[R517R, Zermatt] is the first ski resort to order a new kind of artificial snow machine based on innovative mining technology.

New to the tourist industry, this system allows snow to be produced whatever the outdoor temperature with only moderate energy consumption. This state-of-the-art technology was developed in Israel and is an invention from the mining industry where it is used for cooling goldmines.

The Matterhorn is the biggest and only ski region in the Alps to remain open all summer, but around the beginning of October, the glacier piste ends 500 metres before the lift station so the remaining stretch must be covered on foot. The new machine is expected to change all that.

Daniel Loggen, Director of Zermatt Tourism says: "Over the last few years we have seen a decline in bookings between October and December. We want to offer our guests perfect skiing enjoyment so the innovation has come at just the right time."

The new snow machine costs around CHF 2 million. Early skiers to Zermatt this year will benefit from this innovative system.

The system works like a freezer - it is a closed container in which water is exposed to a vacuum. A small portion of the water vaporizes and the rest of the water freezes to snow, which is expelled at a rate of 40 cubic metres an hour.

The snow machine is also greener than you might expect: its energy consumption is equivalent to that of one household.