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Thank you very mulch, Alberta.

Seems the Canadian province is host to a unique species of poplar tree. By grinding decomposed leaves from the tree, researchers have found the resulting powder is great for making snow. Hardly welcome news to Alaska perhaps. But for ski resort operators in the lower 48 (and elsewhere), it could mean big savings. And, possibily, slightly longer ski seasons. The reason: When the dust is used as the nucleus of an ice crystal, it allows the crystal to form at a higher temperature than usually required. The cost of snowmaking worldwide runs about $ 125 million - of which $70 million goes for energy to run snowmaking machines.

Using the new dust, energy costs could be cut by as much as 20 percent, researchers say. m

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