Funky Nose/Throat after Skiing while snowmaking
11 posts
10 users
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December 22, 2009
Member since 03/3/2005 🔗
142 posts
Well, I think I am convinced now. Based on my own personal experience, that if I ski while snow making is in the process, I develop shortly afterward a scratchy throat and runny nose. Sort of like mild cold like symptoms. No flu, no swine. Almost like a seasonal allergy kind of feeling.

I thought I read somewhere (and I could prob do some googling...) that this is pretty common.

Yeah... I managed to go skiing at Whitetail on Friday, before the storm, when they had the snow blowers cranking.

Anybody else with a funky throat after skiing while snow making?
December 22, 2009
Member since 09/16/2006 🔗
88 posts
I've never had this issue, nor have I heard anyone else bring it up. We were 'exposed' to blowing man-made snow at Wintergreen. We didn't have any of the above described symptoms on the drive home. I wonder if some resorts put some sort of additive or chemical in the water? No idea.
December 22, 2009
Member since 10/21/2009 🔗
5 posts
Yes, some resorts do add chemicals to the water for snowmaking
December 22, 2009
Member since 11/17/2008 🔗
383 posts
My daughter and I were up there Fri. night for at least 10-12 runs. Yes, they had everything cranking. No issues here--but the ENT is a mighty fickle piece of equipment. Do you have allergies in your family???--we do not. Doubt they were adding chemicals but don't know this for a fact.
December 22, 2009
Member since 11/22/1999 🔗
317 posts
Snowmaking is a combination of water and air - period. The process is complicated and expensive enough as it is without the added cost of "chemicals." That's not the same as you're not feeling symptoms or minimizing your reactions. Remember that the water for snowmaking is pulled from holding "ponds" at the base of most areas. This means that as a natural water environment, you'll have plant growth, algae, etc. etc. Some of that may get pulled into the intact and end up as part of the snow. Could very well be an allergy. Definitely no upside to adding "chemicals" for ski areas.
December 23, 2009
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter 
December 23, 2009
Member since 03/15/2004 🔗
1,574 posts
Sewage effuent - yes some ski areas recycle the effluent from their sewage plant for snow making water (not quite yellow snow, but similar). Wisp used to do this and may still (although now that they have access to Deep Creek lake it may not be necessary). Additionally, water from snow making usually comes from a pond and the water is not treated or disinfected. You could have dog and geese feces in the water as well as oil and gasoline from cars, lawn chemicals, etc. Since the water receives no disinfectant treatment such as chlorine or ozone, pathogens could be present in snow making water.
It is not good stuff to breath in.
In summary, don't eat (or breath in) the yellow snow! shocked
December 24, 2009
Member since 01/17/2005 🔗
422 posts
Whitetail tried an additive (I think it was snowmax) years ago. The idea is that the added particles help snowflakes "nucleate" (i.e. start forming). The reality is that the air around here has enough particles in it. Snowmax does not make a difference.

Whitetail's water is "recycled". What blows onto the mountain, melts and flows back into the snowmaking lake, then gets pumped back up to Whitetail. Now, there are fish in the lake and flocks of geese do stop by every now and then. So eating the snow is just like drinking water straight from the lake. But inhaling a few drops is not likely to do any harm to healthy people.

It's possible that someone who is really sensitive could get a reaction to breathing snowmaking mist. My bet is that it is more likely that the stress of exercise combined with alternating cold dry air and the exposure to cold and wet mist "juiced" some bugs that were already present to create the scratchy throat. A runny nose is a common and healthy reaction to cold and dry air.

I've only missed one day at Whitetail since opening. My throat is fine and my nose is as ugly as it ever was.
December 27, 2009
Member since 01/6/2009 🔗
5 posts
Just taking a quick look at this thread, and without reading all of the posts, I would like to add that snowmax is used at most resorts, and is a natural product. It is told to be a bacteria of some sort which grows naturally on strawberries.
December 27, 2009
Member since 06/28/2004 🔗
2,444 posts
Laurel, looks like that's about right. A protein from a particular type of bacteria. Weird huh??
December 28, 2009
Member since 03/3/2005 🔗
142 posts
Interesting responses... Well, I am afflicted by allergies and congestion throughout the year. I guess that explains some of it but I have noticed that it is particularly 'severe' after skiing when snow making is in progress.

Thanks. Appreciate the feedback

Ski and Tell

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