How Climate Change Will Affect Skiing

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Average projected dates to reach 450hrs of snowmaking – Credit Wobus et al. 2017

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.


Change in ski season by resort – Credit Wobus et al. 2017


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.

Regulated versus Runaway Emissions Effects on Ski Season – Credit Wobus et al. 2017

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. 

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13 thoughts on “How Climate Change Will Affect Skiing

  1. The evidence about climate change is absolutely overwhelming and has been for years.

    Its sad that some people, who love snow, see it as ‘pseudoscience and politics’.

    Climate change is about neither of these things, its simple physics. At this point in the game, choosing denial can only be about politics/ world view, not science (statistically, deniers tend to be older and conservative).

    1. 97% consensus among the scientific community that man made climate change is happening, and you can’t figure out how NOT to post the exact same thing 3 times.

      I’m going to go with the scientists on this one.

  2. Best early snow pack in years everywhere, coldest October and November in years where we live. Blah, blah, blah. Been hearing this since Al Gore in the late 80’s.

  3. Global Warming is such BS. (or is it climate change now that we have record snow packs this season?)

    When I see the ski pros stop taking heli-trips all over the world, maybe I’ll listen.

    But it’s super hypocritical for guys like Jeremy Jones of POW to tell us all that climate change is real while he’s jetting around the world skiing. If you’re going to talk big on global warming, better stop polluting the environment with your helis.

    1. Peter it’s your attitude that is BS. Responses like yours are what continues to stop the world from changing for the better whether global warming is real or not. Cavemen used to wipe with leaves, rocks or maybe not at all. Then we evolved, grew up a little and realized there’s a better way. Don’t be a caveman.

  4. The Earth Is Cooling Down Toward The Next Glacial Period. Skiing Will Be Great for The Next 100,000.00 Years.!!!!

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