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Using Pumping Solutions to Create Snow at the Olympics

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Written by Dan Duncan |

Jeongseon Alpine Center, PyeongChang S. Korea

Olympic athletes work hard to win gold, but this February, Torrent Engineering and Equipment strives for white.

The Jeongseon Alpine Center is the site for 2018 Winter Olympic Downhill events, hosting the world’s best alpine skiers. The venue will also host the Paralympic athletes in March.

Located in the northeast area of the country, this is a new site developed exclusively for the 2018 Winter Games.

pumping solutions for snow creationPhoto of piping inside one cooling tower on the Winter Olympics' campus in South Korea.

Torrent was selected to assist with snowmaking system engineering and pump station equipment, in conjunction with our U.S. partner, SMI, Inc., and our Korean ski industry representative, R & R Company. Torrent pumping solutions have been involved in past winter Olympic sites, including 2014 in Sochi, Russia, and 2010 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Projects such as this require special expertise. Water is utilized to produce manmade snow for the venues, and the water pumping is typically very powerful, covering large areas of mountainous terrain. The snowmaking system is a critical infrastructure component and must help ensure that the venues will be ready and the games will occur as scheduled.

One of the bigger challenges for this project was the compressed timeline for a venture of this size and importance. When Torrent first visited the site in the fall of 2014, the ski area development had just begun. Within a period of two years, the system was designed, constructed and 100% operational.

pumping solutions for snow creationA view of the pumps and panels used to create snow for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Torrent prefabricated all the pumping solutions at our plant in the U.S. and shipped it to South Korea by boat in multiple containers. This was a big factor in completion and successful operation under the compressed schedule.

For a world-class venue such as the Jeongseon Alpine Center, the snowmaking system covers approximately 1,000 meters of vertical elevation, which called for special design and construction considerations.

The pumping system was designed to provide capacity for the snowmaking machines and to overcome the system elevation. This system’s pumps stations are fully automatic and state of the art, which should help ensure a successful winter Olympic Games.

The primary pump station receives water from a large storage reservoir and includes six high-pressure vertical turbine-style pumps of 600 horsepower, with a total capacity of 4,500 Gallons Per Minute at 1,035 pounds per square inch. The primary pump station also includes a water cooling system to ensure the snow machines have optimal water temperature for the snowmaking process.

A booster pump station is located partway up the mountain and includes four high-pressure booster pumps of 450 horsepower each.

pumping solutions for snow creationLooking up one of the several slopes designated for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

The mountain system includes approximately 12,000 meters of buried high-pressure steel piping and 14,000 meters of three-phase electrical power cables.

When fully operational, the system requires over five megawatts and can produce more than 1,400 cubic meters of snow per hour. This capacity can help ensure snow production in minimal time, allowing personnel to select optimal ambient weather conditions for system operation.

Torrent is thrilled to be a part of this project, and we look forward to a successful and safe winter games.

To learn more about Torrent and our pumping solutions, please visit torrentee.com.

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