FACT Most resorts practice active watershed management to protect fisheries and public water supplies. Some have built storage reservoirs for snowmaking in winter and for slope irrigation in summer. During drought years, this extra water can literally be a life-saver for many trees, plants and animals that might otherwise perish.
Also, some areas, such as Snowbird in Utah, have created reservoirs for local drinking supplies. Others have built detention ponds that filter out sediments before runoff is released into streams. Also, by maintaining their snowpack as long as possible, ski areas help water agencies capture more water by prolonging the spring melt (about 85 percent of the water used for snowmaking is returned to the watershed). What you ski on represents future reservoir and groundwater supplies, which are best replenished through a gradual runoff.