I sold my skis before I moved to North Carolina. That turned out to be a dumb move, because this subtropical state actually has the highest mountains on the East Coast, and it gets plenty cold from December through February. For a few months each winter, you can go skiing and snow tubing and sledding. But you’ll likely be doing these things at a place with man-made snow. You can count on the cold—where I live, one recent February averaged 27 degrees for the entire month—but you can’t count on the snow. The weather runs either cold and clear or wet and warm.
Still, about once a year, the forces align for a snowstorm, by which I mean an inch or three. School is canceled and a local golf course morphs into a ski lodge as kids sled down the hill at the driving range and parents cluster around the fireplace at the bar. It’s great fun. After a few years in North Carolina, I began to have a thought that had never entered my brain in 30 years of living in New England: If only it snowed more. A few winters ago, as I watched my kids attempt backyard sledding atop a pathetic crust of ice that barely covered the grass, I wondered if there was a way to crowbar nature into giving us more. Man-made snow is possible, and I wanted to make it.
Equipment - Ski - Resort - Pressure - Washer
But how? Do you buy equipment from a defunct ski resort? Can you just spray a pressure washer in the air? I realized I have no idea how snowmakers work. But on a cold winter day, it’s a short trip from total ignorance to contemplating the finer points of nucleation nozzles and the Joule-Thomson effect—which is, of course, when a compressed gas is allowed to rapidly...
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