How easy it is to kid yourself. Just crawl up and down the piste a few times with a snow groomer – that’s not how it works! Good pistes, like good wine, take time. Our snow groomer drivers and our snowmakers, also called Mrs. Holles deputy, give their best day and night to grant you your perfect day on the pistes of LAAX.
The life of a perfect piste actually starts a lot earlier – when the meadows are still green, the alpine roses and gentians are blooming, the cows are grazing and hikers and mountain bikers have taken over the mountain. Preparing the pistes to meet the demands of snow sports enthusiasts is an ongoing and, what’s more, a time-consuming process.
The specialists of Weisse Arena Bergbahnen AG already take a closer look in the summer. The first priority is always to shape the terrain in such a way that the conditions will still be good when the next winter arrives, even if there is only a little snow – be it technical or natural.
As soon as it’s cold enough – around minus four degrees Celsius – the basic snowmaking, which is essential today, can begin. This involves producing technical snow that builds the foundation for winter sports. Around 400 snowmakers are used. Some are permanently installed snow lances, others are mobile snow cannons which are mostly flown to the site by helicopter.
In the initial phase of snowmaking, between 4 and 6 snow groomer drivers and up to 10 snowmakers are involved. Snowmaking goes on around the clock. That’s why snow cannons and lances must also be checked during the night.
Water is propelled at high pressure through the small nozzles of snow cannons or snow lances. This leads to the formation of droplets which immediately freeze and fall to the ground as ice granules. Technically manufactured snow granules are much smaller than natural snowflakes, which is why pistes with technical snow are normally hard.
Is very dry, light and airy snow. It falls at very low temperatures and is the most popular type of snow with winter sports enthusiasts.
Is the typical spring snow. It is granular and has a high water content. Granules are formed when the snow goes through repeated melting and freezing.
Is hard frozen snow with an ice crust. There is often a loose layer of snow under the hard ice crust.