Signs of Reduced Regenerative Capacity
The premise of this discussion is that the regenerative capacity of the forest defining a ski area - the process of growing new trees to replace old ones - is directly linked to the trail system's ability to retain natural snow.
There are indicator signs of reduced snow retention and corresponding reduced recreational value for skiing and riding. There are two types of signs: Incremental, and Singular. Incremental signs are caused by small changes that occur repeatedly over time. The effects are cumulative. Singular signs are from one-time, usually large, events.
* Unless this is a management goal.
How Do They Happen?
Most of the above signs and symptoms are caused by small incremental changes over time: lots of little changes add up. Annual maintenance activities without regard to fostering regeneration are the cause, even though these activities are well-intentioned. Note that some may be the result of managment goals (usually to accomodate snowmaking or enhance customer safety), in which case these should not be viewed as negative.
Singular signs and symptoms are from one-time events, generally from trail establishment or major re-cutting.