You are NOT Logged in.
Chat about all aspects of snowsports, backcountry, climbing and mountaineering.
Goto Thread: PreviousNext
Goto: Forum ListMessage ListNew TopicSearchLog In
Charlie Leppard

Nevis Snowmaking?
Date Posted: 19.18hrs on Tue 11 Jan 22
Has anyone got any insight on this. I recall that the new plant was touted as being able to produce 155 tons of flake ice per 24 hour period. At he density of flake ice this should be around 310m3. I was there this weekend and the volume being produced didn't seem to be anywhere near that amount. I suspect it was less that 30m3 per 24 hours, which is a very significant shortfall.

I would have thought that they would have the production dialled in by now and would know how to get the best out of the plant to maximise production. If they have, and this is is running at 100%, then they have been sold an absolute pup.

Alternatively they could be short of water, or saving on power costs.

I had anticipated that Linnhe and the sledging area would be flooded with manmade snow by now, even taking melting into account.

Posts: 100
Joined: Dec 2002
Last Visited: 11:37
27th Feb 2024
Re: Nevis Snowmaking?
Date Posted: 19.59hrs on Thu 13 Jan 22
We understand that the plants current capacity is broadly similar to the small TechoAlpin Snowfactory, but is somewhat more temperature sensitive. Nevis has been constrained by the inability to get a prebuilt plant to the site, so there was no go to off the shelf option.

However, the TechnoAlpin snowfactories have not been without their own dramas, there were a variety of issues that left the CairnGorm one mostly idle in its first season and the Glencoe one is having a stroppy month!

Glenshee seem to have this dialled in the best at the moment. Having seen the scenarios elsewhere they went for the 2 story unit from the outset and crucially have an area of exceptionally sheltered terrain (by Scottish mountain standards) where to make use of itís output. In terms of suitability the wee gully the Plastic Slope Poma sits in and the Dink Dink beginner area is pretty much ideal.

Just because of a more Easterly location despite similar elevation, the Glenshee snow factory area is also less likely to be in cloud nor experience as high winds or rainfall intensity as the Western areas or CairnGorm.
Jonathan Cook

Re: Nevis Snowmaking?
Date Posted: 18.56hrs on Wed 20 Apr 22
Yep, I also did some calculations back when they released the data / info to the public about what a massive amount of snow the plant could produce and worked out that at full wack the machine could produce enough flaked ice to cover the slope next to the 65m long magic carpet in just over 36hours, 15m wide x 70m long by 50cm deep.

Likewise, the Lihne towpath & piste, aproximately 15m wide x 175m long x 50cm deep would take around 96 hours of 4 days

Just for laughs, though not 100% realistic, the alpha tow (covered with snow up to pylon 6) which is 400m long x 20m wide x 50cm would take around 14 days of full on production. In this senerio, with some melting inevitable, and 1 day to make ice chips for the connecting paths/runs, one could assume that it would take just 21-24 days to completely cover the area.

Ive been on a tour of the actual snow plant itself. Inside its absolutely vast, with 8 very tall Recom FD200 ice producing towers, multiple chippers and blowers. These have a combined cooling capacity of 760kw. What it doesn't have is a visible water holding tank, though it takes water direct from the same supply that powers the T-40 snow cannons.

What Nevis range could really do with is a second hydro power scheme or a few windturbines to offset the power used by this machine, which is in the order of at least 310amps/phase, or 250kw total power. This is essentially the same power the gondola consumes when fully loaded in the mornings.

With the prices of electric so high at the moment, that could be a major factor. Opening more reliably is what Nevis Range really needs though in order to survive during the winter.

As such, the whole idea from the outset in 1989 to have no road acsess, not even a track seems like a really bad idea now as it can both leave customers trapped up the mountain and also prevents moving large materials up and down the mountain. There is a track going up to the old hydro water capture point at 330m, it would have been sensible in hindsight to entend this track to the quad chair, even if could only be driven by 4x4s to allow emergency acsess.

What I am trying to say is that the lack of snowmaking at nevis range and the declining state of some of it's lifts could be caused by other root causes that one might not at first see.

Anyway, lets hope next year is much better for snow and I do aplaud Nevis Range on their fabulous work with the snow fences that are making areas around the summit, Alpha and bottom of the quad line retain far more snow than would have been possible with the old fences, though they could do with some more replacing up the Gouse T-Bar, Link piste and far west of the quad.

I attach a video from a glourious day in Early March

Your Name: 
Your Email: