Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How Snow Makers Work

        Adventure | Snow Sports

Other Uses of Manmade Snow

The most widespread market for snow-making machines is the ski resort industry. But manmade snow has a number of other uses as well. For example, snow-making machines have played a big part in many movie productions. Movie producers often take several months to shoot scenes that take place in the span of a few days. If the movie takes place in a snowy setting, the set decorators have to get the right amount of snow for each day of shooting. Depending on the weather, this could mean melting natural snow or adding manmade snow.

Snowmaking plays a part in agriculture as well. A good coating of snow keeps a lot of the earth's heat from escaping into the atmosphere, so farmers often use it as an insulator for winter crops. The insulation effect keeps the crops from freezing, even when the temperature drops well below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 C).

Another use of manmade snow is for testing aircraft equipment. Because they fly so high in the atmosphere, airplanes must be able to hold up in very cold, very snowy conditions. Snow-making machines let aircraft designers test how airplane equipment will react to these conditions.

There is also a consumer market for small snow-making machines and manmade snow services. Some homeowners will shell out hundreds of dollars to give their yard and house an attractive coating of snow for the Christmas season, or just to give the kids a special treat. People who really love a snowy yard can invest in a personal snow-making machine. These models, which typically cost thousands of dollars, hook up to an ordinary garden hose and a standard electrical outlet. Just like the ski slope machines, these models use a lot of water and a lot of power; but they're fairly easy to operate.