Snow safety control operations: an interactive approach

McNeally, P., Collison, J., Trover, R., & Schory, P. (2012). Snow safety control operations: an interactive approach. Proceedings, 2012 International Snow Science Workshop, Anchorage, Alaska.

This study focuses on the development of a web-based application to assist with data collection and risk management practices in snow safety. The goal was to provide snow patrollers and safety personnel with easy access to collected avalanche control data in order to make informed decisions and improve snow safety operations. The study was conducted at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort in Utah, where GPS locations were collected over three seasons along control routes, including avalanche control artillery shot locations, avalanche starting zones, transitions, and runout locations. The data was added to a Geographic Information System, alongside historical control results dating back to 1973 were.

The web-based application developed in this study uses ESRI's ArcGIS Server 10.0 platform and provides an interactive visual spatial/map environment for users to access and query the collected data. It utilizes a basemap overlayed with artillery shot locations color-coded according to their routes. Users can zoom in, zoom out, and pan around the image, and each shot location provides information such as route, path, path name, elevation, aspect, and slope. The application also allows users to query the shot results data based on time period, avalanche class, aspect, and elevation.

The increased accessibility to the data allows snow safety personnel to review control results from all over the mountain and generate reports on explosive usage. Since a streamlined process of submitting and retrieving avalanche work information by ski-patrol and management is vital for effective work, this application would benefit ski operations around the world.