Naturally, there are concerns over the chemical impact of the ingredients in snowmaking products on the environment. In the case of one particular product called Snomax, which contains proteins from a bacteria, certain fungicidal proteins in the bacteria reportedly retain their activity. The potential effects on the environment and on human health of distributing these proteins through artificial snow are not yet well understood.
But scientists appear to be more concerned about how artificial snow might affect the natural water cycle in the regions where it is produced.
A laundry list of potential effects of artificial snow fall into the category of physical changes to the environment.
To start, artificial snow tends to melt much more slowly than natural snow. This delay can change the normal levels of the water table (see above figure). The water table is the boundary between water-saturated ground and dry ground. Below the water table, the ground is flooded and full of water. In addition, artificial snow can create ice layers on plants and damage them. These effects on the water table and plants have the potential to alter the biodiversity of a local ecosystem.