Which Ski Resort Has “The Largest Rime Ice In The World”?

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rime ice
Mt. Ruapehu, NZ.

Rime ice is a major challenge for ski resorts.

It likes to grow on lift towers and ice up wheels, cables, sensors, and more causing significant delays to ski resort operations.

How do you remove rime ice?

rime ice
Mt. Ruapehu, NZ.

You have to send a guy up there with a hammer and manually smack it off piece by piece and it can take hours.

Which ski resort has the largest rime ice in the world?

According to Mt. Ruapehu on the North Island of New Zealand, it’s 9,177′ Mt. Ruapehu and we believe them.

Running lifts & de-icing at Mt Ruapehu 2019

Homeschool time with Mt Ruapehu!
Winter is coming and we want to share one of our favourite educational pieces with you about deicing. Mt Ruapehu experiences some of the biggest rime ice buildups that you’ll find at any ski area in the world. We have an amazing deicing crew that get out there to open the lifts for you after a storm. Check out the video to learn about one of the more unique tasks of opening a ski area and take this short quiz to see how much you have learnt about deicing here on the maunga.

– How does the deicing crew make their way up to the lifts?
A) Catching the chairlift. B) Groomer. C) Skidoo.
– What tools do we use to deice?
– What part of the season do we experience more refreezing mist?
A) Late season. B) Early season. C) Mid Season.
– What does it mean when the Sky Waka runs in deicing mode?
– What is the ice prevention measure used on the Sky Waka towers?

Let us know what you think the answers are in the comments below and if you enjoyed this lockdown homeschool exercise 🤗🏔️
#homeschool #education #stayhomestaysafe

Posted by Mt Ruapehu on Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Mt. Ruapehu holds 2 ski resorts, Turoa & Whakapapa, and sees so much rime ice that they have to continually remove the ice during storms and if they didn’t it would become so large that it would damage lift towers and equipment.

Ruapehu claims that some ice chunks they remove are the size of “small fridges”.

rime ice
Mt. Ruapehu, NZ.

How Does Rime Ice Form:

  • Rime ice is formed when small supercooled water droplets freeze on contact with a surface that is at a sub-zero centigrade (Celcius) temperature. Because the droplets are small, they freeze almost instantly creating a mixture of tiny ice particles and trapped air. – Wikipedia
Map showing the location of Mt. Ruapehu

Mt. Ruapehu, NZ Rime Ice Statement:

Operating ski areas here on Mt Ruapehu is unique, not only because we’re in a dual world heritage park, but because of the rime ice that comes with our storms. The mountain sticks up at the centre of the North Island and is exposed to moisture-laden air and a maritime climate. When wind combines with 1 to -1 degree temps, any structure in the way of the wind cools down and ice forms on it rapidly. Ruapehu gets the biggest rime ice anywhere in the world. Unlike almost any other ski area where the lifts are ready to turn after a big snow storm, our lift towers and chairs are often loaded with literally tonnes of ice. How do we get the lifts turning? Good old fashioned elbow grease – hitting the ice with a bat. The current storm cycle is a great example of this!

We de-ice all the way through the storm cycle in high winds and low visibility. We have buddy systems and intense processes to keep each other safe. If we didn’t deice through the storm while the ice continually builds, it would become too big and damage our infrastructure. Often there will be ice forming on the deicers themselves and ice reforming on the tower they have just deiced as they’re finishing up. We come back day after day to remove the same amount of ice on the towers throughout the storm. Once the weather clears, avalanche control work can be required before the de-icers are able to clear the last of the ice. It’s a big task working at heights, on ice, in alpine conditions.

Along with the challenging weather conditions that the unique environment of Mt Ruapehu produces, the Tūroa lifts also provide additional challenges to the staff who work with them and the safety teams who prepare the ski area. With a number of the Tūroa lifts overlapping this means that trails accessed from one lift will pass underneath the line of another. Prime examples are Clarry’s track that passes underneath the Movenpick line and the Boneyard which passes underneath the Giant line.

Ice on these adjacent chairlift towers and chairs need to be cleared before safe access can be granted to the trails that go underneath them. The process of de-icing a tower is a methodical process to keep the de-icing crew safe and the entire way we de-ice a lift line is set up to be as efficient as possible in regard to what lifts we are opening. With the crew often working in adverse conditions and removing incredibly heavy chunks of ice that can be the size of small fridges.

– Mt. Ruapehu

Turoa trail map on Mt. Ruapehu
Whakapapa trail map on Mt. Rua

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