Mt Ruapehu, New Zealand
Objectives and Solutions
With a rugged volcanic surface requiring a minimum one meter of snow coverage for skiing, supplemental snowmaking is mandatory at Turoa Skifield, situated on the North Island of New Zealand. Like many resorts, climate change has impacted Turoa’s lower mountain areas, with snow levels creeping higher over the past decade. As part of an ongoing master plan with SMI, Turoa wanted to ensure snow coverage at these lower elevations.
The engineering and construction phases posed unique challenges, however. Because the resort is within Tongariro National Park, extreme measures were required to limit the
impact of equipment and crews, such as transporting workers, equipment, and materials by helicopter.
This complicated infrastructure planning, which was further compounded by the resort’s location at the park’s highest level. The hard volcanic rock surface also required innovative approaches to what would otherwise have been routine construction.
But the extra effort paid off for this turn-key success. With 22 fully automated SMI Super PoleCat Towers added to 10 existing manual PoleCat carriages, Turoa’s new system helps the resort build a solid, long-lasting snow base, despite the challenging conditions.
The new pump station has two 300 kW (400 HP) pumps with room for two more and delivers 5,678 lpm (1,500 gpm). An existing pump house was also automated and is now used for both snowmaking and filling the new reservoir.
Full Automation was added with SmartSnow controlling pump stations, snow guns, and aspirated weather devices using Radio, fiber optic, copper, and RS485 communications.
22 fully automated Super PoleCats towers were added giving Turoa a total snowmaking capacity of 2,300 lpm (608 gpm) from the existing pumphouse using 12 snow guns.