Articles | Volume 12, issue 3
The Cryosphere, 12, 1121–1135, 2018
The Cryosphere, 12, 1121–1135, 2018
Research article
28 Mar 2018
Research article | 28 Mar 2018

Snowmobile impacts on snowpack physical and mechanical properties

Steven R. Fassnacht et al.

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Cited articles

Abele, G. and Gow, A.: Compressibility Characteristics of Undisturbed Snow, Research Report 336, US Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Hanover, New Hampshire, 1975.
American Avalanche Association: Snow, Weather and Avalanches: Observation Guidelines for Avalanche Programs in the United States, 3rd edn., Victor, ID, 104 pp., 2016.
American Council of Snowmobile Associations: Economic Impact of the Snowmobiling Industry, available at: (last access: 4 April 2017), 2014.
Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition: Economic Contribution of Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation in Colorado, Report by Pinyon Environmental, Lakewood, CO USA, available at: (last access: 4 April 2017), 2016.
Cook, B. and Borrie, W.: Trends in Recreation Use and Management of Wilderness, Int. J. Wilderness, 1, 30–34, 1995.
Short summary
We conducted a series of experiments to determine how snowpack properties change with varying snowmobile traffic. Experiments were initiated at a shallow (30 cm) and deep (120 cm) snow depth at two locations. Except for initiation at 120 cm, snowmobiles significantly changed the density, hardness, ram resistance, and basal layer crystal size. Temperature was not changed. A density change model was developed and tested. The results inform management of lands with snowmobile traffic.