The growing effect of global climate change has been the worry of many ski resorts in Utah and other regions whose industry is based off of the large snow precipitation levels which attract tourism from all around the world.
These higher temperatures have the ability to cause shorter winters and end ski seasons sooner which not only affect the ski industry in relation to tourism but also the locals who live in Utah and have made skiing and snowboarding a large part of their lives.
A recent scientific report called “Climate Change and Utah,” which consisted of scientists from the University of Utah, Utah State University, Brigham Young University, and the United States Department of Agriculture found definite climate changes that have largely caused the length of winters to decrease and heat waves to increase.
Based off this scientific report, there has been an overall increase of 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit in the past 100 years and is expected to grow 3-7 degrees Fahrenheit in the next 100 years. It is also stated that not only 11 of the 12 past years have been the warmest since 1850 but spring precipitation is more consistently rain than snow. This directly relates to shortening the ski seasons not only in Utah but all around the world.
Winter recreations have taken notice and are frightened that these changes may cause a death to their industries. To what degree has this awareness reached the community in Utah and other local areas facing the same problem?
Ali French, an avid snowboarder in Utah who has had a seasonal pass to Snowbird for four years in a row described her one concern. “I love snowboarding with a passion. It has become my life. I had always hoped to be able to share my love of this hobby with my future children one day, as they will teach it to their children also. To think that this may only be a dream because of the dissipation of snow levels scares me. I just do not know what to do,” she said.
The concern of the falling winter recreations industry has created a more proactive approach. Well-known ski resorts such as Mammoth Valley, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadow, Aspen/Snowmass, Snowbird, Alta, and Jackson Hole have joined a proactive advocacy group called Protect Our Winters. The goal is to create political awareness and to save the industry for the future.
New positive change has been shown to the skiing community and the winter recreation communities by the announcement of reform by the Obama administration. The goal is to reduce carbon dioxide emission by 17 percent by 2020 by putting a cap on the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that are allowed by coal-fired power plants.
Fred Krupp, President of the Environmental Defense Fund, describes the potential positive outcomes of this reform. “Cleaner power generation will protect our children from dangerous smog, extreme weather, and other serious climate impacts, and ensure that America leads the world in the race to develop cleaner, safer power technologies,” said Krupp.
In summary, the fast rising temperatures have generated concern for not only our current generation but the future of our next generations to come. Time can only tell in a scenario such as this on whether the reforms have happened soon enough before the skiing communities and industry face a significant fall due to global warming. Hope has been brought by Obama’s reform in saving our world’s future in regards to climate changes and overall health.