Hugues François


DOI bib
Evaluating a prediction system for snow management
Pirmin Philipp Ebner, Franziska Koch, Valentina Premier, Carlo Marín, Florian Hanzer, Carlo Maria Carmagnola, Hugues François, Daniel Günther, Fabiano Monti, Olivier Hargoaa, Ulrich Strasser, Samuel Morin, Michael Lehning
The Cryosphere, Volume 15, Issue 8

Abstract. The evaluation of snowpack models capable of accounting for snow management in ski resorts is a major step towards acceptance of such models in supporting the daily decision-making process of snow production managers. In the framework of the EU Horizon 2020 (H2020) project PROSNOW, a service to enable real-time optimization of grooming and snow-making in ski resorts was developed. We applied snow management strategies integrated in the snowpack simulations of AMUNDSEN, Crocus, and SNOWPACK–Alpine3D for nine PROSNOW ski resorts located in the European Alps. We assessed the performance of the snow simulations for five winter seasons (2015–2020) using both ground-based data (GNSS-measured snow depth) and spaceborne snow maps (Copernicus Sentinel-2). Particular attention has been devoted to characterizing the spatial performance of the simulated piste snow management at a resolution of 10 m. The simulated results showed a high overall accuracy of more than 80 % for snow-covered areas compared to the Sentinel-2 data. Moreover, the correlation to the ground observation data was high. Potential sources for local differences in the snow depth between the simulations and the measurements are mainly the impact of snow redistribution by skiers; compensation of uneven terrain when grooming; or spontaneous local adaptions of the snow management, which were not reflected in the simulations. Subdividing each individual ski resort into differently sized ski resort reference units (SRUs) based on topography showed a slight decrease in mean deviation. Although this work shows plausible and robust results on the ski slope scale by all three snowpack models, the accuracy of the results is mainly dependent on the detailed representation of the real-world snow management practices in the models. As snow management assessment and prediction systems get integrated into the workflow of resort managers, the formulation of snow management can be refined in the future.


DOI bib
Overloaded! Critical revision and a new conceptual approach for snow indicators in ski tourism
Bruno Abegg, Samuel Morin, O. Cenk Demiroglu, Hugues François, Michael Rothleitner, Ulrich Strasser
International Journal of Biometeorology, Volume 65, Issue 5

Abstract Indicators are widely used in climate variability and climate change assessments to simplify the tracking of complex processes and phenomena in the state of the environment. Apart from the climatic criteria, the snow indicators in ski tourism have been increasingly extended with elements that relate to the technical, operational, and commercial aspects of ski tourism. These non-natural influencing factors have gained in importance in comparison with the natural environmental conditions but are more difficult to comprehend in time and space, resulting in limited explanatory power of the related indicators when applied for larger/longer scale assessments. We review the existing indicator approaches to derive quantitative measures for the snow conditions in ski areas, to formulate the criteria that the indicators should fulfill, and to provide a list of indicators with their technical specifications which can be used in snow condition assessments for ski tourism. For the use of these indicators, a three-step procedure consisting of definition, application, and interpretation is suggested. We also provide recommendations for the design of indicator-based assessments of climate change effects on ski tourism. Thereby, we highlight the importance of extensive stakeholder involvement to allow for real-world relevance of the achieved results.