How to Ski on Fake Snow

How to Ski on Fake Snow
Though the technology is improving every day, man-made snow is distinctly different than natural snow to the experienced skier. Because of differences in its composition and the method by which it is distributed across the slope, your performance on fake snow may be a bit different.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Recognize fake snow by its relatively wetter, more densely packed appearance. Most man-made snow is produced en masse in one or two locations and then spread throughout the slope using a groomer. This packs it down more tightly than snow that has fallen on the ground. As such, you will rarely encounter man-made snow that feels and responds like powder.
Step 2
Beware of ice. Man-made snow is created by atomizing water into the air and letting it freeze. This is a somewhat different process than natural snow, which is composed of microscopic ice crystals within the clouds. Because of this, there is typically a greater water-to-air ratio in the composition of man-made snow. When packed tightly, it has the tendency to freeze.
Step 3
Avoid sticking in wet snow. Because man-made snow tends to be wetter than natural snow, skis and poles have a tendency to stick. Hold tight to poles to avoid having them ripped out of your hand and take extra care when turning over wet patches.
Step 4
Take note of the weather. In most cases, artificial snow must be made when the conditions aren't ideal for natural snow. Coincidentally, when conditions aren't ideal for natural snow, they aren't particularly well-suited for artificial snow either. Humid or warm weather can cause man-made snow to melt quickly, making it heavy and slushy. When it cools down again, this snow can turn to ice. On the other hand, when the weather is relatively cold and dry, there may be no discernible difference between man-made and artificial snow.
Step 5
Watch for artificial snow beneath natural snow. Artificial snow makes an excellent base for natural snow. By laying down a layer of artificial snow first, the natural snow will remain on the slope for much longer. However, when there is only a thin layer of natural snow on top of artificial snow, or a great deal of snow has been swept away by other skiers, hitting a patch of man-made snow may catch you off guard. Know that thinly covered areas may be icy beneath.

Tips & Warnings

Avoid eating man-made snow as you would avoid eating natural snow. The water used to make artificial snow will just as likely be contaminated as natural snow.
Some skiers report that artificial snow can damage skis over time, though there is little consensus on this opinion.

Article Written By Anton Busch

Anton Busch earned a B.A. in English with honors from University of Iowa in 2007 and has been publishing content on the Web ever since. His creative and nonfiction works have appeared in print in "Hotel Amerika," "Earthwords," "Lux Magazine," "Quad City View" and "Verdure Magazine." He also writes for various websites.

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