Ski resort uses helicopter to bring in more snow

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Face reality and do what ski areas in the US do: make snow on site from local runoff and compressed air.

Yeah, it uses energy but the reason it’s needed in the first place is that there’s plenty (even too much) sunshine. It doesn’t have to create CO2.


Hope they didn’t forget to bring my champagne.

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According to this article

This technology comes at a major financial and ecological cost. Today, one in every 20 euros spent anywhere in Val d’Isère goes into the snow factory, covering energy costs, staffing, maintenance and upgrades (a hidden “artificial snow” tax that is continually increasing). Although snow machines are becoming increasingly efficient, a typical snowmaker still uses about the same amount of energy as a boiler in a family home. When multiplied into the tens of thousands across the Alps, snowmakers become something of a self-defeating invention: they worsen and sustain the climate problems they’re supposed to solve.



It’s true-- if you live in the developing world, you can’t afford Luchon-Superbagnères. If you live in France-- and thus have joined the global elite, things might be different. But global inequality defines the climate crisis.

Rather less sympathy for the Alpine contingent, especially with helicopters. Here, ski areas are up over 2500 meters altitude when the valleys, in winter, are not seeing temperatures below 5 Celsius. People who wish to ski can either travel much farther or go where the snow is made part of the time. The temperatures in the mountains are low enough, but the precipitation is chancy – so snow gets made from mountain runoff (there’s plenty) in a partially closed cycle.

are those areas safe for beginners?

I’m a person that would rather be skiing than doing…well…pretty much anything else. And I find this totally ridiculous. So I guess if some lake dries up soon we’ll be seeing big containers of water flown in so the water skiers don’t miss a beat? I suppose next you’re gonna tell me that when Manhattan starts going under, the super rich will have some grandiose plan that involves gigantic squeegees?

This does seem like a particularly… awkward way of doing this.

The ski area that I go to most often (note: In summer; I don’t ski) has a lake at the bottom of the slopes and a ton of snow machines that must be more efficient than scooping snow off mountains and carrying it down a relatively small scoop at a time. Particularly since most of their slopes drain to the lake, so melted snow ends up back in the lake, cooling it down and making it easier to turn back into snow. The lake catches enough water during most seasons to cover their snowmaking needs.

Plus it is a really lovely looking lake; it makes a great background at the bottom of the mountain. (Snowshoe is upside down; the village, restaurants, and hotels are at the top of the mountain, you go skiing then catch the lift back up to where you started.)

Seems rather expensive and inefficient - what happened to snow makers?

The most depressing is that’s not even an isolated incident, this happened few weeks ago, a ski resort was using trucks to add snow :

The ski resort said it was “usual practice” for them.

Which process is friendlier to the environment?

Using a machine that freezes thousands and thousands of gallons of water, and blows it using powerful fans over the area to be treated?

Covering an unused area of the ski resort with blankets to preserve the snow, and then trucking in that preserved snow to replenish the trails?

Most of the carbon footprint of a ski resort is thousands of guests jetting in and jetting out.

Absolutely. I can say this, since I’ve been ski patrol at one for more than 20 years.

Don’t confuse altitude with steep. No question there are runs that you would need technical climbing gear to ascend in summer, but there are also runs that are easily walked both ways.


Ski resort uses helicopter to bring in more snow

I’m guessing some hedge funder failed to grasp the literalness of this before signing off.

Where I live, the summertime version of this double-whammy is walking past parked cars idling their engines and running their air conditioners to keep the passenger inside comfortable in the heat.

These carbon-pigs would love for you and I to conserve energy and voluntarily reduce our carbon footprints- that means more for them.

This is what concinces me that nothing short of a mass casualty event is going to change the way governments think about climate mitigation.

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Why didn’t they just airlift an iceberg?


Well, the answer is simple, stop it.
We, as a specie, can’t environmentally afford that kind of luxuries any more. Ski resorts had years to move up, diversify (by opening in summer, some do) or just give up. It’s sad but there is no reasonable technical solution to this.

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Hmmm might be easier to just drop one from space…


Do humans have a right to ski? I believe anyone should be allowed to ski whenever and wherever they want. Do humans have the right to burn through fossil fuels to radically alter a landscape for a fleeting moment of recreation? Absolutely not!