Researchers decided to project the consequences of climate change on ski season by using US resorts as a case study. The effects, however, will be felt worldwide.
Ski season is going to be shorter everywhere. Higher elevations will be especially important as trends continue, but all resorts will likely have to increase their reliance on snowmaking machines: but even these require certain conditions to make snow.
If you live or frequent areas where skiing and other snow sports are a focus, you might have observed for yourself a change in conditions. For example, the 2017-2018 season in resorts around Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah was disappointing for a lot of locals, and there were frequent mutters about how the continuation of unreliable winters will affect the economy of an area that has ‘greatest snow on earth’ on its license plates.
However, with higher elevations and a drier climate, ski resorts in the Rocky Mountains will be the least affected by these changes – while resorts in lower elevations, the northwest, and east US will take the biggest hits from warming annual temperatures and more severe and frequent spells of warm/cold fronts. Some resorts may have to close all together.
However, projections are significantly different for emissions that are ‘checked’ (regulated to trends towards less overall emissions) versus ‘runaway’ (continuation of current operations as is, disregard for potential/guaranteed consequences). This essentially means we still have the ability to make a big difference in minimizing the negative effects of our climate in the near future.