Snowmaking Resources

snowmaker standing on whale at Holiday Valley NY
Snowmaking at Holiday Valley, NY

Overview

Snowmaking has been an integral part of most ski area operations since the 1960s. It allows ski areas to open by their budgeted opening date, stay open for the duration of their standard season, and provide a consistent and durable snow surface for our guests. It's also used to create optimum surfaces and features on which elite alpine, snowboard and freestyle athletes train and compete. 

Snowmaking also makes ski areas resilient in the face of climate change. Snowmaking is not a climate solution, it is an adaptation. We can make snow at more marginal temperatures, and thanks to advances in technology, we can make more snow with fewer resources. But, as ski areas feel the effects of climate change, we need to be part of broader climate solutions. This includes both on-the-ground action and advocacy.

The resources on this page can help you:

  • Better understand snowmaking's role in ski area operations
  • Gain knowledge on snowmaking in the context of climate change
  • Find companies with efficient snowmaking technologies
  • Coming Fall 2022: The results of an industry-wide snowmaking study to understand where we are and how we can do better

Climate Smart Snowmaking

Why we created these FAQs

Climate change is the ski industry’s number one threat. As climate change impacts are felt across North America, questions arise on how ski areas are affected by climate change and what the ski industry is doing in response. This informational primer is intended to help answer questions regarding snowmaking’s role in a changing climate.

Key Takeaways

  1. Ski areas embrace the science of climate change. Climate science is informing responsible and resilient ski area operations and advocacy efforts.
  2. Snowmaking is a long-standing operational tool that improves resilience for resorts and mountain communities. It allows ski areas to open on time and can allow them to stay open longer, which brings both jobs and revenue to the community.
  3. Snow made at ski areas is actual snow, not fake or artificial. Snow crystals are produced by separating water into small particles and quickly freezing them as they move through cold air.
  4. Snowmaking is a largely non-consumptive use of water that provides environmental, operational and economic benefits.
  5. Investments in efficient snowmaking equipment and process automation have reduced the energy and resource impacts of snowmaking, further reducing its share of a ski area’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
Read the FAQs

Inaugural Snowmaking Study

NSAA, Brendle Group and the association's Technical Advisory Committee are developing the ski industry's inaugural snowmaking study. This study will set a benchmark for how well the industry is doing to reduce its emissions and identify opportunities for improvement.


Snowmaking Companies

Learn more about the process of making snow from industry suppliers. Many of these companies produce equipment that helps reduce GHG emissions and improve the resource efficiency of snowmaking operations.


Snowmaking Equipment Grants

Endorsers of NSAA's Sustainable Slopes framework are eligible to apply for annual snowmaking equipment grants, generously sponsored by HKD Snowmakers.

Learn More
Brendle Group logo

Thank you to the team at Brendle Group for their partnership in the development of the Climate Smart Snowmaking FAQ and inaugural snowmaking study.