Piste grooming & snow making
The Alpbachtaler Bergbahnen have 13 snow cats thereof 4 are winch-assisted snow grooming vehicles. These snow cats are in service daily during the Winter season to ensure best possible piste conditions for skiers. Depending on snow and weather conditions pistes are groomed by our staff at the end of the day and at 4.00 a.m. respectively.
Piste conditions are sometimes described by skiers as bad. In general this is not due to bad snow grooming, but due to external factors. Despite conscientious work "lumpy" pistes, "icy" pistes and also "slushy" pistes occur. These conditions depend largely on snow and weather conditions (especially on temperature), but also on the numbers of skiers and of course on ones own skiing abilities.
Pistes in new snow:
During fresh snowfall the snow cats start grooming at 4.00 a.m. By 8.30 a.m. the new snow has not yet had sufficient time to bind with the existing snow layers giving the pistes a very soft feel. Continuous snowfall during grooming gives the impression of ungroomed pistes although these have been groomed since early morning.
Pistes in long good weather periods:
In Spring due to warm temperatures snow conditions during the day can be very heavy and wet. This snow is described as "slushy". At night temperatures fall below zero degrees and the snow freezes leaving the pistes icy in the morning. Snow grooming on snow that has frozen the night before often results in the unpopular "corn". So you see besides our experienced staff weather plays a leading role in snow grooming.
Pistes are not groomed during the day for safety reasons. Should you see a snow cat on a piste during daytime this could be because it is being used to transport something or on a rescue mission.
Artificial snow making helps to ensure a skiing season lasting from Christmas to Easter. In the last years snow making has gained in importance, as the last Winters mean temperatures have risen and snowfall has decreased. Our team strives to ensure a high quality firm bed of snow to kick-start the season.
Artificial snow is made by breaking water into small particles, cooling the water by causing the particles to move through cold air, nucleating (the creation of small ice crystals) the particles and distributing the resulting snow on the ground. A temperature of -3°C is necessary to be able to do so.