Snowmaking Resources & Climate Risks

snowmaker standing on whale at Holiday Valley NY
Snowmaking at Holiday Valley, NY


Snowmaking has been an integral part of most ski area operations since the 1960s. It allows ski areas to open by their scheduled opening date, stay open for the duration of their standard season, and provide a consistent and durable snow surface for our guests. It's also used to create optimum surfaces and features on which elite alpine, snowboard and freestyle athletes train and compete. 

Snowmaking increases the resiliency of ski areas in the face of climate change. Snowmaking is not a climate solution; it is an operational tool. We can make snow at more marginal temperatures, and thanks to advances in technology, we can make more snow with fewer natural and human resources. But, as ski areas feel the effects of climate change, we must be part of broader climate solutions. This includes both on-the-ground action and political advocacy.

The resources on this page can help you:

  • Better understand snowmaking's role in ski area operations
  • Gain knowledge on snowmaking in the context of climate change
  • Find companies with efficient snowmaking technologies

Climate Smart Snowmaking

NSAA's inaugural Climate Smart Snowmaking Study explores the relationship between climate change and snowmaking.


  1. Establish a baseline and benchmark for snowmaking across the United States
  2. Help ski areas understand climate risks and vulnerabilities in snowmaking
  3. Develop and share information, tools and resources to improve efficiency and reduce impacts

Key Takeaways

  • Ski areas embrace the science of climate change. Climate science is informing responsible and resilient ski area operations and advocacy efforts.
  • Snowmaking is a long-standing operational tool that improves resilience for resorts and mountain communities. It allows ski areas to open on time and can allow them to stay open longer, which brings both jobs and revenue to the community.
  • Snow made at ski areas is actual snow, not fake or artificial. Snow crystals are produced by separating water into small particles and quickly freezing them as they move through cold air.
  • Snowmaking is a largely non-consumptive use of water that provides environmental, operational and economic benefits.
  • Investments in efficient snowmaking equipment and process automation have reduced the energy and resource impacts of snowmaking, further reducing its share of a ski area’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

The study was conducted in partnership with Brendle Group, ski industry experts and third-party stakeholders.

Get the Fact Sheet

Snowmaking Primer and FAQs

As climate change impacts are felt across North America, questions arise on how ski areas are affected by climate change and what the ski industry is doing in response. The informational primer and its accompanying FAQs are intended to help answer questions regarding snowmaking’s role in and risks from a changing climate.

Read the Primer & FAQs

Inaugural Climate Smart Snowmaking Study

NSAA and Brendle Group partnered on the inaugural Climate Smart Snowmaking Study with the goals of better understanding climate change vulnerabilities; measuring and mitigating snowmaking impacts on the environment and resources; and to help ski areas plan for future risks and impacts from climate change on their operations. NSAA is grateful to the study's Technical Advisory Committee and focus group participants (both ski industry experts and external stakeholders) for sharing their time and experience to this important resilience tool.

Read the Study

Snowmaking Companies

Learn more about the process of making snow from industry suppliers. Many of these companies produce equipment that helps reduce GHG emissions and improve the resource efficiency of snowmaking operations.

Snowmaking Equipment Grants

Endorsers of NSAA's Sustainable Slopes framework are eligible to apply for annual snowmaking equipment grants, generously sponsored by HKD Snowmakers.

Learn More
Brendle Group logo

Thank you to the team at Brendle Group for their partnership in the development of the Climate Smart Snowmaking FAQ and inaugural snowmaking study.