November 13, 1946

First Artificial Snow Falls on Mt. Greylock

Region:
Western

On this day in 1946, an airplane flew over Mount Greylock in western Massachusetts and seeded the clouds with super-cooled ice crystals. The first-ever artificially-produced snow melted before it hit the slopes below, but the event created a national sensation. It marked the first field test of scientist Vincent Schaefer's laboratory experiments in which he produced precipitation by adding dry ice to lower the temperature of a chilled chamber. Although some people protested that tampering with nature might not be safe or proper, within three years ski resorts in the U.S. were experimenting with snowmaking. By 1952 the first snowmaking machinery was in regular use at a Catskill ski resort. Today, virtually every American ski area produces artificial snow, and snowmaking is a multi-million dollar global business.

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