Ski Resorts Are Being Threatened by Climate Change

Ipatov /
Ipatov /

If you haven’t heard, climate change is ruining our planet. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few decades, this has been a line trotted out with frequent consistency for a while now. Indeed, more than a few politicians have made an entire career based on it.

As I’m sure you are well aware, it’s currently being used because we all need to trade in our gas-guzzling cars and trucks for electric ones. It’s why Democratic President Joe Biden wants us to stop using gas stoves in our homes.

As I’m sure you are aware, most of the arguments surrounding global warming and the whole climate change thing are a bit exaggerated. I mean, according to world records, temps now are only, on average, about 1 degree Fahrenheit or so higher than they were 100 years ago.

Naturally, this means that all this talk about the earth being swallowed up by our oceans and such is a bit far-reaching, or at the very least, a very long way off.

However, there is one industry in which global warming is a very real and actual concern.

Ski resorts worldwide are indeed seeing some rather disparaging changes, and yes, most of them are due to rising temperatures.

Take the Swiss village and Alpine resort of Anzère, for example. Noted as one of the world’s greenest ski resorts by far, even this beauty is experiencing winter temperatures quite a bit higher than average. And, naturally, that’s posing a large problem in maintaining operations as usual.

Data from the area shows that temperatures actually reached around 70 degrees Fahrenheit over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. As the resort’s director of tourism, Stephanie Dijkman, noted, “Nearly all the snow in the village was gone.”

And as you know, a ski resort without snow isn’t much good for anything.

Luckily for the resort, the snows did return in early January, just as what Dijkman calls “real skiing fans” began arriving. But the warmer temps and, therefore, higher amounts of rainfall instead of snow are still a concern.

According to Marie Cavitte, a glaciologist and climate researcher at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, records show less snow each year. At lower altitude resorts like Anzère, the annual depth of snow is shrinking by about 1.2 to 1.6 inches every ten years.

Now, that might not sound like a lot to you and me. But to those owning and operating these resorts, such amounts could be the difference between days or even weeks being cut from their winter ski seasons.

As the BBC noted, the issues have forced most ski resorts to consider one of two options. Either they will have to shutter their doors as temps rise. Or they will have to plan for a future without so much snow.

For the latter, it means investing in things like bike and hiking trails, climbing routes, and anything else the resorts can think to highlight as an attraction. It also means considering opening up in the summer months to add additional revenue.

If you’re anything like me, you might have just assumed that should there be a lack of snow, such resorts would just bring in a few snow machines and make their own, right? But as I’m sure you can imagine, this is a bit controversial for most resorts.

I mean, here they are, seeing the results of a warming world firsthand and most believing that our carbon footprint on the earth is why we are experiencing such. And yet, they are going to bring in massive machines that use fossil fuels, not to mention millions of gallons of much-needed water for local communities, just to create more snow for their high-paying customers?
It’s like Biden balking about how many people drive gas powered vehicles and then having a caravan of more than thirty cars to ensure he gets somewhere safely.

As I said, it’s quite controversial.

In any case, whether you believe all the hype about global warming or not, one thing is for sure, ski resorts are looking to be a dying breed.