30 year anniversary: “YORK” builds its first full auto snowmaking installation!
30 years ago, in 1984 a defining event took place in the snowmaking industry with the construction of the first fully automatic snow making installation in Chamonix (Fra.). The company which managed to accomplish this technological breakthrough was called YORK Neige. Today YORK Neige has become TechnoAlpin France, part of the TechnoAlpin group.
Full automation which is today almost a standard in snowmaking systems outside North America, was a revolution at the time. In addition to the automation of the machine room's operations, the same computer could also start, then optimize minute by, the trail and all the snow guns. Then turn them off automatically when efficient snowmaking was no longer possible.
The flow of each snow gun could be adjusted constantly according to the local weather conditions, also taking into account the air & water resource availabilities of the installation as well as the priorities of the operators of the system! This was one of the very first steps toward energy efficiency and optimized resource management for snowmaking, which is everybody's objective in today snowmaking strategy.
This was made possible thanks to two technical breakthroughs made by the R&D and Engineering teams of YORK, the release of the first self-regulating and automatic air & water valve, the YA valve, as well as the snowmaking control software... which was named YORK Pilot!
Although the features have been significantly refined and improved since these pioneering days, this is the same principle that supports both the automation software, Liberty, today's name of YORK Pilot, and the air & water tower guns designed by the engineering teams of TechnoAlpin.
In North America, Bromont, Hunter Mountain & Squaw Valley where the first ski resorts to benefit from the full automation technology for their snowmaking operation in the second part of the 80's. It is interesting to note that every one of those automatic systems install in the late 80's are not only still running, but have expanded. Even more amazing is that in many cases the original YA hydrant is now serving its 3rd generation of guns, Granite to Borax and now to Rubis EVO. Each generation more energy efficient that the last.
Since these early days, our R&D team has always strived to design the best equipment possible that would allow ski resort operators worldwide to achieve their operational objectives – sound resource management and energy savings, while providing the best experience possible to their guests.
Today, this "Passion for Snowmaking" is still the driving motivation behind the developments of the snowmaking solutions of TechnoAlpin!