Study: Climate Changes Hurts Winter Tourism

Dec 7, 2012

Credit Schweitzer Mountain Resort

Warmer winters caused by climate change could make it more difficult to operate ski resorts in the Northwest. That’s according to a new study.

In years with less snow, roughly one-third fewer skiers visited resorts in the Pacific Northwest. And fewer skiers means fewer resort jobs and less money for the winter tourism industry.

A new study by researchers at the University of New Hampshire says these mild winters and poor ski seasons are becoming more common.

Kathleen Goyette is the spokeswoman at White Pass Ski Area in central Washington.

“In order to stay in business in the long-haul, we need to educate [about climate change] not just industry, not just people who are winter sports enthusiasts," Goyette syas.  But the impact clearly is on all people when it comes down to it.”

Study authors say climate change means less snow and more rain at lower-elevations. In the Cascades and Sierra Nevadas, the study says snowpack will decrease up to 70 percent by 2050.