Portrait of a PROSNOW scientist: Hugues François

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1. Could you tell us more about yourself?
My first works that focused on mountainous areas did not address resorts’ issues specifically, but were more focused on questions about the development of remote areas. When the time came for me to complete a PhD thesis, I was funded to study mid-mountain resorts’ adaptation by the diversification of tourism products and services. After this first work, I designed the French BD Stations (station stands for resort in French); a database about ski resorts which was the first step for initiating the collaborative research with the Snow Research Center (CEN), which has allowed us to cross our knowledge of ski resorts on the one hand and snow physics on the other.

2. What is your role in PROSNOW?
My original scientific background mainly relies on social science and ski resort governance and management from a land planning point of view. The birth of the Stations database pushed me to discover the (wonderful) world of SQL and its limits led me to explore other languages to fulfil my aspirations. At the same time, I enlarged my scientific field of activity and began my first investigations around modelling snow reliability in ski areas. Now, with PROSNOW, I have tried to create a link between these different approaches. As the WP2 leader I’m responsible for the social science side of the project. At the same time I still work in WP1 in collaboration with the CEN for the spatial interpolation of weather and snow modelling output and, finally, in WP3 I directly contribute to the central data server design.

3. What are your expectations regarding PROSNOW?
PROSNOW is a way to pass on our research from our office to the people in charge of the resorts. Occasionally we spend some time communicating with other scientists or contributing to public debate, but PROSNOW goes further. The best way to deliver messages from science is maybe when the people involved can concretely use it in their daily tasks. It is the first step to passing on other ideas, to showing them different ways of depicting reality and thus sensitize the users to other issues: today we aim to extend forecasts to a seasonal scale. I hope this lead us, bit by bit, to be able to discuss the end of the century!

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