Masterplanning of Ski Area Projects

Lift and trail system design is a cornerstone of SnowPlan. Whether an initial design, a feasibility assessment for a new resort or a phased, long range physical and economic plan for the expansion of an existing ski area, mountain planning consists of the following services.

Initial map study & resource inventory

SnowPlan determines the general suitability of the site with respect to slope length and vertical rise, gradients, exposures, base facilities, and the availability of water sources for snowmaking. Resource inventory of the mountain environment utilizes digital overlay techniques to analyze the site including ecological characteristics such as wetlands, wildlife habitat, sensitive areas, avalanche zones, and other pertinent constraints.

Preliminary site evaluation

The accuracy of the maps is established and the actual site conditions are evaluated considering soil and tree cover, environmental constraints, and the general adaptability of the terrain for lift and trail routes and base area siting.

Preliminary master plan

Based on more detailed site work, the Comfortable Carrying Capacity (CCC) of the proposed development is determined. Size and characteristics of the base facilities, the capital costs required to build the ski area, and the phasing of the total project are defined.

Final master plan

Precise field and map work leads to grading plans for final lift and trail layout and the placement of base facilities, including parking and access, maximizing available terrain in balance with the skier market skill distribution, ensuring an efficient resort circulation system, minimizing manpower requirements and providing adequate skier lift access from the valley staging areas. The carrying capacity, capital costs and phasing program are refined to the extent that a detailed economic feasibility study can be carried out. The Final Master Plan may be accompanied by Digital Terrain Models allowing visualization of the project from virtually any perspective.