How the Record-Breaking Snow Depth at Mammoth Mountain, CA, is Measured Using PistenBully’s SnowSat Technology

Julia Schneemann | | Industry NewsIndustry News
A PistenBully hard at work at Mammoth Mountain, CA. | Picture: Mammoth Mountain Facebook Page

Mammoth Mountain, CA, measured a record-breaking 813 inches of snow at Dave’s Run last week. While we have seen many records broken this season — a season that was certainly one for the record books — you may wonder how resorts can actually measure these snow depths accurately.

The user-friendly display of the SNOWsat technology inside a PistenBully. | Picture: SNOWsat Website

Enter ‘SNOWSat’ technology by German snow grooming brand ‘PistenBully,’ which was used to measure the record snow depth at Dave’s Run. This area typically holds the most snow on Mammoth Mountain, and the resort used the PistenBully satellite-guide technology to accurately measure the snow depth. PistenBully groomers can now be equipped with a snow depth measurement display in the snow groomer, giving the operator accurate measurements, thanks to a high-precision sensor under the vehicle. PistenBully also offers the world’s first SNOWsat LiDAR, which provides up to 50 m in front of the snow groomer in real-time.

The data from SNOWsat provides an accurate map of a resort’s snow depth across the runs. | Picture: SNOWsat Website

In a nutshell, satellite data helps measure the topography of a resort during the summer months, while in winter, the sensor underneath the PistenBully then accurately measures deviations from those satellite-aided measurements, which is the snow depth. Gimmicks and record books aside, SNOWsat actually helps resorts to reduce snowmaking, which in turn cuts down on energy consumption tremendously. PistenBully reckons that its SNOWsat technology can help cut up to 25% of a resort’s operating costs. It also keeps groomed runs safe for skiers and snowboarders by accurately identifying areas where the snow cover is getting thin. Ensuring adequate snow cover not only keeps snow enthusiasts safe but also protects the fragile alpine environment from damage caused by skis or snowboards.

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