Ski and Snowboard Resorts Make Sure "Newcomer Learning Areas" are Well Covered with Natural or Machine-Made Snow


CONTACT: Mary Jo Tarallo |


December 2017 - Ski and snowboard resorts throughout the U.S. have many different names for snow conditions. Some of the more common terms include powder, packed-powder, and manmade. The last descriptor is a bit misleading because all snow is “real snow.” It either falls from the sky or it is pumped out of a machine.

Machine made snow is snow created by a ski resort or ski area using water, air, specialized equipment and electricity. Snowmaking is water intensive. To cover one acre one foot deep with snow takes 200,000 gallons of water. That water goes right back into the earth so as not to strain natural resources. 

The ability to make snow depends on a variety of conditions and there are regional differences between East and West.

In the mountain West, where the winter climate is more consistently cold and snowy, resort snowmakers lay down snow in the autumn in preparation for natural snowfall and to provide early season guests with high quality snow on as much terrain as possible.

In the East, snowmaking is a season long proposition especially at resorts that are at lower altitudes with a history of less natural snowfall.

Since eastern winter temperatures can vary significantly from one day to the next, snowmaking provides coverage in early season and helps to replenish the snowpack into spring.

“This is especially good news for newcomers to the sports since ski and snowboard areas recognize the importance of covering and keeping covered their beginner terrain so they can provide the best possible conditions for learning,” said Mary Jo Tarallo, director for the snow sports industry’s Learn to Ski and Snowboard/Bring a Friend initiative. “Just because there is no snow in the backyard or on the roads, that doesn’t mean there is no snow on the slopes.”

More information about making snow is available at Behind the Scenes: Snowmaking. 

Winter Driving Tips are available for newcomers who may be a little intimidated driving when snowy conditions so exist.



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