Presentation Title

Optimizing Over Summer Snow Storage at the Craftsbury Outdoors Center, Craftsbury, VT

Presenter's Name(s)

Hannah WeissFollow

Project Collaborators

Paul Bierman, Yves Dubief, Scott Hamshaw

Time

11:10 AM

Location

Frank Livak Ballroom

Abstract

Climate change forces the ski industry to modify snow-making strategies. Over-summer snow storage is an adaptation successfully employed by high-elevation and/or high-latitude ski centers in Europe, Canada, and Asia. The process involves stockpiling winter snow and storing it beneath insulation (e.g., wood chips) through summer. Current methods are empirically-based with few studies quantifying snowmelt through summer or comparing insulation strategies.

Here, we evaluate feasibility of over-summer snow storage at a nordic ski center in northeastern America. Soil temperatures were recorded since June 2017 with sensors 5, 20, 50 cm and 1 m below ground surface. In March 2018, two, 200 m3 snow piles were covered in plastic and wood chips and monitored bi-weekly through the melt season using terrestrial LiDAR. Using data-logged thermistor arrays, we measured air-to-snow temperature gradients under various insulation materials: rigid foam, open cell foam, and wet wood chips, with/without reflective coverings and with/without an underlying insulating blanket.

Over the summer, volume changed similarly between the two piles (1-2 m3/day) and density changed little (0.6-0.7 g/cm3); most volume reduction was the result of melting. Optimal insulation was an insulating blanket beneath 20 cm of wet wood chips covered with a reflective tarp; only this configuration maintained temperature above the snow surface at or near freezing even though air temperature was > 30C. There was no diurnal variation, indicating that wood chips effectively buffered thermal swings. All other insulation strategies resulted in higher over snow temperatures that changed diurnally.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Paul Bierman

Status

Graduate

Student College

Graduate College

Program/Major

Natural Resources

Primary Research Category

Engineering & Physical Sciences

Secondary Research Category

Vermont Studies

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 

Optimizing Over Summer Snow Storage at the Craftsbury Outdoors Center, Craftsbury, VT

Climate change forces the ski industry to modify snow-making strategies. Over-summer snow storage is an adaptation successfully employed by high-elevation and/or high-latitude ski centers in Europe, Canada, and Asia. The process involves stockpiling winter snow and storing it beneath insulation (e.g., wood chips) through summer. Current methods are empirically-based with few studies quantifying snowmelt through summer or comparing insulation strategies.

Here, we evaluate feasibility of over-summer snow storage at a nordic ski center in northeastern America. Soil temperatures were recorded since June 2017 with sensors 5, 20, 50 cm and 1 m below ground surface. In March 2018, two, 200 m3 snow piles were covered in plastic and wood chips and monitored bi-weekly through the melt season using terrestrial LiDAR. Using data-logged thermistor arrays, we measured air-to-snow temperature gradients under various insulation materials: rigid foam, open cell foam, and wet wood chips, with/without reflective coverings and with/without an underlying insulating blanket.

Over the summer, volume changed similarly between the two piles (1-2 m3/day) and density changed little (0.6-0.7 g/cm3); most volume reduction was the result of melting. Optimal insulation was an insulating blanket beneath 20 cm of wet wood chips covered with a reflective tarp; only this configuration maintained temperature above the snow surface at or near freezing even though air temperature was > 30C. There was no diurnal variation, indicating that wood chips effectively buffered thermal swings. All other insulation strategies resulted in higher over snow temperatures that changed diurnally.