GLADING BEST PRACTICES: To keep or drop the big trees

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I spend some time working with a volunteer group of skiers who among other things manage a ski touring and hiking focused rec site in town.

Two of our gladed runs which are in the neighborhood of 30- 40 degrees pitch are getting some attention from the local fire crew this month and we are having a debate amongst ourselves over what to do with the larger trees on the run.

the arguments for keeping standing are:

Once down they are difficult to move into a position that doesn't take a one in fifty year snowpack to cover up.

during the spring they stabilize the temperature reducing the effects of freeze thaw cycles and solar effects affect which extends the season somewhat.

The arguments for taking them down:

snow interception: If snow is on the tree branches it is not on the ground.

Snow shedding: Chunks of hardened snow shedding from the tree branches during periods of warming.

The Exceptional circumstance:

There is a possibility the wind transport is bypassing the snow interception argument from the take them down camp on the runs in question.

I went into this argument knowing where I stood and now I find myself questioning my entire worldview. So I ask you ski community should they stay or should they go?

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