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A new study by POW Canada board member and University of Waterloo Scientist Dan Scott,  measures the economic impact of climate change on the ski industry in the US (PSSSST…… it’s massive). 

 “The future of the ski industry, if that’s something you care about, is really in our hands and it will play out over the next 10 to 15 years in terms of the policies and actions that we take to reduce emissions,” Scott said.

Key Points from the Study:

  • The report modeled operations at 226 ski areas across 4 US regional ski markets to see what the ski industry could have looked like if post-1970s anthropogenic climate change hadn't happened.
  • The damage already done by anthropogenic climate change to the US ski industry is evident. We are probably past the era of peak ski seasons. Even with advanced snowmaking, average ski seasons in all regional markets are projected to get shorter in the decades ahead under all emission futures.
  • How much shorter is dependent on the ability of all countries and sectors to deliver on emission reduction commitments to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • Since the mid-twentieth century, warming in mountain regions has outpaced the global rate.
  • National direct economic losses associated with lost skier visits and increased snowmaking costs are estimated at US$252 million annually.
  • For the 2050s, regional ski seasons are projected to shorten between 14–33 days (low emissions) and 27–62 days (high emissions). The associated national direct economic losses range from US$657m to $1.35 Billion annually.
  • Compared to the 1960–1979 baseline, average ski seasons in the 2000–2019 period were found to have already shortened by 5.5 days in the Rocky Mountains to 7.1 days in the Pacific region.


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