There’s been a lot of talk recently of the “polar vortex” that’s sweeping the nation and causing record low temperatures. Well, it’s important to keep in mind that this isn’t the movies and we’re not in “The Day After Tomorrow.” Before writing this I started looking up what someone would need in case of a post-apocalyptic winter scenario. It was actually pretty dull: sleeping bags, hand warmers, extra clothing. Thanks! But then I started to think about how other planets in our very own Solar System are actually constantly in this state of extreme winter. Sure, it’d be fun to visit for a couple of minutes just to say that you’ve been there but you probably wouldn’t want to set up shop for any extended period of time. That being said, what if you could open some ski resort on one of these planets? What would be the best place in the Solar System for the perfect ski resort?
According to Dr Paul Schenk of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas, the best place for your solar system ski adventure would be one of Saturn’s icy moons, Enceladus. Dr Shenk has been color mapping the surface of Enceladus and he’s discovered that the surface is covered with a super fine dust of ice crystals. These icy particles are pushed up into the atmosphere by an internal heat source and then drift back down in a predictable pattern.
There have been many canyons and craters found covered in this fine material, an accumulation said to have taken place over millions of years because of how thin and fine it is. At least four sites have shown to be around 350 feet deep. Yes, these snowy crystals are much smaller than the snow found here on Earth and is ideal for skiing conditions.
But could you actually ski on Enceladus?
Well, the gravity is roughly one percent of what it is on Earth which would make landing from any jump significantly longer. Even if you’re wearing bulky space suits. And since most skiers seek out that fine layer of powder directly after snowfall they’ll be pleased as punch to know that the snow on Enceladus would be finer than talcum powder. It could very well be the best place in the solar system to go for a ski trip.