Snow Center Tyrol at MCI guides Tyrolean development to maturity - aircraft technology provides the basis for an environmentally sustainable snowmaking system
The Snow Center Tyrol, established at the MCI's Technical department and embedded in the Lebensraum Tirol Holding, represents the latest research and practical know-how in the fields of snow production (technical snowmaking) and snow management. Research institutes, cable car companies and innovative companies are working together to make snow production and slope management more efficient, improve quality and reduce the use of resources. The most recent example of a successful project is the "Limes" snowmaking system, which was developed by the Tyrolean entrepreneur Frank Wille. Already in 2015, Wille had invented a novel snowmaking system based on a Laval nozzle. In contrast to conventional systems, this technology does not rely on the evaporation of water to generate cooling energy, but on the considerable differences in flow velocity. The convex shape of the nozzle in the inlet accelerates a water-air mixture to supersonic speed, while the concave shape at the nozzle head leads to an extreme drop in pressure.
The Snow Center Tyrol carried out extensive tests with the first prototypes, which showed enormous potential and led to first considerations for the series development: The new snow guns were characterized by a high independence from the ambient humidity and their snow production potential near freezing. In cooperation with the Swiss Research Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF), the Snow Center Tyrol was able to establish contact with the Swiss company Bächler Top Track, a global provider of tailored solutions in the fields of snow cultivation and snowmaking. At that time, Bächler Top Track was very busy developing new snowmaking methods and the Tyrolean concept was exactly right for these requirements. Based on an exclusive agreement, Bächler Top Track further developed the Tyrolean prototype to series maturity. The snow-making system now celebrates its first international successes as the "Limes".
Due to its special features, Limes is ideally suited for indoor use, such as in the "alpincenter Hamburg-Wittenburg", the longest ski hall in the world. "Where we had 15 snowmaking systems in use so far, there will only be two Limes in the future. The system's simplicity and performance are unrivalled," is how Deputy Managing Director Matthijs van Grieken describes his experience. A Limes snowmaking system can be used at temperatures as low as minus 1 degree and produces large quantities of snow in a short time. The consistency of the snow is comparable to dry powder snow, the snow is easy to process and it feels like truly natural snow to skiers or snowboarders. In addition, there are low acquisition and energy costs and impressively simple handling to boot.
In recognition of its outstanding innovation and value creation potential, "Limes" was awarded the renowned "SWISS EXCELLENCE - Product Award" and presented to a wide audience for the first time at Interalpin 2019.
Statements Claus Dangel, CEO of Bächer Top Track AG: "The overwhelming response at the Interalpin as well as the Swiss Excellence Award prove that we are on the right track with 'Limes'. The impressive base product comes with modular additions and retrofit options, so Limes recommends itself for a variety of application variants." Frank Wille, TWF Wille Frank: "As a small mechanical engineering company, our focus is on individual solutions to problems that often seem unsolvable at the beginning. I am very pleased about the constructive cooperation with one of the world's most renowned manufacturers of snow-making systems." Michael Rothleitner, Snow Center Tyrol: "At the Snow Center Tyrol, we not only develop new processes and technologies to improve snow production and slope management, but also support our partners through our network. Successful cooperations such as these shows that even smaller companies with innovative ideas and developments can be internationally successful."