The Latest Industry News for the Exciting World of Production.
By: Pete De Grandis | July 17, 2015
Arctic Glacier was hired to accomplish one of the most daunting tasks when it comes to bringing snow to sunny Southern California. Being the company of choice for Shaun White's Air + Style event at the Rose Bowl earlier this year, Arctic Glacier successfully brought snow to the mega downhill slope and jump for the amazing spectacle.
The drop-in 65-foot ski jump stands at 16 stories (that's about 150 feet) and has a slope of about 38 degrees. The entire structure is primarily made out of scaffolding, truss and plywood. The structure was built in a little more than a week and used 770 tons of ice - that's 35 massive tractor trailer trucks full of ice blocks. The total length of the ramp is 450 feet long.
The snow for the jump is not actually snow - it's ice. A 300-pound block of ice is put through a special ice crusher that pulverizes it into a snow. A blower then slings the snow through a hose onto the areas it can reach, such as the lip of the jump and the landing base, while team of 22 workers hand pack the snow onto the rest of the structure. When first applied onto the scaffold, the layer of snow is very soft and loose, but over time it bonds to itself and what doesn't melt, freezes.
Insulating blankets allow the layers of snow to refreeze and helps mitigate the effect of the California sun on the top layer. Enka drainage mats go underneath the layers and create air pockets allowing melted ice to drain off to the sides instead of collecting on the ramp.
About Arctic Glacier
Back in the early 1970's the Special Effects companies for the Motion Picture Industry discovered this process as a way to create a very realistic snowy environment when filming winter type scenes. Instead of moving a production crew and equipment to a remote location where there is natural snow and hope that the weather cooperates, an ice company with an abundant supply of 300lb. blocks and an "Ice Blower" can be brought out anywhere locally to lend mother nature a hand. This is often done on a movie studio's back lot. The other advantage to this is that the snow depth and placement is in the complete control of the film's director.
Since then, this custom "Snow Scene" has transformed countless private residences, city parks and company events into a holiday Winter Wonderland. It remains a very popular and growing service of the Arctic Glacier Company.