Study Reveals Climate Change has Cost U.S. Ski Industry Billions, Future Hinges on Emission Control


Alright skiers, this one’s for you. Climate change has cost US ski areas $5 billion from 2000 to 2019 and this bill could rise up to $1 billion yearly by the 2050s if we don’t slash emissions, according to a chilling new study. We’re talking shorter ski seasons, higher operating costs, and a potentially soggy future for our beloved winter sports. So, if you love hitting the slopes, it’s time to care about reducing emissions – it’s a downhill race we need to win!

Climate Change Impacts on U.S. Ski Areas

Climate change cost U.S. ski areas $5 billion from 2000 to 2019 and could incur around $1 billion annually in the 2050s, according to a new study. Warm weather patterns linked with global warming have disrupted winter recreation across North America and Europe, impacting activities like the 250-mile dog sled race in Maine and forcing areas in Minnesota to open golf courses early.

Climate Change Affects Winter Sports

Climate change has led to shorter ski seasons in the Northeast, Midwest, Rocky Mountain, and Pacific West, with an average reduction of 5.5 to 7.1 days, despite snowmaking efforts. A report published in Current Issues in Tourism suggests that without emissions reduction, the U.S. ski industry could see seasons shortened by 14 to 33 days in the 2050s. Unfortunately, the problem is not in the future but is happening now.

Global Warming and its Economic Impact

An increased operating cost for snowmaking and lost skier revenue contributed to the economic losses. Furthermore, the study does not include the loss of money that skiers spend on goods and services in winter sport communities. The data suggests that the ski industry, much like the rest of the world, needs to transition away from fossil fuels that are heating the planet to dangerous levels. However, there are no concrete targets set for this transition.

Future of the Ski Industry

With climate change, the quality of the snow that does fall could decline, potentially changing skier behavior. Skiing might not be an option with poor conditions, leading people to try other sports like mountain biking. Although snowmaking could be a temporary solution, it can only go so far with the warming planet. The implications of these impacts are that the era of peak ski seasons has likely passed.

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