The demand side of climate services for real-time snow management in Alpine ski resorts: Some empirical insights and implications for climate services development

Köberl, Judith ; François, Hugues ; Cognard, Jonathan ; Carmagnola, Carlo ; Prettenthaler, Franz ; Damm, Andrea ; Morin, Samuel

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<p align=justify>Whilst there has been significant effort to stimulate the supply side of the market for climate services, the demand side still receives less attention. For this reason, this paper presents empirical data on prospective demand for (sub-)seasonal climate services addressing daily operational decision-making in ski resorts, particularly in the field of snow management. Based on theoretical considerations about what determines the market size for climate services and responses from two surveys among Alpine ski resorts, we address questions about (i) the potential to optimise snow management by increasing the ability to anticipate weather and snow conditions, (ii) ski resorts' interest in (sub-)seasonal climate services and (iii) their willingness to pay. Our survey results reveal several aspects with a positive impact on the theoretical demand for (sub-)seasonal climate services in the field of ski resorts' snow management. This includes high saving potential in some ski resorts from perfect or improved knowledge of upcoming meteorological conditions, widespread experience in the use of forecasts and snow management tools, and a noticeable portion of actors willing to consider uncertain information in decision-making to some extent. Nevertheless, the willingness to pay for (sub-)seasonal climate services seems somewhat limited. Recommendations for service providers include demonstrating clearly where and how even uncertain information can add value to decision-making, careful weighing of the costs of provision of each service component against added value for customers, and a flexible and modular product design.</p>
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