I know that depending on global warming trends, rising temperatures will cause difficulties in producing base layers of snow for resort and backcountry skiing. This climate change causes both altered snowfall patterns and rising winter temperatures. Artificial snow creation has become a major snow producer at most major resorts to make up for the lack of snow in recent years. In addition to lack of access to skiing for skiers, the resort industry is also greatly suffering from decreasing snowfall. A 2014 New York Times article discusses the effects of lower snowfall on the skiing industry, making the claim that “between 1999 and 2010 low snowfall years have cost the industry $1 billion and up to 27,000 jobs.”
Additionally, many events of the winter Olympics are entirely dependent on snow. Daniel Scott, professor of global change and tourism at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, concluded that “of the 19 cities that have hosted the Winter Olympics, as few as 10 might be cold enough by mid-century to host them again due to a rise in the average global temperature. By 2100, that number shrinks to 6.” This would drastically reduce the availability of hosting cities for these events, affecting the whole culture surrounding ski racing and downhill races. Also, based upon this it wouldn’t be far off to assume that this lowering number of cities suitable for the Olympics could also extend to cities or resorts capable of hosting large public resorts or backcountry areas.
I’d like to know what we can do to help change these predictions and is there anything that we can do to create progress in this field? How will the skiing of the future adapt to varying weather and how will it be different? Moving beyond Utah and its ripe skiing history, what regions of the planet will still have ample amounts of snow decades from now?Tags: Climate Change skiing Snow Utah