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Photo: Håkan Hjorth

Ski industry versus climate change

Published: 23 March 2016

Snow is a valuable resource for the ski industry. The reason is simple; without snow, no skiing and no ski tourism. Luleå University of Technology will be start this year to hold an annual conference with international researchers and snow industry on the theme of snow. This year's focus is on how innovation and technology can create a white winter even in the future.

- A question that interests scientists, the ski industry and tourism industry when it comes to snow, is much how we can guarantee snow even during winters with little snow, says Nina Lintzén, researcher at Luleå University of Technology and her self elite rider in cross-country endurance race.

A paradigm shift occurs in tourism and the ski industry in Sweden. The snow, once taken for granted is now a valuable resource that must be extracted, processed and maintained. Climate change makes the winters predicted to be shorter and less snowy. For example, several skiing competitions had to be set, had to be moved or carried out, on alternative courses due to lack of snow.

The ski industry must quickly turn into a snow industry and the change must be made with modern technology and knowledge. The Frozen Conference 2016 at Luleå University of Technology focuses on how innovation and technology can create a white winter in the future. Researchers from Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Canada, and representatives from the ski industry will be giving lectures.

- Previous snow costed SEK 0 / kg. Now there is the machinery that brings snow to our ski slopes and the snow that gives the characteristics we want. We manufacture, save and move the snow. That costs money, and how can we produce snow in a sustainable way? It is a challenge for us researchers, says Nina Lintzén.

Frozen 2016 at Luleå University takes place May 10 and 11. Some of the lectures that are given:

Practical use of artificial snow in Vasaloppet cross-country race, Tommy Höglund, Sport director and Anders Holmberg, Venue manager, Vasaloppet, Sweden

Climate change and the skiing industry - Work and research in North America and international work on skiing and the Winter Olympics, Professor Daniel Scott, University of Waterloo, Canada

Preparation and maintenance of pistes, The quality of the pistes and ski tracks is the main factor on which most skiers base their choice of ski resort. Methods and equipment to achieve the best ski conditions are presented, Fabian Wolfsperger and Hansueli Rhyner, WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Davos, Switzerland

Snow storage – a method to guarantee snow activities early in the season, Storage of snow from one winter to another is one method to secure snow early in the season. Which parameters affect the melting rate and what is the most efficient way of storing snow? Nina Lintzén, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden

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