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Finding An Ideal Ski Resort Location. GIS Group Project: Meredith Faust Dana French Kalyna Malm. First things first:. In order to find an ideal ski resort location, we need elevation data. Digital Elevation Models .

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finding an ideal ski resort location

Finding An Ideal Ski Resort Location

GIS Group Project:

Meredith Faust

Dana French

Kalyna Malm

first things first

First things first:

In order to find an ideal ski resort location, we need elevation data

digital elevation models
Digital Elevation Models
  • With GIS, the appropriate data is incorporated into a layer called a DEM, or digital elevation model.
  • While searching for DEMs on the web, several options are available.
national elevation data ned
National Elevation Data (NED)
  • Developed by USGS
  • Merges highest resolution & best quality elevation data from across the US into a seamless raster format.
  • 1:24,000 scale DEM data for continental US & 1:63,000 scale for Alaska
  • Result of maturation of USGS effort
national land cover data nlcd
National Land Cover Data (NLCD)
  • Used by Geostat Center at UVA
  • Accquired by Landsat’s Thematic Mapper sensor, as well as a number of other data sources
  • 30-meter format, shading scheme
shuttle radar topography mission srtm
Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM)
  • A joint effort from NASA, NIMA (National Imagery & Mapping Agency), DLR (German Space Agency), ASI (Italian Space Agency)
  • Flight of shuttles occurred February 11-22, 2000
  • 12 Terabytes of raw data, being processed into DEMs






step 1 finding elevation data
Step 1: Finding Elevation Data
  • We found elevation data in NED form near the southern Virginia/North Carolina border at the following web site:

  • The following slide shows the specific area we selected for our ski resort
step 2 looking for common ski resort features
Step 2: Looking for Common Ski Resort Features
  • In order to see the way that ski resorts are typically set up, we searched the internet for pictures of existing ski resorts.
  • The following pictures show a large ski resort in Vail, Colorado, and Wintergreen right here in VA
ski run design
Ski Run Design
  • The best ski resorts have maximum slopes converging to a few ski lifts.
  • Based on actual resorts, slopes run parallel down small valleys within the mountain side
properties of area ski resorts
Properties of Area Ski Resorts

WINTERGREEN mountain has an elevation of 3,515 ft, with a vertical drop of 1,003 ft.

The longest run is 1.4 miles


Whitetail, PA


Blue Knob




935 ft

600 ft, 1 mi

1,072 ft, 1.75 mi

1,500 ft, 1.5 mi

close to blacksburg
Winterplace, WV

Beech Mtn, NC

Sugar Mtn, NC

603 ft, 1.25 mi

830 ft, 1 mi

1,200 ft, 1.5 mi

Close to Blacksburg
step 3 using gis
Step 3. Using GIS
  • There are 2 options that can be used to determine the best possible ski slopes for our selected area
    • Option 1: 3D Analyst in Arc Scene
    • Option 2: Neighborhood Analysis
option 1

Option 1

Using the 3D Analyst in ArcScene to make the Data three dimensional

3d analyst
3D Analyst
  • Use the 3D analyst extension on ArcScene to view the DEM in three dimensions
  • Once this is done, it will be easier to find a specific location for a ski resort: from the picture of Vail, we concluded that a good ski resort contains a large valley, surrounded by two or more mountains containing a variety of different slopes for possible ski trails.
turning the dem from 2d to 3d
Turning the DEM from 2D to 3D
  • Right click on the layer name
  • Go to properties
  • Click on the base heights tab
  • Use the same settings as the picture to the left
option 2

Option 2

Using Neighborhood Analysis to determine the highest elevations

neighborhood analysis
Neighborhood Analysis
  • Another way of finding the best ski resort would be using Neighborhood Analysis in the Spatial Analyst extension.
neighborhood analysis27
Neighborhood Analysis
  • You will need the following for this type of Neighborhood Analysis:
    • A DEM of the target location
    • The Spatial Analyst extension and toolbar activated
neighborhood analysis cont
Now highlight the Neighborhood Statistic function under the Spatial Analyst arrow

Select your criteria for analysis. In our example, we used Maximum

Neighborhood Analysis Cont.
neighborhood analysis30
Neighborhood Analysis
  • Because we are using a DEM, the maximum function will find the highest (maximum) areas compared to each cell around it in the grid.
  • When the program is done computing, The areas with the largest slope in the grid in relation to its neighborhood will be shown
neighborhood analysis31
The following map output has the maximum slope of our DEM shown in RED.

The most exciting potential ski areas are shown inside the blue circles.

Neighborhood Analysis
  • This is the best possible geographic location for a Ski Resort within our selected area because:
    • 3 mountains surrounding a large valley that is prime for ski slopes
    • The Neighborhood Analyst found steep slopes within this region

…. and

further discussion
Further Discussion
  • This area is optimal for other reasons:
    • Interstate Access
    • Nearby Colleges provide many potential customers
    • High annual precipitation compared to other locations in Virginia
and of course the best reason
And, of course, the best reason:
  • Because it would be…