Snow and Design
In our collective imagination mountains exists as perfectly uncontaminated places, yet they also hold another place of prominence as some of the areas most affected by climate change. Glaciers continue to retreat at ever higher rates: in 1850 they covered about 4,500 km2 of the Alpine surface area, dropping to 2,900 km2 around 1970, and to 1,800 km2 in 2010. This trend shows no signs of reversal. If, according to the alarming forecasts, by 2100 the average temperature in the Alps increases by a further two degrees, the height at which the snow-covered areas begin will increase. Awareness of the data can help us to determine the scenarios for the coming years and to adjust both short and long term strategies.
In the immediate future it will be possible to remedy the effects of climate change with a series of tools, including artificial snowmaking. The evolution of this increasingly high-performance technology makes it possible to ensure that there is snow throughout the entire season. Design plays a crucial role in this by coming up with machinery capable of adapting to the most extreme weather conditions, relating to temperatures as well as altitudes.
In addition, design focuses on experimenting with machinery that is able to reduce water consumption and management costs in order to minimize the financial and environmental impact. As testing extends over a broader time horizon, it is essential to begin to adopt different strategic approaches now so that new climate scenarios do not catch us off guard. It will be essential to increase the number of services and the range of activities in the mountain areas not exclusively focusing on skiing.