Snow preparation for the World Cup is an actual science

The important part of the World Cup in downhill skiing is high quality snow. Its preparation is difficult but the result is a surface on which racers achieve great speed. “Snowmasters,” who take care of the white blanket have to start this process long before the race. An excellent example of how much it takes to prepare a high quality track is the fact that they have already blown enough snow to cover an entire football pitch up to an incredible seventeen metres.

The first step is very careful observation of weather reports. For artificial snow blowing it is necessary that it is freezing from five to eight days in a row. The underlayer has to be wet to be pasted to the rock and base. The underlayer has to be impregnated with water to be frozen and firm during the World Cup racing. Damage could be done done to the track if the foundation layer is too thin. In women’s slalom, there should be almost 750 grams of water in one cubic decimetre of snow. The presence of great amount of water causes the track to become over frozen and only professional racers are able to ride it. The speed of racers in the fastest disciplines is almost 150 km/h. In women’s slalom, the most popular sport which interests the Slovak spectators, are racers achieving speeds of about 30-40 km/h.

Unlike conventional preparation of artificial snow, the competition before the race can’t be altered by heavy machinery, because it would damage the surface. The official track intended for racers, must be treated only by ploughing snow from the track. Local "Snowmasters," who have experience from the European Cup in Jasna and other additional races abroad, were in charge of the preparation of Jasna’s track. Snow checks before the race weekend confirmed good quality of the track in Jasna. Our national team Petra Vlhová and Barbara Kantorová will be testing out the quality of our track tomorrow. The organizers believe that the local audience will create a great atmosphere to enable the best performance possible.