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Impacts of climate change on ski industry


Ski industry has become one of the main economic activity for many mountain regions worldwide. However, the economic viability of this activity is highly dependent of the interannual variability of the snow and climatic conditions, and it is jeopardized by climate warming. In this study we reviewed the main scientific literature on the relationship between climate change and the ski feasibility under different climate change scenarios. In spite of the different methodologies and climate change scenarios used in the reviewed studies, their findings generally point to a significant impact of climate change on ski industry caused by a reduction in the natural availability of snow as well as a contractionin the duration of seasonal conditions suitable for ski. It emphasizes that the problem is real and should not be ignored in the study and management of tourism in mountain regions. However, there were significant differences in the impacts between different areas. These differences are mainly associated to the elevation of the ski resorts, their infrastructures for snowmaking and the various climate models, emission scenarios, time horizons and scales of analysis used.

This review highlights the necessity from scientist to harmonize indicators and methodology thus allowing a better comparison of the results from different studies and increase the clarity of the conclusions transmitted to land managers and policy makers. Moreover, a better integration of the uncertainty in the model ́s outputs, as well as the treatment applied to the snowpack in ski slopes is necessary to provide more accurate indications on how this sector will respond to climate change.

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Published in Climate-ADAPT Mar 01 2019   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Sep 10 2022

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