Hose Safety 101
Time for the snowmaking industry to consider industry-wide
hose safety standards
By Jason Sawin, CHS Snowmakers
Safety: It’s thought about, talked about and practiced,
but is every aspect of safety being covered? The short
answer is no.
The “low hanging fruit” are the easy things to protect
like ears, eyes and heads with helmets. The harder safety
items are not as obvious. Industry should discover these
things together, come up with solutions together and implement
those solutions together. This article addresses snowmaking
hose as it pertains to our unique environment.
Common hose manufacturers, including: Groway, JGB Enterprises,
Mercedes, Niedner Snowhose, Ponn Nordic, Techno
Alpin and Valley rate their hose to 750 or 800 psi working
pressure (WP) and will have a burst pressure of 1,500 to
2,000 psi. This pressure rating is tested with the cam locks
used on the hose. The hose or cam locks will begin showing
stress and potentially fail at these high pressures. This
gives a safety margin of 2:1 to 3:1 and the maximum WP is
Most hose manufacturers also make fire service hose.
Snowmaking hose is glorified fire hose that has a higher
pressure rating. The fire service has to follow the National
Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) standard, “NFPA 1962:
Standard for the Care, Use, Inspection, Service Testing, and
Replacement of Fire Hose, Couplings, Nozzles, and Fire Hose
Appliances.” The snowmaking industry hasn’t traditionally
followed any predetermined rules; basically, it’s been: use a
hose until it blows.
Since 2006, CHS Snowmakers has been repairing snowmaking
hose and has seen different brands outlast others 2:1
or more. There are many reasons why one brand will outlast
another, but a major contributing factor is the care the hose
receives during its life. Here are some examples of damage
that can be repaired (cut out a bad section and recouple the
ends) and hose that shouldn’t be repaired:
• Repairable damage – Snowmobile ski cuts, snowcat tiller
cuts, shovel cuts, torch burns, freezing bursts and bending
the hose with ice in it.
• Unrepairable damage – Mud and dirt damage, operating
over the recommended pressure, weave or yarn damage
from excessive external oil, UV damage and age.
Mechanical damage under pressure is dangerous
snowopsmag.com | SnowOps 23