Looking back on 40 years of experience shows Alpentech has effective tools to assist local Utah ski areas. Several recent ski trail modifications help manage congested trails following lift modernization which allows for higher capacities. Keeping the downhill experience enjoyable, corrections often involve complex grading plans that need careful attention to blend into the environment.
Alta: Corkscrew and Nina Grading Project
Completed Summer 2014
Project Summary: Removal of mine dump transport and placement of 40,000 cu-yd. Filling to eliminate erosion gully "Nina", 3-fold widening of Corkscrew Run and reduction of maximum slope from >50 to <40% slope.
Snowbird: Mineral Basin "Path to Paradise" and "Lonestar" Trail Creation
The specialized knowledge that constitutes a safe and pleasant alpine experience has been extensively researched, we apply formulas that have been accepted internationally. Appropriate terrain modifications are often planned with the help of Google Earth, particularly when high resolution imagery is available. Experience with light-weight laser survey tools and GPS gives Alpentech a cutting edge when working with the ski industry to prepare plans for often complex trail grading.
The following image shows a cut and fill map. Blue shows hillside that will be cut and this material can then be used in areas that will be filled (shown in red).
Maximum Ski Trail Density
Both the experience of an individual skiing space and ski equipment have evolved over time. The environment and the behavior is changing and this is reflected more on helmet design than design of comfortable skiing space. Lectures on "How to measure trail capacity" have been offered to OITAF- NACS Symposiums (International Organization of Transport by Rope); however, due to aggressive lift sales, upgrading congested ski trail sections is mostly afterthought (repair work) rather than initial planning consideration. Alpentech is experienced in finding solutions for better skier dispersal at a small fraction of lift costs.
Alpentech Related Success Stories
- Planning of the first skier tunnel with conveyer belt in the U.S. at Snowbird Peruvian Lift with a landing short of the crest to connect through the tunnel to Mineral Basin. This plan has been most appreciated: aesthetically, operationally and as a novelty.
- Alpentech has been commissioned to make evaluations for the B.C. Government to assess work performed by ski area consultants because their findings were seemingly inconsistent. This resulted in thorough field proofing which brought more reliable answers, preventing faulty assumptions to guide development.
- A third Party Economic Feasibility Study at Snow King Resort in Jackson, Wyoming was requested of Alpentech in 2012. Following came a two year complete all-season master planning effort leading to major upgrading of the area.
- Similarly, a comprehensive ski area inventory assessment was requested at The Canyons Resort (Park City, UT) in 2011. This lead to a sale of Wolf Mountain starting with massive investment of the Canyon resort, which today is a part of Vail Associates and connected with Park City.
- Alpentech’s Smartmap technology is a unique modeling technique that produces suitability maps for ski villages and resort development. Smartmap™ analyzes many factors such as slope, solar aspect, wind vectors, vegetation zones and wildlife habitat; it was used for the first large-scale digitization of ski slope suitability in Val Thorens, France in 1982 for the French government.
- The Alaska Department of Natural Resources hired Alpentech and Design North to evaluate a substantial investment into Hatcher Pass scheduled in conjunction with the Anchorage Olympic bid evaluation. It was immediately obvious that the site had marginal suitability for Olympic venues, let alone extensive resort development. Objective overlay of resource constraints proved that the plan was flawed and exemplified the integrity and unique value of our in-house SmartmapTM program.
- The legacy of Argentina's Las Leñas has been uncovered by Alpentech. Avalanche and suitability of the existing ski field found by French planners gave rise to questions, we suggested to look at the suitability of more promising expansion across the valley. The owner agreed and our proposal was proven correct as one single intermediate lift, not at all exposed to avalanches, with preferable slope statistics and more favorable snow holding patterns, promised to keep the slopes open more dependably at a fraction of avalanche control cost. The area called "Soldado" is now recognized as a fantastic ski slope with lower operational costs.
Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA
Summary and Findings
In 2008 Alpentech was asked by Liberty University’s Owner to analyze 2000 ha of mountainous lands adjacent to the University in order to double the enrollment at the campus. First, we were presented with a request to build a ski area since this has always been a significant attraction for college students. Following a rigorous terrain and climate analysis, it was concluded that neither snow climate nor terrain features were favorable for a successful formula on that basis. Alpentech consequently was asked to study the mountainous terrain around the college much more comprehensively. A rich variety of all-season recreation pursuits were evaluated. Given the interest of snow sports a strong component of the program had been found with the incorporation of Snowflex (artificial snow surface) as a central all-season activity center. In conjunction with the large scale grading to fit Snowflex and provide on-mountain parking provisions, many additions to the program were planned to make a truly unique experience.
The Snowflex facility was substantially enlarged within two years because as soon as it was built, it had outgrown its holding capacity. It had been approved already to serve athletes aiming to excel in winter sports, such as aerial jumping along with many other summer and winter sports.
As a result of the comprehensive study of the site, the creative energy of Alpentech and the capable leadership of the University, the success has been sustained over several years.
Liberty University program director can verify this information:
Lee Beaumont, Senior Vice President, Auxiliary Services, 434‐592‐3315, LIBERTY UNIVERSITY
Lee Reports: "Snowflex has been great for us. Our on‐campus enrollment is around 13,000 and just about doubled since 2008 – we have been growing slowly because of all the infrastructure we need to build. Dorms, cafeterias, classrooms, etc. You will not recognize LU when you come back – we have been quite busy. Our online program is over 80,000 so we have a total of 93,000 students and 6,500 employees.
We are seeing good numbers at the slope, fielding a college team which has some good riders, our summer camps sell out, and we hold one massive event a year called the Dew Games which attract top riders, and 4,000 – 5,000 spectators. It is also video streamed live on the net. We have received a lot of press as well.
I can see where it would be tough to make the numbers work unless you have a unique situation like we do – but it works here. So far the slope has held up well and our operations guys are finding new ways to make things work to prevent algae buildup and things like that – unique to our hotter climate during the summer.
We have completed the trail system (it is about 60 total miles), built an Equestrian center, a motorbike track, a 3‐D archery range, and competition paintball fields. We were also given a 120 acre lake about 9 miles from campus and started a crew team.
We will be adding some zip lines and a high/low ropes course this summer at one of the smaller lakes on our property, much like it has been proposed by Alpentech."