Preparation for the winter

Andy Carnot has "his" runway laid out in time for the start of the season

Andy Carnot from Samnaun works in winter as a piste machine operator and snowmaker at Bergbahnen Samnaun to ensure perfect slopes. In the fall, after the Grisons High Hunt, Andy starts preparing for the winter and thus the changeover from summer to winter operation.

Start of preparations for the winter season

Unlike the high season, Andy works mainly during the day from mid-October to the end of November. His working day starts at 7:30 am. Andy starts with the quad from Samnaun village in the direction of Zeblas, as at this time there is often still too little snow for the snowmobile or the snow groomer. His route takes him along piste no. 80 - one of the two valley runs in Samnaun.


Control walks as an important task

Andy's first task each morning is to start with the inspection round: this involves clearing the snowmaking equipment of snow. Occasionally a hose is defective and has to be replaced. Around 9 a.m., Andy moves his workstation to his office. Andy's office is located at the pump station of the snowmaking system on Zeblas. Further checks are carried out there, but now by computer. Using special software, he can check and control all 160 snow guns in the Swiss part of the ski area.


In one and a half months to downhill run no. 80

During his work on the Zeblas slope, Andy constantly realigns the snow guns. With the piste machine, he distributes the artificial snow piles piece by piece towards the valley. In this way, another section of the valley run is created every day. The grooming is monitored by the team 24 hours a day, which is important because of the wind, the weather, the temperatures and the control of the radio stations and snow guns.


Nature sets the direction

"If it snows between 50 and 100 cm at the beginning of November, the season is already saved," says Andy. So the hope for natural snow is always high. But things can also turn out differently: A drifting period in October is always serious for snowmakers. Cold temperatures combined with wind are also not good conditions for successful snowmaking. Temperatures that are only just below freezing are not cold enough; snowmakers only work efficiently from around -5 degrees.


Safety as the primary goal

The goal in the preparations in the ski resort is always to ensure the safety of winter sports enthusiasts. Sufficient snow and, above all, no stones on the slope are part of this accordingly. Before the opening of the valley run, final safety work is carried out together with the rescue service, such as the installation of rescue mats or ensuring a safety distance next to the slope. Skiers and snowboarders should be able to enjoy impeccable slopes.

The work as fascination

Andy likes the morning atmosphere in nature, which is always a nice start to the day for him. Preparing the slopes with more or less snow is always a challenge: economy in the use of snow is important in order to be able to prepare the entire slope. In the end, Andy is justifiably proud of his work and is delighted when the first skier arrives in the valley.

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