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We are often in awe at the breathtaking views and quiet atmosphere that cities in higher elevations give us. However, beneath this attractiveness are a few distinct difficulties for a necessary chore we frequently take for granted: snow management.

Snow removal in high elevations can present unique challenges compared to cities at regular elevations. Some of the key differences may include:

Harsher Weather Conditions:

Cities at higher elevations often experience more extreme weather conditions, including heavier snowfall, stronger winds, and lower temperatures. This is great for ski towns but hard for residents and city personnel responsible for safe passage on roads, sidewalks, and driveways. These harsher weather conditions can complicate snow removal efforts.

Increased Snow Accumulation:

High-elevation cities typically receive heavier snowfall and experience longer periods of snow cover, leading to more significant snow accumulation. Snow totals can be significantly impacted by mountains. The phenomenon known as orographic uplift occurs when air moving toward a mountain is pushed up and beyond the topographic barrier because it is unable to pass through it. When air is driven upwards, it cools, condenses, and forms clouds. If the air is sufficiently wet, precipitation (such as rain or snow) may follow. This requires frequent and intensive snow removal efforts to clear roads and sidewalks.

Altitude-Related Equipment Challenges:

Snow removal equipment used in high-elevation cities may need to be specially designed to function efficiently at higher altitudes. Engines may require adjustments for the reduced oxygen levels, and machinery may need to be adapted to handle the increased workload caused by heavier snowfalls. Brakes are also more likely to be stressed and overheated while traversing steep inclines and declines. This makes caring for snow removal equipment difficult.

Steep Terrain and Slopes:

High-elevation cities often have more challenging terrain, including steep slopes and hilly landscapes, which is great for those Hallmark-type photo shoots but makes snow removal more labor-intensive and requires specialized equipment to handle the unique topography. 

Altitude-Related Safety Concerns:

Working at higher elevations poses additional risks to the health and safety of snow removal crews. The atmosphere grows thinner as you ascend higher. Thus, you acquire less oxygen from breathing in the same volume of air at this height than you would at a lower one. Your body experiences altitude sickness when it cannot adapt to the increased oxygen intake with each breath. And let’s face it: shoveling snow is hard at any altitude. But it can be especially difficult and dangerous at higher altitudes. Altitude sickness and related health issues may affect workers, necessitating specific safety protocols and precautions during snow removal operations. 


Given these differences, snow removal consulting strategies in high-elevation cities need to be more robust, involving specialized equipment, dedicated personnel, and comprehensive planning to effectively manage the challenges posed by the unique geographical and climatic conditions. With careful planning, snow removal in high-altitude regions can accomplished to keep roadways, driveways, and parking lots safe for passengers.

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