What is it about?
Climate change threatens economies which depend on recreational activities requiring snowfall, like ski resorts and skiing tourism, to generate most of their revenue. One such economy, that of skiing tourism in Utah, is discussed in a 2021 paper. Authors studied temperatures from 1980-2018 for 14 skiing resorts in Utah, which has a booming skiing tourism industry. Minimum daily temperatures across all resorts had increased. Calculations revealed that snowmaking days had also reduced. Many more days with temperatures above -5 °C (the minimum temperature for snowmaking) were reported over the years. Managers of these resorts felt that snow quality and quantity determined the success of a ski season. They have now begun noticing how changing snowfall might affect their business and started introducing adaptation measures. Some resorts now include winter activities other than skiing, or all-season sporting activities like biking and horse riding. Some have begun leasing their space for conferences; others have diversified revenue sources, including spas and restaurants on their premises. Resorts have also adopted strategies like artificial snowmaking, moving to higher altitudes, slope development, and cloud seeding to increase snowfall.
Photo by Chris Biron on Unsplash
Why is it important?
Environmental variability affects snowfall. Utah, for example, is expected to see an additional 2°C rise in winter temperatures by the end of this century. This would shorten its winters and affect the quality and quantity of snow, impacting its ski resorts and tourism. Understanding the nuances of this association could help develop strategies to keep the industry economically viable in the face of climate change. This is crucial for the economy of communities which rely on weather conditions for revenue generation KEY TAKEAWAY: Despite hindrances, the skiing tourism industry in Utah is adapting to climate change. Studying these adaptations, and how the weather affects business in these areas would aid economic resilience.
Read the Original
This page is a summary of: Climate Change and Utah Ski Resorts: Impacts, Perceptions, and Adaptation Strategies, Mountain Research and Development, September 2021, International Mountain Society (IMS) and United Nations University, DOI: 10.1659/mrd-journal-d-20-00065.1.
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