Originally Posted by Jamesj
Actually, in a physical/vegetation type sense, the basin side of Snowshoe reminds of lower elevations in Colorado. Similar sort of sub-alpine evergreen type forests.
It is somewhat of a unique micro-climate. Views from Silver Creek are even more scenic, and really remind me of western skiing. From what I am told, the ecosystem of Snowshoe is a remnant of a recent ice-age glacier period, and is reminiscent of what you'd see in the present-day Canadian Maritimes. I bet the Snowshoe basin has some interesting geological/ecological history. Right across the street in the Western territory, it goes back to pure hardwood forests, a marked difference.
Given that the whole area was logged to oblivion, we probably don't know what the real forests looked like at their peak in the 1910s, before the timber boom. I think I read that less than 2% of WV's current forests are original. The native red spruce, if left alone, can get quite big, at 120-150 feet high and a 2-4 feet diameter. Barely any of those big ones remain today. I don't think I have ever seen one taller than 50 feet myself.
Interestingly, the trees you see at Alta UT are all young, having developed after the 1930s. All the previous trees were picked clean when it was a mining town, used for shorings and building materials. History books say the place was much more bare and open when it first started as a ski area.