TechnoAlpin lances on the road to success
TechnoAlpin has now been in the snow-making business for over 20 years and has a successful track record in the market with fan guns like the M90, the M18, the T60 and, most recently, the T40. When it comes to snow lances, however, TechnoAlpin has also long since developed a wealth of expertise. The patented round lance head has more than proved its efficiency since it was developed. Today the number of lances made in the TechnoAlpin production hall is roughly equal to the number of fan guns. In 2010, for example, some 1,300 lances left the factory. It was mostly the new V3 which featured some improvements on the previous lance.
Changes were made, for example, to the arrangement of the nucleators, fixed nozzles and switchable nozzles, enabling the snow output to be increased. The size of the lance head was also reduced to render the lance less susceptible to the weather. The external surface was made smaller while the internal surface was made larger with additional cooling fins. In addition, the heat transfer from the head to the nozzle body is assisted by new recessed nozzles made of anodized aluminum. As a result, the lance head remains free of ice even at cold temperatures and in windy conditions. The lance manages with one 4 kW compressor, thus also delivering impressive energy consumption figures.
Since its market launch in 2010 the V3 has been put into use all over the world and the feedback is entirely positive. The performance of the V3 impressed Remo Gwerder, operations manager at Sattel-Hochstuckli AG (SUI), especially at borderline temperatures. "The V3 produces high quality snow at borderline temperatures", he said. "It has the same air consumption as the A9 but manages a much higher snow output. The control settings mean that it can be adjusted to the actual conditions and this has led to excellent results in terms of both quality and quantity."
TechnoAlpin lances have been the equipment of choice for some time in Praz Sur Arly (FRA). "We make snow with the A9, the A30 and now also the V3", said Bernard Baronnat, recounting his experiences. "We have noticed a steady improvement in the snow quality over the years. We tripled our snow production last winter. Also, with the efficient use of resources there were no nasty surprises when we did the cost sheet. Lots of customers have commented on the excellent slope conditions this year. The snow quality is definitely the greatest advantage of the V3. And if our customers are satisfied then they'll come again".
The V3 also had to prove itself in New Zealand in its first winter in the southern hemisphere. "2011 was a really challenging season for us in terms of snow-making", recalled Craig Ovenden, operations manager in Ohau Snow Fields where warm temperatures delayed the start of the season. "We were really glad though that we had installed the new V3 lances. We were able to use all the snow guns at the same time because of the reduced air consumption - and with just one compressor. With conditions as they were and little opportunity for snow-making, this was absolutely invaluable".
Many ski resorts are looking to TechnoAlpin lances for guaranteed snow for the 2011/2012 winter season as well. They have been installed in French resorts, for example, like Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval in the department of Haute-Savoie on the east border of France. The future supply of snow here will be guaranteed by the V3 - all 26 of them. In St. Jean Montclar, in the south of the French Alps, 11 of the non-adjustable V2 lances are also being installed in addition to 11 of the V3 model. Champ du Feu, a resort in the Vosges (FRA), opted on the other hand for a hybrid system consisting of 24x V3 and 4x T40. This summer 30x V3 were delivered to the Canadian family ski resort of Mount St. Louis Moonstone. Following on from the positive experiences of the previous year, more V3 lances were installed again this summer in the Swiss destination of Laax. Two members of the Skistar Group in Scandinavia, Lindvallen (SWE) and Hemsedal (NOR), invested in the V3 for snow guarantee. The Filipstad cross-country skiing center in Sweden will also be covered with V3 snow in future. By contrast, the World Cup venue of Kvitfjell chose to do things differently. Here the existing A9 lances were upgraded to V3 lances. The new V3 head has more nozzles and can be run with the same rate of air flow as the A9. V3 lances have also been installed in Spain, the USA, Finland, Romania and in many other countries. We have good reason then to be keen to receive feedback from the second snow season.