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Soda Springs, CA To Make Snow From Recycled Water

Soda Springs Launches Snowmaking Using Recycled Water for 2015...

Soda Springs will lead the region as the first ski area in California to make snow using recycled water. This innovation is the result of a shared vision and partnership with Donner Summit Public Utility District (DSPUD).

Posted by Soda Springs Ski Resort on Thursday, November 19, 2015

Tiny Soda Springs, California–the oldest operating ski area in the state and the first to host a snowboard halfpipe contest in 1983–will become the first ski area in the state and only the second in the country to use recycled wastewater in its snowmaking this season.

Soda Springs worked with its local water district, which invested over $20 million to update its wastewater treatment facility to use UV treatment instead of chlorine gas. That makes the treated wastewater cleaner even than rain that falls on the ground–meeting the highest standards for treated, non-potable water in the state of California. 

This comes after water-starved Arizona Snowbowl became the first ski area in the country to use treated wastewater for its snowmaking, which is piped in from nearby Flagstaff, where the city has a surplus of treated wastewater in the colder winter months. The move was controversial for the (incorrect) image it generated of poop-laced water sprayed on forests, and for the pushback from local Native American tribes, for whom the San Francisco Peaks around Snowbowl are sacred ground. 

This past season, that snowmaking, which covered 60 acres or 1% of the ski area's terrain, allowed Snowbowl to operate for 121 days, when they claim they would have only opened for 9 during last year's dry season in the Southwest if they were dependent on natural snowfall alone. 

With water becoming an increasing stressed resource in the American West, it will be interesting to follow whether more ski areas adopt this technology to increase or maintain their ability to blow snow.

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