Bergbahn AG Kitzbühel continues to rely on its long-term partner ARENA for snow depth measurement. In an interview, CEO Anton Bodner and technical director Florian Wörgetter explain why they decided to go back to the Salzburg company after an evaluation phase.
Mr. Bodner, Mr. Wörgetter, the Bergbahnen Kitzbühel have been working with ARENA for many years and have now decided in favor of ARENA again after an evaluation phase. What was decisive for that?
There is constant further development within Bergbahn AG Kitzbühel in order to meet the increasing quality demands of our customers. ARENA's technical know-how supports us in this. We also experience reliability through stable and functioning system software. The support service is very customer-oriented. Customer requests are implemented quickly and unbureaucratically. There is an established structure and the system is the most complete for our purpose.
Last year you also tested third-party systems. What are the clear advantages of the ARENA solutions for you?
We see the following advantages here: As a lean, agile company that relies on in-house developments, ARENA can implement our wishes very quickly. We also have the opportunity to help develop and develop solutions. In addition, there is the reduction of program interfaces and a functioning overall system (snow depth measurement - snow production - GIS).
Mr. Wörgetter, what do you and the drivers appreciate about the ARENA systems? Is the decision for ARENA one that is also supported by the team?
Yes, in any case. The piste machine drivers appreciate the high availability and the large, clear screen with high resolution. In addition to the points mentioned above, we are impressed by the simple software language and ease of understanding. The services in the area of data management and maintenance are also of high quality and provide helpful support.
How many machines have you currently equipped with snow depth measurement? Are you planning a further expansion here?
We have already increased further. We will be using 35 systems from autumn 2020. No further expansion is planned, because that corresponds to a full expansion. However, old components must be replaced periodically.
If I am correctly informed, they also use the tool of the ARENA MasterPlans very consciously, which sets target snow depths for each section of the slope before the start of the season. What are the advantages for you? Have you been able to optimize your slope quality and resource conservation as a result?
The basis of the MasterPlan is a precisely defined snowmaking strategy and the division of all slopes into priorities as well as precisely defined snow depths with regard to sea level and slope exposure. This results in an exact water requirement per snow gun and a number of advantages:
- Slope maintenance with minimal snow cover
- even distribution of the technically produced snow
- Potential savings in water and energy through targeted snowmaking
- Time reduction of snow production.
In summary, one can say: only as much snow is produced as required. The system enables an early start to the season, is resource-efficient and at the same time guarantees a high quality slope over the entire winter season. We can also reduce the annual operating costs in this way.
How can you imagine working with the MasterPlan in detail?
There is a digital terrain model and a GPS-based snow depth measurement, which enables resource-optimized snow production as well as controlling and optimization of the target / actual snow depths. Specifically, there are three stages:
- The first step is to create / update the digital terrain model. It later serves as a reference model for snow depth measurements.
- In the second step , the target snow depths for all slopes are set / updated in the MasterPlan. When the slope is being prepared, the actual snow depths are later determined and compared with the values in the MasterPlan (target / actual comparison).
- In the third step , the snow machines are controlled according to the current data and the desired snow depth is imported. We calculate the effective amount (water and snow).
Thanks to the WebGIS management platform, at the end of the season you will have plenty of snow depth data for your analysis. Have you discovered something / planned something that you would like to improve in the coming season?
The ARENA WebGIS gives us the opportunity to recognize so-called "snow eaters" across the board by calculating an ideal slope line. This means ditches, depressions in terrain, embankments, edges of paths, etc. on snow-covered slopes that can be continuously and consistently remedied through small-scale slope adaptations. We have set ourselves that.
How do you see the role of snow depth measurement in the context of climate change and the increasing sensitivity of guests to this topic?
Treating nature with respect is generally given top priority at Bergbahn AG Kitzbühel. Therefore, a key factor in the decision-making process for our snow depth management system was to guarantee the interests of ecology and economy in terms of sustainability. The production of snow and the management of the slopes have been carefully thought out to the centimeter. This enables us to conserve resources and reduce the consumption of water and energy as well as the time required for technical snowmaking. All of this happens with a consistently high slope quality.
Thank you for the conversation