Originally Posted by trochilids
But we still have to add something to the water in the pumproom to get the best snow effect. I worked two winters as a cold-weather grunt on Hillberg's snowmaking crew and never really understood what I was doing from the theoretical point of view. This thread has been very informative and has given me a reason for why I was doing what I was doing, and why we got what we got as a result...
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
Probably added Snomax or Drift. Both additives to increase snowmaking productivity. Drift is just a surficant that decreases surface tension of the individual water particles to help them freeze. It makes a slightly oily-like surface that's real easy on blades and power tillers compared to typical man-made.
Snomax is a biological-based additive. It is technically pseudomonis syringae, a bacteria found in nature (often on the underside of certain leaves). It acts as a high-temp nucleator, and is only really effective if your water source doesn't already have enough high temp nucleators (impurities act as nucleators, some low temp, some mid, some high temp). Sounds like your source probably lacked enough high temp nucleators to make a decent volume.
The reason you need high temp nucleators is this: each nucleator will freeze at a different temperature. One might not freeze until 8F, while one freezes at 16F, and another at 28F. Completely pure water itself (distilled) will not freeze until -40F. This is why you need nucleators to induce freezing. And if your snowmaking temps are in the 20s (which they often are for your key early season snowmaking time), you really need high temp nucleators. If they don't exist naturally in the water supply, you need to supplement with an additive.