Within the H2020 project PROSNOW (www.prosnow.org), a demonstrator of a forecasting system that aims at increasing the anticipatory power of ski resorts in the field of snow management has been developed and tested. The PROSNOW® demonstrator, which includes a web-based user interface, represents a meteorological prediction and snow management system with the aim to provide improved anticipation capabilities at various time-scales, spanning from a few days to the seasonal scale of several months. The system holds significant potential to increase the resilience of socio-economic stakeholders and support their real-time adaptation. However, it is expected to take some time until users will gain confidence with the service, completely realize its power and its limitations, and learn to use it in the most effective way to exploit its potential. Although the final actual added value of the PROSNOW® prediction and snowmaking system can thus only be assessed several years after its initial implementation, some ex-ante and preliminary ex-post valuations have already been carried out following the real-time testing of the demonstrator in nine Alpine pilot ski resorts in the winter season 2019/20.
We applied two different approaches to assess the added value of PROSNOW®: (i) a simulation-based approach and (ii) a survey-based approach. The simulation-based approach consisted of the ex-ante valuation of PROSNOW®’s cost saving potential in the field of snowmaking, using meteorological hindcast data and simulations from snowpack models. The approach is based on decision theory and aims at estimating the cost savings achievable by using the PROSNOW® system to support a ski resort’s daily and strategic snowmaking decisions, compared to the information sources and strategies used so far. In the survey-based approach, which included both ex-ante and ex-post elements, pilot ski resorts were asked to (e)valuate the PROSNOW® demonstrator, based on their experiences from the real-time testing in the winter season 2019/20. The survey included questions about the perceived forecasting accuracy, observed positive impacts, the experienced as well as expected usefulness of the PROSNOW® demonstrator for different areas of application within the ski resort, and the ski resort’s willingness to pay (WTP). For the latter, both direct and indirect stated preference methods (e.g. limit conjoint analysis) were applied.
Both, simulations and survey results revealed that increases in the ability to anticipate weather and snow conditions bear significant saving potentials for some ski resorts. Areas of application for which PROSNOW® is considered particularly useful include snowmaking decisions for the upcoming hours and days, the optimization of water and energy use and avoidance of snow overproduction. Even though some pilot ski resorts experienced problems with the demonstrator, the majority indicated to be willing to pay a non-zero price for the service, ranging from 2,500€ to 12,700€ per season.
How to cite: Köberl, J., François, H., Carmagnola, C., Ebner, P., Günther, D., Hanzer, F., Koch, F., Morin, S., Damm, A., and Prettenthaler, F.: Insights and experiences from assessing the added value of PROSNOW, a prediction system to support snow management in Alpine ski resorts, EMS Annual Meeting 2021, online, 6–10 Sep 2021, EMS2021-446, https://doi.org/10.5194/ems2021-446, 2021.