Finally, Outdoor Summer Snow.

It’s the invention of TechnoAlpin, an Italian manufacturer of snow making equipment. Its Snow Factory addresses warming trends challenging the future of skiing, allowing skiable snow to be made when air temps are warm. It will help areas extend their seasons or operate when nature won’t cooperate.

The first application in North America is at Boreal Mountain Resort  at Donner Pass, not far from Lake Tahoe.

The container-shaped unit is delivered by tractor-trailer. It freezes water using a heat exchanger. No chemicals are added. TechnoAlpin’s site states: “The snow is not snow in its natural form but rather in small dry ice flakes which are completely frozen.” The ice crystals then get sprayed onto the slope where the frozen surface gets groomed or tenderized by the sun. It functions best in temperatures between 28 and 75 degrees.

None of this is inexpensive. The unit costs around $500,000 and uses a lot of power, much higher than the $38,000 cost of a typical snow making machine. But it’s not a water hog. Snow Factory uses less than 20 percent of a typical snow maker’s 100 gallons per minute.

The website describes the technology as “… ideal for making snow to cover relatively small sections in ski resorts or for all kinds of events, such as snowboard events or ski races in big towns, or the lower sections in ski resorts.” The company also identifies low-elevation Nordic centers as a suitable application for its Snow Factory.

This is a far cry from the beginnings of delivering ice in summer. That started around 500 BC in Persia (Iran) where winter harvested ice was stored in large, underground spaces, (perhaps similar to those used by Iran for its nuclear development program).

More than two millennia later, an enterprising New Englander named Frederick Tudor (1783-1864) was harvesting, storing and shipping ice from Walden Pond in Concord, MA, and the surrounding area to as far away as India. Queen Victoria said her favorite ice came from Wenham Lake, near Hamilton, MA, one of’s headquarter sites.

Boreal will rely on its Snow Factory to provide surfaces needed for its Woodward Tahoe Action Sports Camps, eight weeks of co-ed residential summer camp for kids (7-19) and a week for adults.

As for the rest of us, look forward to warm weather runs without hiking to a glacier or getting on a plane.

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