Creating perfect ski slopes with ALGIZ 10X
Skiers and snowboarders riding the slopes at destination ski resorts may not spend much time considering the effort needed to ensure their smooth glides, but hundreds of snow groomers working each night make it all possible.
At skiing areas in Austria, Germany and Switzerland — including such well-known destinations as Kitzbühel, St. Anton am Arlberg, and Planai Schladming — snow grooming machines roll over the snow, packing it in some areas and removing it from others to create ideal conditions for a fun, safe experience for their customers.
Carving it up
Long before skiers arrive on the slopes, a careful terrain mapping is done in the summer, using high precision GPS. This information is merged into a digital terrain model that is the basis for the wintertime work.
When it’s time to prepare the snow, the drivers start their Handheld Algiz 10X ultra-rugged tablets as soon as they start their grooming machines. The tablet is mounted to the dashboard at the front of the machine, like a navigation system. Via GPS receiver, the snow grooming machine recognizes its actual position and height. The difference of the current height and the surveyed height from summertime terrain maps equals the snow height of a given place. The ARENA snow height measurement system is based on the GNSS technologies GPS, Glonass and soon also Galileo.
Sensors positioned in the driver’s cabin and on the snow groomer’s windshield measure the snow levels, displaying them on the monitor in corresponding colors. The colors on the map allow the drivers to read the terrain quickly and easily. And this information is shared among all the groomers working the area, so their efforts are coordinated.
With the data offered in real time, the drivers can prepare perfect slopes and save resources (money, water and energy), because they know — precisely — where more snow is needed and where there is already enough. Additionally, they are able to avoid dirt in the snow, and improve efficiency, snow distribution and the quality of the groomed track.
Working together, hand in glove
“We are really happy that we found the Algiz 10X rugged tablets,” says Christoph Schmuck, Head of Development at ARENA PistenManagement. “It has an excellent computing performance. Another advantage we highly appreciate is that the Algiz 10X is a portable device, on which you work with Windows 10. Thanks to that, we are able to use it not only during winter in the snow groomers, but 365 days a year.”
ARENA PistenManagement provides software solution and geographical information systems; their main focus is on slope management. They use the software “3DMC” from Topcon, one of the leading manufacturers of GNSS solutions. The software allows the drivers to visualize the current snow levels as well as the passes made by the linked snow groomers working in the skiing area. The rugged Algiz 10X tablet functions as the monitor, and is affixed in the cab using a vehicle dock (ALG10X-05C) and RAM mount (RAM-101U-2461).
In 2017, ARENA made the switch to Handheld’s products. Its previous monitors were too small and heavy for the job. ARENA especially appreciates the proportion of the Algiz 10X display size, and were further convinced by its computing performance and the memory capacity. “We also appreciate the variety of ports and the very good support.”
Working through the cold and dark
While skiers and snowboarders are snug in bed dreaming of the next-day slopes, groomers roll over every inch of a ski area, watching their monitors and relying on modern technology to determine snow levels precisely. Their dedication — and the Algiz 10X rugged tablets — produce a smooth, safe, well-groomed and maintained slope, ready and waiting for the morning’s first skier to slice the snow.