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How does ski infrastructure change soil erosion processes on hillslope?
  • Dawid Piątek,
  • Anita Bernatek-Jakiel
Dawid Piątek
Uniwersytet Jagiellonski w Krakowie

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Anita Bernatek-Jakiel
Uniwersytet Jagiellonski w Krakowie
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Abstract

Ski tourism’s popularity is driving a rise in the number of ski resorts. This study aims to present the impact of ski infrastructure on soil erosion processes on the example from a small catchment in the Gubałowskie Foothills in southern Poland, where landscape changes before (since 1879) and after the construction of the ski station (2007) were presented. The analyses of changes in flow accumulation, slope morphometry, and drainage ditches were conducted in the test area. Quantitative analyses were performed using repeated DEMs derived from LiDAR survey and detailed geodetic measurements, complemented by geomorphological mapping done in the field. The study has revealed that the ski infrastructure has not only directly transformed the hillslope by flattening and constructing escarpments (up to 3 m high) but has also created alternating patterns of erosion and accumulation. In the test area, the drainage ditch was poorly designed. It was filled by materials (0.1–0.5 m), and two new outlets formed. The escarpment of the analyzed ski run has been diminished by 0.5 m. An alluvial fan (0.1 to 0.22 m thick) has developed on the flattened surface below the escarpment with drainage ditch outlets. This fan is eroded by subsurface flow that creates a piping system. The gully below the alluvial fan has retreated upslope, accelerated by subsurface erosion. This study enables the presentation of hillslope adjustments and processes in response to the new conditions caused by ski infrastructure. Such results may support more effective land management in regions changed by ski infrastructure.