Icy alpine environment puts snowmaking pumps to the test



Swiss ski resort Engstligenalp has an ambition to become the biggest igloo resort in Europe. This requires enormous amounts of snow and ice. Grundfos pump systems facilitate the production of artificial snow on demand from snow cannons. The pumps help the resort to save both energy and man-hours.


The situation

In the western Swiss Alps, surrounded by mountains and pastures, lies ski resort Engstligenalp. During the winter, craggy peaks, mountains and valleys in Engstligenalp are capped with snow.

The resort has an igloo of eight metres (26 feet) in diameter, and a restaurant constructed of nothing but ice and snow. From the outside, the restaurant igloo resembles snowy hills. The interior is spacious, comprising eight rooms big enough to fit 20 to 40 people each. The restaurant can serve 170 guests in total.

The ski resort produces an enormous amount of snow annually, and this involves plenty of working hours and energy. With the ambition of building more igloos, a snow church for weddings, and an igloo hotel for its thousands of guests that visit the resort every skiing season, the resort was therefore looking for ways of producing more snow while using less energy.

“We want to create an igloo world that is unique in Europe,” says Roger Steiner, General Manager at Engstligenalp ski resort. 


The solution

The solution came by with the help of intelligent pump systems that ensure that snow cannons produce artificial snow on demand, when the natural snow does not fall.

Grundfos supplied heavy-duty, multi-stage, in-line CRNE pumps and intelligent controls for the snow cannons, as well as the resort’s groundwater pump house.

“We need these top systems made by Grundfos to implement these dreams,” Roger Steiner says.

The pumps are reliable and durable, and can withstand the heavy duty conditions typically required to produce massive snow.


The outcome

“We are saving more energy and a lot of water. And for our personnel, we are saving working hours,” says Roger Steiner. “The Grundfos system is exceptional. With automatic control, we are able to produce the amount of snow we need. Water supply is regulated. Everything runs more efficiently.

”Roger Steiner says the resort now produces more energy than needed to run facilities such as the cable cars and lifts at Engstligenalp. He says the resort’s ambition to expand and become the leading igloo resort in Europe would be impossible with the pump system used in the past.

“With the massive need for snow, we didn’t stand a chance with the old system. We need these top systems from Grundfos to make our ideas a reality,” he says-. “It is now possible to run a clean and sustainable resort.”


Artificial snow production


Google Map

Engstligenalp, Switzerland


Engstligenalp AG

Securing connections at the Grundfos CRNE pump that works with the snow cannon.


It takes 3,000 cubic metres of snow to build the igloo restaurant at Engstligenalp and about 1,000 hours to form the complex interior with its eight rooms.



If you need a similar solution, please contact us for further information.


If you need a similar solution, please contact us for further information.

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