The Cost Of Climate Change In The Ski Industry

Brian Werner | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Protect Our Winters data, Protect our winters, Environmental Impact on Winters, The Ski Industry Economy, Economic impacts of climate change, climate change and our winters
Ski Blog used data from the Protect Our Winter’s 2018 Economic Report. Credit: Skis.com Blog

Every year The U.S. Ski Industry adds about $23 Billion dollars to the U.S. Economy. Not only is the ski industry important to the economy, but its important to many of us who enjoy skiing and snowboarding as a lifestyle and sport. Climate change and the increase in temperature across the globe directly threatens the ski industry because winter sports depend on snowfall and are extremely environmentally sensitive.

Sierra, Snow Pack, Sierra Snow Pack
Sierra Snow Pack 1879 – 2013 Image: University of California, Berkeley | Research.chance.berkeley.edu

Looking at snow reports and snowpack from the past, it becomes obvious that we are seeing less and less snow and more and more rain during the winter months. This is an extremely important issue because many remote communities depend on snow to attract tourism to their area. The local ski resorts brings in tourism which in return supplies jobs and economic growth to the local communities.

According to Protect Our Winters, a non-profit organization founded by pro snowboarder and environmental advocate Jeremy Jones, we see over $23 billion dollars in total economic value and over 191,000 jobs because of the ski industry.

Broken down:

Colorado alone sees $2.6 Billion in total economic value, and 43,294 employed.

California: $1.2 Billion in total economic value, and 21,093 employed.

Vermont: $595 Million in total economic value, and  10,071 employed.

Working on ski lift, avalanche breaks lift, ski resort employment
Image: Snowbrains | Facebook

Ski operations employ over 75,900 people, restaurant dining employs 31,600, and hotel accommodations employ over 15,200 people throughout the United States. In total, that’s over 6.9 billion dollars in employee wages alone.

These figures are just for the ski industry and do not include all the other industries that rely on snow. If you were to include all winter related activities there is an estimated $72 Billion dollars in economic value and supports an estimated 694,918 jobs. 

Global warming is a large contributor to why we are seeing less snow. As temperatures rise so do snow levels. We must be aware of fossil fuel emissions and move toward more sustainable farming, transportation, and manufacturing.


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