Snow cannon use at a ski resort

Snow cannon use at a ski resort

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Credit: JIM WEST/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Snow cannon use at a ski resort. Snow cannons are commonly found on the lower slopes at ski resorts, where they are used to produce extra snow to ensure a good skiing surface. A snow cannon has two pumps, one for water and one for compressed air. Water droplets are sprayed as a fine mist into the compressed air. The water freezes rapidly and forms tiny crystals of snow that fall onto the slopes. To encourage the formation of crystals, a natural protein called Snowmax can be used to aid freezing in a process called nucleation. Climate change has been blamed for the lighter, shorter snow falls that have necessitated the use of snow cannons. Photographed in December 2016, at Vail Ski Resort, Vail, Colorado, USA.

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