For more than 20 years, Steinbach Alpin has prepared ski slopes for the Olympic Winter Games, World Cups and all other important snow and winter venues all over the world. In 2016, Steinbach Alpin is responsible for preparing the snow polo field for the Valartis Bank Snow Polo World Cup in Kitzbühel.

The excitement ramps up again after Christmas every year. The current weather and snow conditions must be taken into account to ascertain the right time to prepare the polo pitch. Gitti Weber, owner and CEO of Steinbach Alpin, has held the reins of the company in her hands for many years and has already undertaken the first preparations in Kitzbühel. If there is not enough snow on the ground, the company can use its long-standing experience to solve the problem.

Steinbach Alpin has been in the business of snow packing for many years, partly to conserve glaciers, but also with the aim of building up snow deposits. Snow is thickened using injection spray bars and then covered with special Steinbach fleece sheets. This method was last used in Sochi for the Winter Olympics in 2014, where the company built up snow deposits measuring a total of over 600,000 cubic metres. Gitti Weber: “But now we’re back on the polo field. As soon as we have enough snow, the whole pitch will be ploughed and rolled using the piste preparing machine. During this phase it needs to be cold enough. As soon as the weather forecast promises a clear night, Gerhard Hirschbichler from Kitzbühel Tourism Association and his professional team will help us to prepare the pitch.”

How does the injection spray bar invented by Christian ­Steinbach work? An injection spray bar is five metres long and up to six bars can be connected to one another provided the water pressure is high enough. Several special nozzles spray pure water liberally underneath the snow covering, with the duration and water pressure determining the exact hardness of the piste while ensuring the snow surface remains largely dry. In contrast to surface watering, the spray bar system hardens the piste from bottom to top, thus making it more even. No additional treatment is needed before or after using the spray bar. This method makes the surface of the snow more resistant to mechanical stress and temperature fluctuations. A hard piste can also be created using radiation at above-zero temperatures without the need for chemical additives. Steinbach Alpin has used its system to prepare ski pistes across the world for Olympic Winter Games, World Cup pistes and all other important snow events for over 20 years now. Gitti Weber: “When using this method for winter polo, it is important not only to ensure an even covering of snow across the pitch for players, but also prepare a fundamentally stable area in the throw-in area as the horses’ hooves have an increased impact on the snow covering there”. This thus completes the preparation cycle. Frank Bahrenburg places all his polo knowledge at the company’s disposal and the good collaboration between him, Steinbach Alpin and the “Kitzbühel tourism” association mean that we can once again look forward to a first-rate event.

Further information about Steinbach Alpin can be found on www.steinbach-alpin.com

Steinbach Alpin Injektionssprühbalken

Preparation of the snow polo field using an injection spray bar. (© Steinbach Alpin)