Objectives and Solutions
The sister resorts of Yabuli and Sun Mountain have completed an extensive expansion of their snowmaking capacity, ending their reliance on natural snow with 98 new SMI® snow machines that now deliver 90% coverage of all skiable trails. As a result, ski area officials have been able to open the resorts three weeks earlier than in past years, despite steadily declining natural snowfalls and marginal weather.
Six different SMI snow machine types have been installed, bringing the total to 105, along with 13 new pumps in six different stations and three reservoirs totaling 700,000 m3. To serve more than 1300 meters of vertical drop on the Yabuli side, engineers installed four new stations, with one main pump, one central booster and two upper boosters.
Utilizing SMI’s SmartSnow™ software, the pumping stations and tower fans are fully automated, and the carriage fans and Viking SnowTowers are semi-automated, with manual start and auto-adjustment.
Overall, the start-up is extremely easy, with staff members able to have the entire fleet of machines running within an hour.
SMI worked in close collaboration with the resort team on both mountains to assess the technical challenges and develop the best engineering solutions to meet them. Construction crews overcame some difficult conditions including 58 days of rain and some of the steepest and rockiest terrain in all of China.
With the snowmaking capabilities now in place, Yabuli and Sun Mountain are pursuing their goal of becoming the largest ski destination in the country. The site has already hosted the 2009 World University Winter Games, and applied to be a location for the Winter Olympics in 2018.
- Capacity: 6 new stations / 13 new pumps
- Water reservoirs: 600,000 m3, 50,000 m3 and 50,000 m3
- Level of Automation: 30% fully automated, 70% semi-automatic
- Snow Guns added: 40 Super Wizzards (carriage), 25 Super Polecats (carriage), 19 V2 SnowTowers, 6 Super Wizzards (tower), 6 Super PoleCats (tower), 2 Kid Wizzards (carriage)
- Start-up capacity: 105 machines in one hour
- Supplemental snowmaking capacity: 1,200 m3 / hour (600 m3 at each resort)
- Coverage: 100% of skiable terrain — 102 hectares (250+ acres) of trails from 365 hydrants