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What is Snow Farming?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2016
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The term “snow farming” is used to refer to the management of snow supplies and reserves. Snow farming is practiced by many ski resorts in the interest of keeping their slopes well-stocked with snow to attract visitors. It also is used by some governments to control drifting, keep roads clear or maintain water reserves in the form of snow. Individuals might also engage in snow farming with the goal of keeping their driveways free of snow or keeping their gardens in optimal condition during snowy weather.

The farming of snow can be accomplished in several ways, depending on the desired outcome of the farming and the resources available to the people doing the farming. At its most basic, snow farming simply involves moving snow around with the assistance of heavy equipment, depositing snow supplies in some areas and removing unwanted snow from others. The tools used to farm snow can be as basic as a snow shovel or as advanced as motorized snow blowers, snow plows or snow groomers.

Storage

Snow also can be transferred to areas used for storing it, in which case it typically is covered to slow the rate at which it melts. Many ski resorts practice this form of snow farming with the goal of reducing the amount of artificial snow that they will need to create. These snow reserves can last for an extended period of time when well-covered, making less work for the snow machines.

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Walls and barriers that are used in snow farming are often designed to collect the falling or blowing snow. These same barriers can also be used to keep snow out of particular areas, such as roadways and gardens. By establishing a snow fence, snow farmers can allow the snow to collect along the fence. The snow is easier to gather and move when it clumps around an obstacle.

Ski Resorts

Snow farming might also involve manufacturing snow through the use of snow machines. This practice is common at ski resorts, where people often want to ski even when little or no snow has fallen and where high-quality snow is demanded by discerning visitors. During periods of light snowfall, snow machines can increase the amount of snow on the ground. Resorts often run the machines before sunrise so that there is a layer of fresh powder on the slopes when skiers arrive in the morning.

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