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ÅF’s new model provides SkiStar with accurate snow-depth measurement

What is the most efficient and precise method for measuring snow depth at ski resorts? Six years ago, Lennart Gimring, senior consultant at ÅF, presented his first solution for SkiStar in Sälen.

-       “For our first model we created a topographic model of the entire area, after which we installed a control system in the resort’s piste groomers. The piste groomers then measured the height throughout the area in which they were operating. Snow depth was then calculated from the distance between the height in topographic model and the height registered by the piste groomer. This allowed the snow cannons to be controlled to provide the right amount of snow in the right place,” explains Lennart.

Since the first topographic model was launched, the terrain has changed – the existing slopes were remodelled and new slopes constructed. It was therefore necessary to update the old topographic model, something that ÅF has now been tasked with completing with the aid of engineering consultancy Cowi.

-       In the new topographic model, we combine measurements taken on the ground with aerial measurements to develop a topographic model using laser scanning. In this way, we are able obtain a more accurate image of the landscape,” says Lennart.

Keeping track of snow depth is particularly important as the close of the season approaches. This is when more snow is required at certain locations, for example over watercourses where the snow melts more rapidly. By only laying snow in these areas, the resort saves money and the environment benefits from reduced energy consumption.