Ski Resort Industry Struggles with Climate Change

Friday, December 14, 2012

Global warming could cause significant portions of the U.S. ski industry to melt away this century.


Resorts from California to Maine are expected to struggle in the coming decades as changes in climate result in less snow falling each winter. The economic losses could amount to $1 billion in revenue and 27,000 jobs.


In the Northeast, more than half of the region’s 103 ski resorts will offer less than 100 days of skiing by 2039, according to an upcoming study by Daniel Scott, director of the Interdisciplinary Center on Climate Change at the University of Waterloo in Ontario.


Some states, such as Connecticut and Massachusetts, may lose all of their ski resorts by then, while New Hampshire could lose more than half. Maine could see six of its 14 resorts close down, while New York could lose 27 of its 36 resorts.


Even the Rockies are expected to suffer dramatic losses of snowfall, due to a seven-degree increase in average winter temperatures by the end of this century. By then, Park City, Utah, as a ski town may be just a memory.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Rising Temperatures Threaten Fundamental Change for Ski Slopes (by Katharine Seelye, New York Times)

Report: Global Warming Hits Utah’s Ski Industry Hard (by Mike Gorrell, Salt Lake Tribune)

Climate Impacts on the Winter Tourism Economy in the United States (by Elizabeth Burakowski and Matthew Magnusson, Natural Resources Defense Council) (pdf)


Leave a comment