Thomas Gonzalez is a snowmaker in the Villars-Gryon-Les Diablerets ski area.
His main mission is to ensure the production of quality snow to maintain an optimal snow cover throughout the winter season which runs from December to April.
His work requires flexibility since he has no fixed hours. Upstream of the season, he is permanently present to produce snow when the temperature allows. The production of snow depends on the temperatures and the wind.
When the season is underway, the production of snow must be stopped between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. in order to let the groomers smooth the snow and prepare the ideal conditions for the first skiers who descend the slopes at the opening.
The challenge today is the cold: generally speaking, it is less cold than before and the cold windows are getting shorter and shorter. So we have to adapt.
Without cannon snow, it would be difficult to guarantee quality snow for the entire season.
Infrastructure to produce snow
In the Villars-Gryon-Les Diablerets ski area, for the Villars-Gryon part, there are 190 snow guns, 8 machine rooms and a network with water and air: that's all it takes to produce snow.
To produce 2 m3 of snow, you need 1 m3 of water. The water comes from the springs that feed the reserve lake in Gryon.
What Thomas likes about his job
- diversity: there is an electrical part, a mechanical and pneumatic part - the nights are always different, we never experience the same situations - it is continuous training where we always learn something new.
The entire resort depends on the opening of the ski area and its snow cover, as well as skiers, hotels and seasonal jobs.