Volume IX |

The Use of the Digital Terrain Model in Analyzing the Natural Potential of the Muntele Mic – Poiana Mărului – Ţarcu Mountains Tourist Area to Extend and Plan the Ski Domain

Abstract: The present study aims at examining the natural potential of the region as a prerequisite for the planning and the expansion of the ski domain, in order to reinvigorate the resorts Muntele Mic and Poiana Mărului. The factors taken into account to identify the best areas for planning new ski tracks are: the altitude, the slope, the orientation of the slopes to the solar radiation, the duration and the thickness of the snow layer, the land use, the risk of snow avalanches occurrence and the degree of accessibility. Because the factors considered don’t have the same importance for the favorability, before the combination of the factors, we used the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) implemented by the IDRISI Andes software to assign for each factor a relative weight to use in the analysis. The risk of snow avalanches occurrence was considered as restrictive factor (Boolean factor). The combination of factors by Weight of Evidence method resulted in the creation of the final model, which presents the probability map for new ski tracks. The probability degree varies continuously in space, from a very high probability (255) to a very low probability (0) depending on the combination mode in a certain area of the considered factors and their weight. We considered as optimal areas only the areas with values above 200. The best areas to expand the ski domain are the detached secondary peaks of Muntele Mic towards north and the northern slopes of the Nedeia Ridge. These areas could allow for the development of certain ski tracks at least the same size as the ones of the Prahova Valley. The development of the ski domain in these areas will connect the two resorts, Muntele Mic and Poiana Mărului, and could increase the touristic potential of the study area.