Last year was the driest in 1,200 years for California. This widespread drought has had a huge impact on the ski industry, one that contributes $12.2 billion to the U.S. economy according to the NRDC.
Jeremy Jones, an extreme snowboarder, along with many other extreme snowboarders began noticing the effects of climate change on the slopes as early as 2003. This lead to the foundation of “Protect Our Winters,” an organization for professional skiers and snowboarders to lobby Congress on climate change policy and to raise public awareness about human-caused climate change.
However, the broad changes in winter climate does not mean the end for snow sports. Andy Wirth, CEO of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows Ski Resorts, says that “The past four years have been really tough, yet, we’ve not only survived, because of our capital structure, because of our work, we’ve done quite well.” Ski resorts are adapting to the volatility of the seasons by investing in more efficient, automated snow-making systems, by expanding their business to year-round offerings such as mountain biking, community events and weddings, and by joining together with other resorts around the country to sell a collective pass.
Additionally, this past year, El Nino brought massive amounts of much-needed snow to the dry, warm ski slopes and aided in easing some of the ski industry’s deficits. Despite the impacts of climate change, industry executives, like Andy Wirth, remain optimistic about the future of the ski industry and look forward to many more winters of snow sports as resorts continue to adapt to the winter seasons.
To read more click here: http://www.npr.org/2016/01/01/461693346/protectourwinters.org