A slate roof without snow guards is like playing football without pads. Snow and ice can be very damaging to slate roofs and gutters, not to mention shrubs and glass tables. While snow guards wont eliminate damage in every circumstance, when properly selected and installed, they will lessen potential damage. Snow and falling ice from roofs is also a serious safety risk. Years agos, snow and ice would cascade off of the roofs at Belvedere Market, creating a treacherous situation for anyone walking below. That problem was solved by the installation of snow guards. Some people call them "snow birds" after a specific snow guard design, but whatever you call them, they are an important component in keeping damage to a minimum.