions to large-scale projects producing 1,000 m³ of snow per day. 

View of the snow piles created by the all-season snowmaking machines on the Bourke Street trail.

This will be Mt. Buller’s fifth all-weather snowmaking machine, having installed their first one in 2017. It will be situated around the summit of the Bonza and Northside Chairlifts, which will help Buller have sufficient cover in its beginner and sightseeing areas.

Noel Landry, who’s the General Manager of Buller Ski Lifts, said the following about this new addition:

“With one month to the season opening it’s great to have another Factory operating to support guaranteed skiing and snow for our guests. 

It’s starting to feel crisper and colder on the mountain and we’ve already had the first early dusting of the snow, however it’s reassuring to have this technology that can make snow regardless of weather.  These Factories mean we can get a head start with a stockpile of snow before Mother Nature brings the ‘season-starting’ snowfalls we expect in late May and early June.”

These types of snowmaking machines, now built by various companies, have begun to make headway in North America as well. Ski areas in more moderate climates, like Ober Mountain and Ski Ward, have used them to open terrain or tubing in a small concentrated area. I imagine more mountains will buy these machines as this technology continues to improve. Whether this is an environmentally sustainable method of snowmaking, though, is still up in the air.

Image/Video Credits: Mt. Buller

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