So I am currently a Civil Engineering major at UPitt, and was recently trying to think of ways to apply my major to skiing. I am thinking of taking some geotechnical electives in the spring that I think may relate, but other than designing lodges and lifts (structural stuff) I couldn't think of too many applications.
Does anyone here have a CE degree and work in the ski resort business? If so I'd love to hear some advice, I'm trying to take my dad's advice and think about my future.
BTW, first post on NS! Glad to be here, I couldn't think of a better source to ask this question to.
A couple thoughts, don't know how helpful they will be, just from my perspective obviously leaving a lot of things out. I have managed to do stuff with snow, although not ski specific. I have a bachelors degree in civil concentrating in water resources and geotech from CU Boulder. Now I am in grad school in civil engineering in water resources, also at CU. But, I am doing my research on glaciology. I think that the advantage that we have as engineers for looking at snow, ice, and snow hydrology problems over geologists and geographers is in our math and programming backgrounds. So, we can do things that a lot of them can't do in terms of modelling and looking at ice from a physical process based standpoint. In terms of snow hydrology I think there is a fair amount of stuff out there to be done because of the significance of spring snow melt for runoff prediction especially in places like the Colorado river basin. Anyways, just some thoughts. I guess it all just depends on your school, we do a lot of natural systems stuff in my department.
O ya, one other thought is looking at snowpack metamorphism modelling stuff like SNOWPACK by Michael Lehning. I guess they dont do it as much over here, but I think its pretty developed over in Europe.
Thanks for the help. Question, what exactly does glaciology involve? i haven't even heard of it in my program (probably because we don't deal with snow melt/ice etc.) but it seems like it would transition well to skiing. There has to be some geotechnical aspects in slope design when designing slopes and moving earth.
Any technical background suits you well for getting into actual snow science. There aren't a lot of people working in the field, there are definitely places you could get into it. PM if you wanna know more.
The company I'm working for right now designs and builds many of the urban big air venues (and several of the big parks) in Europe. One of the company co-owners has an engineering degree and uses some incredible software for jump-building: calculating how high a drop-in ramp needs to be for a jump with a table of X length, X-degree kicker and landing, factoring in snow type, wind resistance etc... pretty cool stuff. What I find really awesome is a program that measures a rider's force of impact on a landing, with this they can optimize the jump for the biggest possible sweet spot.
i have a ski area operations degree, and im working towards my mech engineering degree now. there's a lot of stuff out there in the ski industry that can benefit from all sorts of engineers. the ski industry was founded on the more blue collar get it done mentality. lifts, snowmaking, villages, were just sort of put in place w/o much consideration to geological effects and efficiency in general. only in the last 10 years, more like 5, we're seeing a much larger involvement of the engineering type. the guys who are managers at most resorts have worked there for 20-30+ years and have little knowledge in "infrastructure" improvements and need help from outside firm/companies.
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