Snow Management at Ski Areas: Hydrologic Effects

by Richard Kattelmann, USDA, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest & Range Experiment Station, Soda Springs, CA, US,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Watershed Management in the Eighties


Several types of snow management are practiced at downhill ski areas. Each of these activities has a variety of hydrologic consequences. The extent to which these management practices are applied determine their relative and total effect on water release from the ski area basin. Artificial compaction has perhaps the greatest effect because large areas are treated. A study in the Sierra Nevada of California indicates that more snow water equivalent accumulates on a ski run than on comparable, uncompacted slopes. The additional snow stays on the ski runs several days longer than on similar natural slopes and can add to late seasons soil moisture and streamflow.

Subject Headings: Snow | Hydrology | Slopes | Water-based recreation | Construction management | Basins | Comparative studies | Seasonal variations | United States | Nevada | California

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