Story originally published in the June 2019 edition of Accelerate Magazine.

In January 2020, Norway’s first year-round indoor ski arena – aptly named SNØ – will open in Lørenskog, just east of capital city Oslo. The snow for the venue will be cooled by natural refrigerant CO2.

The arena will be fitted with three PowerCO2OL transcritical racks provided by Carrier Commercial Refrigeration, which celebrated delivery of its 10,000th CO2 system in April. The system will deliver 3.1 MW (881 TR) of cooling in what will be the largest CO2 transcritical installation in Norway.

“Carrier’s CO2 system meets our need for a long-term, cost-effective solution for Norway’s first indoor ski arena that will allow visitors of all ages to enjoy winter year-round,” said Ing. Petter Nome, CEO of Ipnas, consultants on the project for SNØ.

The PowerCO2OL platform will maintain temperatures at -4°C (24.8°F) and be able to deliver temperatures as low as -12°C (10.4°F). It integrates Carrier’s CO2OLtec EVO modulating vapor ejector technology as a standard feature to improve energy efficiency. Carrier asserts that the PowerCO2OL platform can deliver energy savings of up to 30% on an annual basis compared to standard transcritical CO2 systems.

“Carrier’s CO2 system meets our need for a long-term, cost-effective solution for Norway’s first indoor ski arena that will allow visitors of all ages to enjoy winter year-round.”

Ing. Petter Nome, Ipnas

Skiing Indoors

Visitors to SNØ will be able to enjoy Alpine and Nordic skiing in a year-round winter environment. The indoor arena’s 36,000-m² snow area will have a 2-km cross-country trail, and three 500-m slalom slopes for beginners. SNØ hopes to attract 400,000 visitors in 2020, the first year of operation.

The snow for the arena will be 100% self- produced. Trym Klingenberg, operations manager at SNØ, is looking forward to the challenge of making snow for use year-round. He joined the company after a 25-year career working in outdoor ski resorts.

“We’ll use the winter months to put the base in,” Klingenberg explained. “Then we need small sprays daily or weekly to maintain perfect conditions throughout the summer.”

Heat generated by the cooling systems will be recovered for use in local buildings via a district-heating network.

Rune Lorenzen, chairman of Røa Langrenn, a sports club near Oslo that offers cross-country skiing on the hills surrounding the capital, is following the development of the SNØ arena with interest.

This year, Røa had to produce over 10,000 m³ of snow for its own activities. The outdoor arena hosts 600 young people who are members of the club. It is also open to the public.

Natural snow can weigh between 50 and 125 kg per m³, depending on how wet it is. Manufactured snow is between 2.5 and 10 times as dense as natural snow, and this makes it resistant to mild temperatures and wear, Lorenzen explained.

There are also differences in snow made for indoor and outdoor uses, with the former process taking humidity into account. “Indoors, you have to add more air and use less water,” he said Lorenzen. “And that means you can’t make as [much] at a time compared to outdoors.”

One major advantage of an indoor environment, however, is its constancy. “After the snow is first laid down, it will last a long time – we’re talking months,” he said.

Story originally published in the June 2019 edition of Accelerate Magazine.

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