The science of snowmaking has come a long way from its early days some 40 years ago. The snowmakers of Cataloochee have always been on it cutting edge, constantly upgrading equipment and water capacity to the point were all we need is one cold night to go from bare grass to excellent skiing conditions.

Snowmaking relies on mother nature the same as natural snowfall. Temperature and humidity both determine if conditions are right to make snow. A damp 30 degrees may not be suitable but a dry 34 degrees may permit snow formation.

There are two types of devices that are employed. The first uses water and compressed air and extreme pressure sprays a ultra fine mist into the are were the water droplets freeze and turn to snow before it settles on the ground. The second type is what most associate with snowmaking, the big guns. These units are funnel in shape and consist of a large jet like fan and rows of water nozzels around the rim that inject water into the air flow. These machines can shoot snow at the rate of up to 80 gallons of water a minute and over a distance of 50 yards.

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