How to make snow ? - Paradiski
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Making White Gold….

The snow making process stays mysterious to most of the people and is surrounded by a lot of beliefs. But what’s true and what’s wrong ? Generally speaking, snow making generates a lot of questions.
When do we resort to artificial snow? How is it made? In what perspective? … In this article, we’ll try answer to your main questions.

Piste-Champagny (1)

Snow making on the Paradiski area in a few key figures …

Firstly, you should know that only 30% of the Paradiski ski area is covered by artificial snow, or 323 hectares out of 1066. So, there is no cause for concern, most of the time you are skiing on natural snow! Artificial snow is used on the pistes connecting one resort to another to allow you go back to your resort on skis when the snow is scarce and completes the natural snow coverage.



In la Plagne there are 5 reservoirs used to produce snow , in Les Arcs/Peisey-Vallandry it’s 3.  All the Paradiski’s reservoirs have a total water capacity of 1,010,000 m³

In comparison, this represents 0.5% of the dam in Tignes with its 230, 000,000 m³ of water.


Volume of production

650,000 m³ of water is required to make artificial snow for one season in la Plagne. For les Arcs/Peisey-Vallandry it’s 495,000 m³.  That is the volume of 305 Olympic swimming pools.



1 m³ of water produces 2 m³ of snow




What is the recipe to produce snow? 

La neige de culture, comment ça marche _ (2)



  • water
  • air
  • and favourable conditions





This must be under pressure, cold (between 0.5° and 3°C) and filtered.



The air must be under pressure using the same system as an 8-bar car compressor.


Favourable conditions

Two conditions are essential to make artificial snow: the temperature and the level of humidity in the air.

We can produce artificial snow from humid -3°C.

What is a humide temperature ? It’s simply the temperature taking into consideration the air humidity. For example, humide -3°C, may represent a temperature of 2°C and 20% of air humidity.


When and why are we producing snow?




Generally, we resort to this production in the pre-season with a view to preparing a good base able to hold freshly fallen snow. It obviously allows us to guarantee consistent and sufficient snow coverage throughout the season for our snow-riding fans.


Our snow making policy: producing the “right” snow!


Our pledge as the Paradiski ski area is to produce the right amount of snow, what we need to operate our ski area under good conditions, nothing more and nothing less. For this purpose we know the production capacity of each of our snow canons, that allows us to open the ski area (useful production) et “max” production per snow canons, that allows us to ensure good skiing condition until the end of the season. Throughout the season, we adapt the “max” production depending on the natural snow coverage.
On top of this, we are working on the quality of the produced snow to satisfy our customer’s needs. We can choose for each snow canon the quality of the produced snow (on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is dry snow and 10 humid).



A manufacturing process which respects the environment


The first thing to know is that there is absolutely no additive in the water used for the snow making. This water is checked once a month by the local authorities, and the quality of the water must be as good as drinking water, which ensures that there is no risk for the environment when the snow melts.


It is also important to note that the water in the reservoir comes from snow melt or from drinking water surplus. In the spring, the Adret des Tuffes reservoir in Les Arcs is, for example, filled with water coming from snow melt. During summer the reservoir is used for fishing. The next winter, water will be go back into the snow making network to be transform once again into snow. We can therefore talk about a close-circuit.




To conclude, artificial snow on the Paradiski ski area doesn’t replace natural snow, it completes the snow coverage, to allow you to make the most of the ski area. The snow making process follows environmentally friendly methods et needs only very simple ingredients to be produced. Come join us on the Paradiski ski area, enjoy the freshly groomed pistes and try out our snow, both natural and artificial.