The Effect of Global Warming on the Ski Industry

11th October 2018

The world is changing. Global warming is an issue affecting everyone and everything, and unfortunately for us, the ski industry isn’t exempt.

As the world heats up, our winters will become shorter, and we’ll be seeing less snow as the years progress.

Our slopes are facing a significant threat, and those who love skiing should be aware and informed on the potential issues facing our beloved sport.

We’ll be going through the effect of global warming on the ski industry and what it means for the future of skiing:

 

What Does This Mean for the Ski Industry

There are two significant ways the ski industry will be affected by global warming – a lack of snow and much shorter ski seasons.

Lack of Snow

When someone mentions skiing, it tends to conjure up images of snowy mountains – there’s rarely ever any green to be seen.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest effects global warming could have on skiing is the overall reduction in snowfall.

Not only that, but the actual weather patterns may become more unpredictable, meaning even during peak winter season, holiday-goers may find themselves without snow upon arrival.

Snowfall in the Swiss Alps is currently estimated to drop by a staggering 70% before the end of the century if no changes are made.

Shorter Ski Seasons

Another noteworthy effect on skiing will be the shorter winter seasons.

Even if snow coverage was adequate, the actual season could be significantly shorter, resulting in smaller timeframes for people to go skiing.

As mentioned before, the seasons will suffer from delayed starts and early finishes, with skiers unable to accurately predict the actual beginning of the ski season.

Many who end up going during December regardless may be greeted (dependent on which resort they choose) with artificial snow surrounded by masses of green – not really the vision the avid skier has in mind during peak season.

This could have a knock-on effect wherein holiday-goers opt for an alternative destination due to the lack of guaranteed snow.

A wide range of people come to the Alps for a variety of reasons, ranging from corporate ski trips to family holidays – if many of these potential skiers choose not to go skiing, the industry will suffer a significant loss.

 

What Can Be Done to Combat the Effects?

Dependent on the ski resorts, their size and their resources, there are measures which can be taken to combat the effects of climate change.

There are ways skiers can ‘ski green’ to contribute towards the eco-piste revolution, while resorts such as Méribel have already taken steps to address these issues.

What Méribel is Doing

In general, Méribel is doing its best to maintain an eco-friendly environment.

Considered a ‘green’ resort for its various green initiatives, Méribel relies on renewable energy sources for most of its facilities. The resort uses water from the Ariondaz dam to create artificial snow and utilises solar power for its radio communications, to name a few examples.

To further reduce their carbon footprint, the resort offers a free shuttle service to discourage heavy traffic building up in the area, as well as a 20-mile long trail for visitors to use – the trail grants visitors access to both Méribel and Courchevel by foot.

The vehicular alternatives don’t stop there either – the resort boasts a vast network of gondolas and cable cars which interlink the two resorts. If you do choose to use your car, however, there are affordable parking options (with open air parking being free).

These efforts aim at tackling the growing threat of climate change and serve to lower emissions as much as possible, while still maintaining an authentic and positive skiing experience for all visitors.

Other green initiatives, such as a clean-up days and rigorous recycling policies, only help to further maintain the environment we all use and love.

The Three Valleys are already considered a highly prestigious and popular ski area and aim to maintain that reputation by setting an example for other ski areas.

When considering your next ski trip, keep in mind what you can do to contribute towards positive change and ensure a healthy future for the ski industry. This includes choosing the right resort.

There’s no reason why you can’t have a luxury holiday while simultaneously being concerned about the environment. Book yourself a luxury chalet in Méribel and know that your beloved slopes are being well looked after!

Alpine Infusion

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