19 Sep 2023
 | 19 Sep 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Assessing the key concerns in snow storage: A case study for China

Xing Wang, Feiteng Wang, Jiawen Ren, Dahe Qin, and Huilin Li

Abstract. Snow security plays a crucial role in ensuring the success of winter sports events and supporting the ski industry. One effective approach to enhancing snow reliability is through snow storage. Despite its potential benefits, the investigation of snow storage in China has been limited. To address this gap, we implemented snow storage covered with geotextile at two venues, namely the Big Air Shougang (BAS) in Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games and the National Biathlon Center (NBC) in Chongli for the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games, in response to extreme meteorological conditions. In order to assess the key concerns associated with snow storage: ablation (the process of snow loss) and snow quality, we introduced a fine snow pile monitoring system and utilized the SNOWPACK model. Our observations revealed that, by February 18, the snow pile at the BAS had lost 158.6 m3 of snow (equivalent to 6.7 % of the initial volume). Subsequently, the accelerated ablation was influenced by both meteorological conditions and the presence of a thin geotextile layer. Between January 16 and April 15, the snow pile at BAS experienced a total loss of 1242.9 m3 of snow (corresponding to 52.7 % of the original volume). With regard to snow quality, there were no significant variations modeled at the study sites, except for the upper part of the snow piles. It was noted that the evaporation of wet geotextile contributed to slowing down the ablation process. Consequently, we discourage the use of impermeable coverage schemes for snow storage. Instead, the thickness of the cover played a vital role in preserving the snow pile. At Beijing and Chongli, the 0.7 m and 0.4 m thick cover layers, respectively, were found to protect approximately half of the snow height over the summer season. Importantly, the snow quality evolution was consistent across different cover thicknesses. The findings of our study have implications for the ski industry in China, as they provide valuable insights into snow storage techniques and their impact on snow reliability.

Xing Wang et al.

Status: open (until 31 Oct 2023)

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Xing Wang et al.


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Short summary
The results reveal that snow pile at the Big Air Shougang lost 158.6 m3 snow (6.7 %) during pre-competition days and Winter Olympic competition days. There were no significant variations in snow quality of the snow piles at the Big Air Shougang and the National Biathlon Center, except for the upper part of the snow piles. The 0.7 and 0.4 m thick cover layers protect the half snow height over the summer season at Beijing and Chongli, respectively.