Sierra Nevada has shown that it can guarantee the opening of the station with quality snow, even in conditions of absolute lack of rainfall. Not for nothing, the station has a modern snow production system, one of the largest in Spain.
This facility has been the main investment effort within the services of the Ski Resort, with the aim of offering skiers and snowboarders optimal conditions during the winter season.
It is a cannon that needs very little compressed air and therefore consumes very little energy.
We use it as a fixed gun as it is somewhat difficult to disassemble and to move, due to its length of 10 to 12 m., but on the other hand it is very fast at start-up since it does not need water pressure regulation.
It is sensitive to wind due to its height but if the wind goes in favor it distributes the snow better across the track without having to move it later with the foot-and-track machines as sometimes happens with high canyons on sled.
There is the manual and automatic version.
Low-pressure guns are large, heavy, expensive, need a machine to move them, and have more maintenance. But they only need a water and electricity intake and make a lot of snow with marginal temperatures (the latest generation) at a much lower cost than high-pressure guns.
Another advantage is the possibility of being able to direct within a few limits the jet of snow towards the track although the wind would prevent it from another type of cannon. As snow is expelled by a large turbine, snow is spread over a radius of up to 80 m. which can virtually cover the entire width of a track. In Sierra Nevada we have 174 fully automated units.
Due to the high demand for increasingly efficient snow systems, manufacturers have improved their products year after year. Today we find in the market canyons capable of snowing with higher temperatures and at a cost, i.e. energy expenditure, lower. But especially in the field of automation, much progress has been made compared to the early 1990s and today 80% of the systems installed in the world are fully automatic.
The great advantage of an automatic cannon is that it constantly regulates its water flow to maximize its performance, i.e. instantly takes advantage of a temperature variation without changing snow quality. A small weather station integrated into each gun provides accurate temperature and relative humidity data and the gun can operate fully autonomously and automatically once all necessary innivation parameters are programmed.
They are light, easy to move, inexpensive and can operate at marginal temperatures but, on the other hand, they need a lot of compressed air from a fixed installation of energy-consuming compressors.
Snow production with this system is 2 to 10 times more expensive than making snow with other guns. It is a 100% manual regulated gun and is mostly used to support innivation in high altitudes where fixed guns have not been installed.