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New analysis tool for sustainable slope preparation

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The EU-funded PROSNOW project aims to provide innovative meteorological and climatological forecasts to optimise snow management in ski resorts. As part of an international research consortium, the SLF is developing an analysis tool in cooperation with the Lenzerheide ski resort. The first prototype is currently undergoing testing.

 

When and where does snow need to be made? How much is required? How long will the quantity of produced snow last? When is it better to refrain from snowmaking due to adverse weather? In future, it will be possible to answer these questions and more using an operational management tool, with the aim of managing snow and running ski resorts more sustainably. Switzerland's Lenzerheide Bergbahnen AG is a partner in the PROSNOW project, alongside mountain cableway and railway operators from other countries, such as Dolomiti Superski, Bayerische Zugspitzbahn Bergbahn AG and Olympiaregion Seefeld. Lenzerheide supplies data that is used to make forecasts and provides input regarding relevant information for ski resort operators.

Increasingly accurate forecasts

Various instruments can already provide relatively accurate information about short and medium-term temperatures. "However, that is not the case with precipitation levels, solar radiation or wind speeds," says Samuel Loretz, Technical Manager at Lenzerheide Bergbahnen AG. In these areas, operators often still rely on gut instinct, which is why it is hoped that there will be significant further developments of PROSNOW's new methods. "In future, we could be able to predict how likely it is that there will be more than 1 meter of snow in a month," explains Thomas Grünewald from the SLF, which is developing the PROSNOW analysis tool. The tool can also be used to make short-term forecasts, which in turn would help operators to more efficiently make decisions on whether to close facilities, for example due to strong wind.

Assessment after the 2019/20 winter season

The first prototype PROSNOW analysis tool was launched in February 2019. It is currently being used to compare last year's model calculations with the actual weather records to determine how closely the models corresponded to reality. The next stage of the prototype's development is expected be completed by autumn 2019 so that it can be used for the actual running of ski resorts at the start of the next winter season.

More information on the PROWSNOW project

 

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