Students: Bryan Sooter, Julia Mackey, Jesse Miller, James Matthews

Faculty Advisor or Community Project Lead: Osama A. Abaza

Client Organization: Anchorage Ski Club


The SeaWolf Engineering 2017 team completed preliminary design work to install a snowmaking system at Arctic Valley Ski Area (AVSA), near Anchorage Alaska. The system was designed to produce 30 acre-ft of machine made snow by December. Environmental and economic constraints had the most significant impact on the design process and resulted in a final design that efficiently produces the required amount of snow. To achieve this, SeaWolf Engineering 2017 incorporated a three-phase approach that minimizes upfront construction cost and allows for a snowmaking system to be deployed at a minimal cost.

The first phase calls for a pumphouse to draw water from an existing spillway and then pump up the mountain to snow guns via a piping network. Phases two and three consist of constructing a water storage pond of equal size in each phase. Snowmaking operations are most efficient in very specific weather conditions which create the need for water storage to take advantage of cyclical weather patterns. These ideal cyclical snowmaking conditions are evident from weather station data at AVSA and thus to consistently produce 30 acre-ft by December 1st, a significant amount of stored water is needed. The large amount of water being used on this project requires several permits from state and federal agencies. This preliminary design submitted an application and the require fee to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources for five years of water rights to the amount of water needed.



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