Last September 10th Pitztal hosted the launching event of the IDE All Weather Snowmaker. The Pitztal Glacier sparkles with a technical novelty, setting a new benchmark for a future-proof and environmentally-friendly use of the highest glacier ski area in Austria. The IDE All Weather Snowmaker –an innovation from Israel – makes it possible for the first time to produce snow without having to depend on Temperature, Humidity, and Wind. With traditional snowmaking systems, the temperature has to be at least minus 6 degrees Celsius and the humidity no more than 60 percent. The wind is also important if snow canons and lances are to be used economically. With the IDE Snowmaker, these factors don't come into the equation. "Even though the Snowmaker does not depend on the temperature, we will use the snow production facility sensibly and will not create an artificial spectacle with snow in the summer. For us it is important to pursue our philosophy of sustainable ecological and economical use of this unique ski region", said Dr. Hans Rubatscher, Manager of the Pitztal Glacier Resort.
"Over recent years, temperature, humidity, and wind conditions on the Pitztal Glacier were often not right in early autumn for producing normal snowfall", explained Pitztal's Manager. "We were therefore looking for an innovative alternative – and found the IDE All Weather Snowmaker in Israel". In the future, the Snowmaker will be used alongside the existing snowmaking equipment with canons and lances, in particular at the start of the season in autumn and in late spring.
The "Snowmaker system" can produce approximately 950 cubic metres of snow in 24 hours and is highly energy-efficient. The electrical load for the system is similar to a mid-sized chair lift, the electrical power consumption is approximately 500 KW, exactly the same as 6 standard snow cannons. , "It was often assumed that the Snowmaker produces crushed ice. Far from it: The snow quality is excellent", said Dr. Hans Rubatscher. The snow is transported from the production site to the slope below using a plastic chute, with piste vehicles then preparing it for skiing.
IDE Technology is one of the world leaders in design and construction of seawater desalination, water treatment and ice and snow plants. Since 1965 the company installed about 400 plants in over 40 countries world wide. IDE welcomes the Pitztal Glacier as a bold investor who has recognized the future prospects of the IDE All Weather Snowmaker at an early stage. "We are very proud to have found a partner in the most innovative glacier ski area in Austria so that future-oriented projects like these can be implemented", adds Felix Viehauser from IDE Snowmaker.
"The snow quality is totally great, it's perfect for us racers and much better than on the glacier. We will use this slope for training", said Manfred Pranger, FIS slalom World Champion Val d'Isère 2009
"The snow coverage is very impressive and the snow quality looks great also impressed by the quantity of snow produced per hour", said Gunter Pekoll Operation Manager, Schladming, Austria
"I think it’s a real good project. I believe that this technology could help ski resorts especially for problem areas at the beginning and end of the season. I think it can also be an opportunity for our resort. I’m sure that this innovation will have success", said Alois Geiger, CEO Fiss Ski Resort, Austria.
"I was lucky to be invited with IDE Technologies and Ski Federation to Pitztal on a excursion to see next generation snow production, after seeing the "light" on the glacier of Pitztal I am calm when it comes to the future of snow production with or without sub zero temperatures. I can see great potentials together with IDE Technologies to secure recruiting to the sport of skies even with warm winters. My message will therefore be that we open for commercial players such as IDE to secure that activity on snow", said Vidar Løfshus, Chief Coach, Norwegian National Cross Country Team.