As a dealer of Topcon GPS technology and the exclusive dealer of Austria’s ARENA SlopeManagement software, RDO Integrated Controls offers a unique solution to streamline management and maintenance of slope and snowmaking operations. By pairing Topcon technology with the ARENA software, RDO Integrated Controls provides a system for those who own, operate, or maintain ski resorts.
In the most basic terms, the ARENA and Topcon system uses real-time GPS position data to track equipment, show characteristics, and display snow depths relative to a map of the ski area with centimeter accuracy.
Here are 7 reasons the ARENA and Topcon solution from RDO Integrated Controls is one to consider. Or watch the RDO Integrated Controls – Ski Industry Technology video to see how this system works on the mountain.
1. Compatible With All
The ARENA SlopeManagement system is a cloud-based software that works with Topcon GPS on any snowcat. This makes it a solution for all resorts, especially those operating a mixed fleet that may include Prinoth and PistenBully. The system can also track additional machines in the fleet like quads, shuttles, snowmobiles, and trucks.
2. Accurate Overview
Using Topcon GPS technology that sends data to the ARENA software, snowcat operators can see exactly where they are relative to the entire mountain map. The maps also show snow depths, allowing operators to fill low areas or groom areas that are too high. Avoidance areas can also be programmed in areas where known obstacles may cause risk to the operator or machine.
Furthermore, the machine’s path is displayed with color so the operator can easily see exactly where he or she has been, as well as see positions of other snowcats across the mountain. Not only does this ensure coverage of all trails, it eliminates the wasted time, effort, and cost of grooming the same area twice.
3. Park Consistency
A major challenge of resorts that offer terrain parks is consistency of the parks, both day-to-day and year-after-year. Using the ARENA and Topcon solution, RDO Integrated Controls is able to create and store a historic park layout so managers can precisely and safely lay out features like jumps, kickers, and rails, as well as build consistent features like half pipes.
On a daily basis, the operator is able to record and calculate snow volume in the park while grooming, ensuring consistency every day. This documentation offers the added benefit of risk mitigation by capturing park upkeep, signage, and grooming history, which can aid in the case of legal disputes.
4. Better Snowmaking
As a snowcat moves across the mountain, it’s continuously sending data to the ARENA software about snow depth and location. ARENA software has direct interface options for automated snowmaking manufacturers. Automated snowmaking systems receive snow depth data in near real-time, enabling snow guns to apply where needed and shut off where snow is sufficient. The software is even capable of generating a prescription that can be sent directly to each unit, detailing how many gallons of water are needed to achieve the gun’s desired amount of snow.
Consistency is crucial for a long-lasting base. For example, if a resort’s ideal plan for snow base is 3 feet, managers can guide grooming practices in coordination with snowmaking, saving time and money.
Speaking of money, consider the costs that go into snowmaking – water and electricity to make snow, as well as fuel and labor costs for operators to move it and adhere to environmental restrictions. The real-time data provided by the ARENA and Topcon system details exactly how much and where snow is needed, eliminating wasted materials and money.
5. Fleet Management
The functionality of the system also offers opportunities for another key piece of the slope management puzzle – fleet tracking and management. As managers collect data from the snowcats and additional equipment like quads, shuttles, snowmobiles, and trucks, and have a clearer overall picture of the complete process every day, they can make data-driven decisions on everything from preventative maintenance schedules to adding more snowcat machines to the fleet.
6. Starting the Season Right
While great for day-to-day grooming, the ARENA and Topcon system also can be used at the start of the season to establish the mountain – its runs and terrain park – and get the season off on the right foot.
In the words of one customer, “If you can build it right the first time, the whole mountain is going to ski a lot better and it’s less work later in the year.”
7. Ending on a Safe Note
Perhaps the most important benefit of the system is operator safety. Depending on the amount of daylight and current weather – including, often, white-out conditions – operators may not be able to see obstacles like trees, towers, other infrastructure, or even additional snowcats, until it’s too late.
Maps can be set up to include these obstacles and mountain characteristics. By seeing their position on the map, relative to the entire mountain and all obstacles, including other snowcats, operators can safely avoid crashes, and the equipment damage and personal injury that may come with.
Once the season ends and managers look ahead to summer operations, understanding exactly where roads are and their centerlines allows groomers to safely and efficiently open the mountain sooner.
The Complete Package
In addition to the system itself, RDO Integrated Controls has a dedicated Solutions Center that provides expert phone service to customers and a variety of other support resources. And as experts in GPS technology, RDO Integrated Controls can survey resorts, or train teams on the process via handheld devices or UAVs. The expertise extends to CAD, allowing the RDO Integrated Controls team to design a Digital Terrain Model that’s required for high-precision GPS.
RDO Integrated Controls offers this unique slope management system, as well as the after-sale support and service to keep managers up-and-running throughout the entire season.
About the Author
Rick Hefley is National Ski Account Manager for RDO Integrated Controls. Connect with him on Twitter @RDOICRickH.
Get additional information about after-sale service and support from RDO Integrated Controls. To learn more about technology solutions offered, contact your local RDO Integrated Controls store.