White gold

21 December 2018

Visitors to our village might not know about the “gold standard” of winter sports destinations. It is white gold, otherwise known as snow.

Those with plenty of this crucial commodity have a decisive advantage over their competitors as it’s basically impossible to offer winter sports without a good quantity of snow. Increasingly, the snow on the slopes at winter sports destinations is blasted out of a nozzle – in Engelberg too. But not all artificially generated snow is of the same quality. Experience and expertise make all the difference. If you think it’s enough to simply press the start button on the snow cannon, you’re going to be disappointed. And there aren’t any courses to teach good snowmaking either. Artificial snow is generated from water mixed with air, and the quality of the snow changes depending on the temperature. Generally, the colder it is, the better the snow will be. Once the snow cannons are in use, the slopes have to be regularly checked. A good snowmaker can immediately see whether snow has the right texture or not. The better quality the snow is, the easier it is to groom ski slopes and cross-country trails. Engelberg’s snowmaking team are often out and about in the late evening after the skiers have returned to their cosy homes or accommodation. Snowmakers have to be tough: they often don’t get home until dawn and need to cope with hours spent outdoors in freezing temperatures.

 

Few sports are at the mercy of nature to the extent that winter sports are, and snow cannons have long since become an important economic factor for winter sports resorts like Engelberg. In recent years, developers have been investing significantly in improving snow cannon efficiency and working hard to ensure that natural resources are used as gently and sparingly as possible. Energy consumption has been greatly reduced thanks to intelligent snow-making systems. Engelberg’s cableway operators know how important it is to protect nature and have therefore invested large amounts in the right equipment. It’s good to know that Engelberg’s own white gold is the very best around, produced in the most ecological way possible!


Written by: Beat Christen
Images: Bergbahnen Engelberg-Titlis