Engineering Award for Coronet Peak and TechnoAlpin
The Coronet Peak (NEZ) ski area and TechnoAlpin have been jointly awarded the New Zealand Engineering Excellence Award for the " Coronet Peak Ski Area Snowmaking Infrastructure and Reservoirs " project. The winners were announced at a gala dinner in Wellington. All those involved in the project were delighted when the award in the Water, Waste and Amenities category went to their new snow-making system. The successful entries in each category are automatically submitted for the Supreme Award, and when this too was won by Coronet Peak and TechnoAlpin, the winners' joy was naturally unbridled.
The Engineering Excellence Awards were awarded for the first time in 2005 and have included two categories right from the start: The Recognising People category awards young engineers, while the Project und Product Awards category honors outstanding achievement in the industrial arena. The winner of the Supreme Award is chosen out of all the finalists, and the prize is now considered to be the most prestigious engineering award in New Zealand.
Coronet Peak is located close to Queenstown in the south-west of New Zealand at an altitude of 487 – 1524 meters. Coronet Peak and TechnoAlpin were granted the awards for the modernization of the snow-making infrastructure. Before the start of modernization work in 2008, the local snow-making system consisted of two reservoirs, very limited water circulation and 61 manual snow guns. Today Coronet Peak has a modern and fully-automatic snow-making system. With 124 fan-guns and 78 lances, it represents the largest system of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Alongside the new snow guns, 20 kilometers of water pipes, air pipes and electrical cables were also laid. Water is taken from five groundwater wells and three surface sources. The water is now stored in five pools (three of which are new) with a total capacity of 252 million liters. The system has a central air supply.
TechnoAlpin and local professionals were responsible for the system's engineering, and a system was planned and created that is precisely tailored to the needs of Coronet Peak. TechnoAlpin drew up the master plan, taking into account the geographical features and special climatic conditions of the site.
The water supply was then planned on the basis of this master plan. It is guaranteed by surface sources and through extraction from groundwater wells. Rainwater and snow melt ensure that the groundwater supply is maintained, with used water flowing back into the ground as meltwater and being used again. The newly-created reservoirs also play an important role in ensuring an optimal supply of water. Five fully-automatic pumping plants and interacting extraction possibilities together create a functioning cycle of extraction and refilling. The changes made to the water supply system have already proven their worth at the start of the 2010 snow season, with Coronet Peak being one of the first ski areas in the southern hemisphere to start generating snow, and all the snow guns working at full capacity right from the start.
The system is fully automatically controlled by TechnoAlpin's ATASS control software. This was entirely developed by TechnoAlpin and ensures the optimal and efficient use of resources, enabling energy to be saved and snow quality to be increased.
Now following completion of the work, the amount of snow that can be produced has increased by 300%, and the modern facility means that ski fans in New Zealand are able to enjoy a special kind of skiing experience. This benefits not only the ski area, but also the entire region. Winter tourism is an important part of the economy in the Queenstown region, and ensuring that the season starts punctually and that the slopes are of high quality is absolutely vital if the expectations of skiers are to be met.