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Jasper National Park of Canada

Marmot Basin Ski Area Site Guidelines for Development and Use

5.6 Visitor Safety - Terrain Modification

Ski Area Management Guidelines

"Significant terrain modification will be prohibited. No new alpine ski ways will be permitted. Existing ski ways can be improved to address skier safety, terrain stability and aesthetic issues. Changes must minimize ground disturbances, address aesthetic impacts and be reversible."

Page 4, Ski Area Management Guidelines, Minister of Environment, December 7, 2006

Objectives

  • To use the natural terrain - limit terrain modification to where it is essential for skier safety, to resolve environmental issues or to make minor adjustments that improve visitor experience.
  • To reduce erosion and improve slope stability and minimize impacts on vegetation.

Existing Situation

  • There are a number of high use areas that are constricted, prone to icing, or do not hold snow well, creating hazardous conditions.
  • There are connector trails that facilitate skier movement from one ski pod to another. Many are narrow, steep and receive high use and are difficult to maintain, leading to safety issues.
  • Major areas of concern are: pitches on Slash, Dromedary, top of the Express chair, No Show, egress from McCready's Shute and the Knob traverse. Some terrain modification may be required in the new beginners' area to facilitate lift construction and ensure suitable teaching terrain.

Site Guidelines

5.6.1 Terrain modification will be limited to locations where there is good slope stability and reclamation potential can be assured and to those areas that reflect the objectives.

5.6.2 Best Management Practices will guide evaluation of individual terrain modification proposals.

5.6.3 Firm commitments for rehabilitation will be required.

5.6.4 In the alpine:

  • because of lengthy rehabilitation periods and aesthetic issues, terrain modification will be restricted.
  • ground disturbances will be minimized with rock removal the most common form of modification. Rock removal will be site specific, selective, limited to small areas and not involve heavy equipment.
  • a combination of structures and terrain adjustments can be considered to improve ski-ways.
  • minimal terrain modification for lift terminal sites may be considered where it is demonstrated that the terminal cannot be reasonably located elsewhere.

5.6.5 In the sub-alpine reclamation potential is greater allowing for greater flexibility for the scope and nature of terrain modification. Proposals will be considered subject to site-specific investigations to consider the appropriateness, scope of work, suitability of terrain and the ability to apply the Best Management Practices. Where terrain is already heavily disturbed, the scope of terrain modification can be greater than would be considered in previously undisturbed areas if it results in improved erosion control and aesthetics, and respects the ecological parameters.

5.6.6 On an exception basis, as set out in Section 4.0, Parks Canada is prepared to consider significant terrain modification to address requirements for the safe unloading of skiers on a potentially realigned Knob Chairlift proposal with egress in the summit area in order to minimize aesthetic concerns and potential impacts on the regional goat population, subject to a full exploration of alternatives.

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