Success story of ski resort of Cerro Castor
Cerro Castor in Argentina must be the southernmost ski resort in the world. Despite being situated at a very low altitude of between 200 and 800 meters, it offers its discriminating visitors 1.50 meters of powder snow on average throughout the ski season. Cerro Castor is also popular with Alpine Ski World Cup competitors. Around 80 % of all athletes do their training sessions here during the summer months, benefitting from the optimum slope conditions to prepare for the forthcoming tournament season.
It is therefore imperative to ensure that all the components work perfectly together and that nothing is left to chance when it comes to guaranteed snow cover. The team responsible for snow operations is particularly important. It consists of the owner and director of the ski resort, Gaton Bégué, snow manager Gabriel Garcia and TechnoAlpin.
The snow-making system has been continually expanded since 2005. A fully automatic mobile M20 arrived first, followed by a T60 mounted on a 10-meter arm. It is fitted with an oscillation mechanism which allows it to be used for two adjacent slopes. This mechanism also makes it possible to counter the force of the prevailing and often rapidly changing winds and to deposit the snow in exactly the right places. Five fully automatic M18 fan guns were also installed to distribute the snow efficiently to all areas of the ski resort. Finally, three fully automatic V3 lances were installed in the lower zones of Cerro Castor where they produce snow of excellent quality, both at borderline temperatures and in cold conditions.
All the machines are controlled by ATASSplus. This control software gathers and logs meteorological data for all the fully automatic snow guns and meteostations, and this continual record makes it possible to exploit windows of opportunity for snow generation and to adapt the snow production parameters to the prevailing climatic conditions in the ski resort. The energy efficiency is also improved and the operation of the system is simplified. Snow manager Gabriel Garcia can, for example, control the various machines at his convenience from his notebook which is connected to ATASSplus via the internet.
Therefore the perfect interplay of all the components is what guarantees optimum slope conditions in Cerro Castor and makes it one of the 'hottest' ski resorts.
Photos by: Matias Cullen @ FOTiar