Where perfect slopes meet technological excellence
Endless slopes in the California sunshine make the hearts of guests beat faster. Palisades Tahoe is one of the largest ski resorts and a technological leader in the US ski market. Spanning over 6,000 acres of skiable terrain, Palisades Tahoe is a winter paradise for everyone to enjoy.
The resort has two sides, Palisades and Alpine, renowned for hosting the 1960 Olympics. Since 2022, the sides have been connected by a gondola, offering seamless access between the two.
The spirit of adventure has attracted countless professional skiers to make Palisades Tahoe their home mountain. With a fleet of 48 PistenBully, the slopes are kept in perfect condition. Each vehicle is equipped with fleet management. Additionally, 18 PistenBully feature snow depth measurement technology, while two of them utilize LiDAR for snow depth measurement for precise snow analysis.
Source: Palisades Tahoe
Palisades Tahoe is Kässbohrer customer since 1980
- ·PistenBully in use since 1980
- SNOWsat in use since 2014
- PRO ACADEMY face-to-face trainings since 2018, online trainings since 2021
The following SNOWsat solutions are used:
The Palisades Tahoe ski resort relies on the complete solution package from Kässbohrer. As a technological leader in the american ski market, Palisades is constantly pursuing its goal of further development. In this interview, Brendan Gibbons, director of Snow Surface, explains how the digital solution and training options are revolutionizing their daily work.
Kässbohrer: What is unique about the relationship between your resort and Kässbohrer?
Brendan Gibbons: The Palisades side has always been a big PistenBully customer. I really appreciate what PistenBully has done over the years technologically – how they've developed these snowcats and how they operate. What separates PistenBully is the support we get locally and globally. Our relationship with PistenBully has grown since the first handshake to where it is now. It is mutual, respectful and we have the same goals. We want to find a way to be the best and we want to find a way to continue to get better and Kässbohrer allows us to achieve this.
Kässbohrer: Do you see a benefit in using the Kässbohrer products in combination?
Brendan Gibbons: Yes, I absolutely use the whole package as much as I can: The vehicles of PistenBully in combination with SNOWsat, the trainings of PRO ACADEMY and the well-functioning service. The PRO ACADEMY training is about more than just operation. There are so many little components that you can use within those different aspects of PRO ACADEMY and SNOWsat. And this together with PistenBully is just the whole package.
Kässbohrer: Could you explain how Palisades uses PRO ACADEMY and what benefit it brings your resort?
Brendan Gibbons: There are many points in which the PRO ACADEMY gives us great support. The PRO ACADEMY provides the team with a consistent knowledge base. Even the most experienced operators right down to the very newest operators have taken the online courses.
We also use trainings about grooming and snow handling. With the SNOWsat trainings the operators find a more efficient way to groom the slope. It allows the guys to determine when they're overprocessing the snow or crossing the same area more than they need to. They are able to figure out a different pattern to save some time. With the SNOWsat trainings operators learn to take full advantage of SNOWsat in order to maximize resource efficiency.
Kässbohrer: Palisades Tahoe uses SNOWsat Maintain in a unique way. Could you explain how you use SNOWsat Maintain at your resort daily?
Brendan Gibbons: SNOWsat Maintain is an awesome component, that I fell in love with a few years ago. It allows us to communicate with the vehicle shop digitally and consistently very easily. This has been an amazing development for us.
Now we digitized all the documentation seamlessly. It is more easily accessible and shareable and does not have some of the risks of paper documentation. Now we can drive into work, have a look on our phone and see what machines are runnable, what maintenance needs to be done and much more. It's really made the line of communication and the line of knowledge a lot more accessible for everybody.
Kässbohrer: Efficiency and technology are becoming more and more important in our industry. How does Palisades Tahoe use SNOWsat snow depth measurement in their everyday grooming operation?
Brendan Gibbons: SNOWsat snow depth measurement is one of the most important tools for us. It allows us to see where the trouble areas are and allows us to maintain those before they become an issue. SNOWsat serves as an information basis, so the supervisors and managers can decide, what the tasks for the shift are.
It is an amazing tool for the targeted use of snow. It allows us to keep the slopes open for a long time. Now we are trying to maintain up through July, which wouldn’t be possible without SNOWsat.
In addition, SNOWsat also offers a great security aspect because we are allowed to transmit data in real time. The safety aspect is knowing where the machines are in the middle of the night.
Kässbohrer: You mentioned SNOWsat helps to work with snow in a way that conserves resources. What about the equally important resource time?
Brendan Gibbons: I've got a great example. Before the holidays, we tried to speed up the snowmaking to finish the slope in a very small window of time before the weekend. Via the SNOWsat screen, we saw that there was enough technical snow on this trail and so we could move to the next trail and got that all done within that little time window. It was invaluable that the slopes could be completed before the holidays. Without this information, we would have stayed on this route to make sure we had enough snow. We would have missed the opportunity to get more skiable terrain for the guests.
Kässbohrer: Palisades is one of the first resorts in the US that uses SNOWsat LiDAR. What makes this technology so special and where do you see the benefit of it?
Brendan Gibbons: I think SNOWsat LiDAR perfectly complements the technology in the fleet. The combination of fleet management, the regular SNOWsat snow depth measurement and the predictive snow depth measurement by LiDAR offers the perfect data exchange. I can send a snowcat with SNOWsat LiDAR ahead. The data collected from the entire area can be transmitted to the other machines in real time. This gives all operators an overview of the snow situation on the entire slope.
SNOWsat LiDAR also offers us a safety aspect for the machines against damage. Especially in the early season maintenance and late season maintenance. By using snow depth data, we can determine, if it is a safe snow cover we can drive on. Otherwise, you're going to risk some significant damage.
In summary, knowing how to properly use LiDAR and interpret the data gives us many unexplored opportunities for improvement.
Things are happening at Palisade Tahoe! Thanks to the intelligently coordinated vehicles, technologies, training and services, the ski resort is looking forward to further successful seasons. Kässbohrer wishes all the best and thanks Brendan Gibbons for his exciting insights.
State: July 2023
How Palisades Tahoe works with SNOWsat
Palisades Tahoe Ski Resort published an in-depth look about their grooming operations with SNOWsat on their blog.
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