Tagged: Salted Trails
March 22, 2012 at 6:47 pm #89655
That’s the first I’ve heard of this (in reference to articles on Canadian Nationals at Mount Saint Anne). Can anyone tell me if and how they “clean up” after doing something like that? (I’m not an environmental purist, but can’t imagine it’s great for the salt to enter the water table or damage the grass on the trails.)
And just curious how common this is? (I’m wondering if it’s at all something to be considered to make manmade snow more skiable.)March 22, 2012 at 8:39 pm #91142
They use different types of salt. If its the last day of competition and the trails wont be used again that year then normal “table salt” can be used. It melts the top layer of snow which is then frozen by the colder snow underneath and so creates a hard layer of ice.
However generally the use a salt more commonly used as fertilizer. Not 100% sure how it works. But if its really warm they tend to have to use more. At the Olympics in Vancouver the tracks were salted, but they had to use a different salt than normal because the competition trials are in a national park.
Its very very common in warm conditions. Falun world cup last week, Vancouver Olympics, Liberec world champs…
It Norway at sognefjell, where they can ski until August, some years even later than that, they salt the tracks twice daily. It is expensive, and subsequently these are the only trails you have to pay to use in Norway.March 23, 2012 at 12:21 am #91143
I tried skiing on salt fields at Badwater, Death valley, and that had zero glide (looks really like snow though). Sand dunes a mile down the road had more glide than Badwater.March 23, 2012 at 3:41 pm #91144
At the Vancouver Olympics, the ‘salt’ was an eco-friendly fertilizer. I think this is pretty common, and ‘salt’ is used in the chemistry sense, not meaning NaCl (table salt).
The cleanup in Vancouver was pretty simple: dilution. Even though it didn’t snow after the first week of December until mid-March, there was still 150cm of densely packed base on the trails. Treating the top centimeter daily for two weeks still dilutes down to a safe level.
Most days the Olympic trails were very slow for those of us without wax techs to find the right structure. Very wet, usually firm tracks with sharp crystals caused some issues even among the big teams. In general, the top waxing teams (like Sweden) were gliding the same distance onto the flats as I do at -10C using training wax, so pretty slow.
The day of the 50k was better, with decent glide distances and hard tracks that were still flawless after five laps of 80 skiers. And yes, I skied after the race, not duringMarch 26, 2012 at 1:35 am #91145
Folks, its not salt as in NaCl, there are many forms of salts, ammonium, sodium etc, look at the table. In this case, basically it is a Nitrogen salt where Nitrogen is dissociated. So in common language we do not say salt but rather Fertilizer on the the track. This being said, it is much purer than fertiliser Nitrogen (hence the fact that you get a waiver when you go through customs witha ski back used on fertilizer. Nitrogen can be turned into an explosive).
The effect here is similar than liquid notrogen, it completely dries up the top snow, turning into ice under that dry crust. So a hardener, they had many bags.
Environmentaly, the gras is simply greener… very little is used and this is an acidic environemenet t start with…
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