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Artificial Snow vs. Real Snow——What’s The Difference

Article Summary
Includes information about how natural snow is formed, what artificial snow is made of, whether it is harmful to the environment, the difference between natural and artificial snow for skiing, and the pros and cons of each.

Snow sports are loved by more and more people, for example, everyone likes to go to ski resorts, which are basically made of artificial snow. Some beginners are not sure what the difference between artificial snow and natural snow is. If you have doubts like me, please read this article below to know what to know about skiing for beginners.

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How is Natural Snow Formed?

Snow is a very natural phenomenon, but have you ever really understood him it?

Snow, is solid water in the form of snowflakes that falls to the ground from mixed clouds. Precipitation consisting of a large number of white opaque ice crystals (snow crystals) and their polymers (snow masses). Snow is a natural phenomenon in which water condenses in the air and then falls, or refers to falling snow; snow is a form of water in the solid state. Snow is made by the direct condensation of water vapor in the atmosphere or by the direct solidification of water droplets. It can also be said to snow when the temperature in the clouds is so low that small water droplets form ice crystals that fall to the ground and remain as snowflakes. Ice absorbs heat when it melts, so the ground temperature will be lower than when it snows.

Snow is made by condensing water vapor in the atmosphere. When the temperature is low, the water vapor condenses into ice crystals, and when the temperature is even lower, it falls to the ground and becomes a snowflake.

When the snowflakes fall to the ground to accumulate to a deeper, is our common powder, usually this is not yet stepped on by others or by others in the snow on top, this type of snow is generally more fluffy.

What is Artificial Snow Made of

Natural snow has a lot more air-filled pockets and is made up of less water content than machine-made.human-made snow freezes quickly from a single droplet of water,the dense artificial snow is also more resistant to rain, making for an ideal base.

Artificial snowmaking is the process of turning water (water gas) into snowflakes or snow-like flakes by artificial means, using certain equipment or physical or chemical means. Artificial snow manufacturing method is divided into gun barrel type and ice flake crushing type. The density of natural snowflakes is about 328kg/m³, while the density of artificial snow is about 856kg/m³, so the density of artificial snow is relatively large, and in the same environment artificial snow melts relatively more slowly than natural snow.

Is Artificial Snow Bad for the Environment

In many ski resorts there is usually not enough natural snow to last the entire ski season, so it is often appropriate to supplement the snow with artificial snowmaking, and first we need to know how the different production methods differ.

The first type is the production of flake ice by an ice making device, which is then used as a raw material to make snow. The process is that the water is first made into flake ice by the ice making device, then the ice is crushed into powder by the ice crushing device, and finally, the powdered ice crystals are sent out through the air delivery system. This method of snow-making system is complex, and the quality of the “snow” is far from natural snow.

The other is to use the traditional high-pressure water and air mixture of snow making. The workflow is that the high pressure water from the high pressure pump and the high pressure air from the air compressor are mixed at the double inlet nozzle. The use of natural evaporation and air out of the nozzle volume expansion to take away the heat and make the droplets condensed into ice crystals. But the problem is that the smaller the droplet, the greater the evaporation, the more water loss, the lower the efficiency of snowmaking. In addition, it can only work below the freezing point, which is very dependent on the external ambient temperature and has low snow-making efficiency.

The two types of snowmaking are different, but if you want to maintain longer and reduce the number of times you need to make snow, both need to be in a lower temperature; the biggest environmental problem of artificial snow is the waste of water resources, reduce the waste of water resources; many ski resorts in order to have a higher income, most of the use of natural water or extraction of groundwater to make snow, which is undoubtedly to the amount of drinking water savings A hazard; of course, some will build reservoirs or by recycling the melted snow water. In addition to water resources, there is also a need for a constant flow of electricity.

Is Artificial Snow Cold

Both artificial snow and natural snow require very low temperatures, so we need to wear ski jackets to stay warm and dry when we are outdoors. The process of making artificial snow is only effective if the weather is cold enough. The ideal temperature is -2°C or lower to get the best texture and staying power of the snow. If the temperature is too high, it won’t stick and may melt. I find artificial snow cooler when it melts on the back of my hand compared to natural snow, perhaps because of the special way artificial snow is formed.

Does Artificial Snow Melt

Of course, artificial snow, like natural snow, will melt as the temperature gets warmer, but compared to natural snow, artificial snow is relatively denser and contains more water and is less likely to melt when it encounters rain, so it takes longer to melt.

Differences in Skiing

If you are an experienced skier, but you are talking to other skiers about how different snow makes you feel, I am sure both you and other skiers will answer that natural snow is better.

Best, the most ideal skiing conditions is the soft powder pushed by natural snow, this is the reason why most of the cool skiers go to remote areas instead of skiing at resorts, the powder pushed by real snow, it can give you the experience of soft and exciting feeling, and it is more comfortable and free to paddle.

The artificial snow used in ski resorts is not able to do the same as real powder and has been skied more by most people, making the snow harder and not the best skiing conditions; at the same time, because of its relatively large mass and more water content, even under a few days of operation of the snow making machine, the snow can not do as soft as natural snow.

But it’s a good choice for beginners because it means your feet won’t get stuck in the snow while you’re practicing.

Manmade Snow: Pros and Cons

Artificial snow can lay a thick layer of snow on the slopes of ski resorts during times of low snowfall, allowing skiers to have a suitable environment for skiing.

The disadvantage is that it is not as soft as natural snow, which may not be a good choice for professional skiers, and from an environmental point of view, artificial snow consumes water and electricity.

Real Snow: Pros and Cons

Natural snow is nothing to replace the thrill of enjoying a lot of powder on the slopes. Compared to the artificial snow in ski resorts, natural snow is undoubtedly the best choice. It does not require you to use any tools or resources to create it, only that under certain conditions, the sky will snow, accumulate to a relatively deep depth to be able to achieve a very good skiing conditions.

The disadvantage of it is also obvious, can snow completely depends on the weather, and the amount of snow is not estimated. The artificial snow is usually a tool used to make up for the lack of natural snow in ski resorts.

Final Thoughts

Natural snow is a pursuit of all skiers, not only because it can bring a different feeling to skiers, but also because it is closer to nature, more challenging, and more able to make you feel the feeling of accelerated heartbeat.


Is Artificial Snow as Good as Real Snow?

For those of you who haven’t experienced it, artificial snow is a good enough substitute for real snow, but nowhere near as good! It often feels like sliding through houmous, is heavy and wet, and doesn’t stick together like real snow.

What is Artificial Snow Made Out of?

Artificial snow is made from a polyacrylate polymer, such as sodium polyacrylate, which is chopped up and made into flakes similar in size and color to real snow. Sodium polyacrylate is a highly absorbent polymer, also known as a hydrogel, that can absorb up to 800 times its own weight in water.

Why do Ski Resorts Use Fake Snow?

Artificial snow is mainly used to supplement natural snow at ski resorts. This allows ski resorts to increase the reliability of the snowpack and extend the ski season from late fall to early spring. Indoor ski resorts use artificial snow.

Is it More Difficult to Ski on Artificial Snow?

Fake snow is stickier to the touch than real snow, so athletes use a harder wax on their skis and snowboards to help them glide across the surface. Fake snow is also firmer and harder. On the other hand, natural snow feels smooth as skiers speed down the slope and snowboarders fall into the halfpipe.

How do They Create Artificial Snow?

Tiny droplets of water are sprayed into a chamber to form a cloud. Then small ice particles are added, which combine with gaseous water molecules and form larger crystals, which fall to the bottom of the chamber as snow. The method is promising, but it also has disadvantages compared to cannons. It requires much colder temperatures.

Extended Reading

What Is Skiing and What Can It Bring To Us

How to Plan a First Time Ski Trip

How to Ski for Beginners

How to Keep Your Face Warm for Skiing in 2023

What is a Freeride Snowboard

Notes On Outdoor Skiing

How to Handle AFTER Skiing Injury

How to Become an Intermediate Skier

Buying Vs Renting Skis

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