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Winter Sports Under Threat in a Changing Climate

Winter Sports Under Threat from Climate Change


Adapted from a report by Protect Our Winters

In mountain towns across the United States that rely on winter tourism, snow is currency. For snow lovers and the winter sports industry, predictions of a future with warmer winters, reduced snowfall, and shorter snow seasons is inspiring them to innovate, increase their own efforts to address emissions, and speak publicly on the urgent need for action.

A new report, The Economic Contributions of Winter Sports in a Changing Climate examines the economic contribution of winter snow sports tourism to US national and state-level economies. In a 2012 analysis, Protect Our Winters and the Natural Resources Defense Council found that the winter sports tourism industry generates $12.2 billion and 23 million Americans participate in winter sports annually. That study found that changes in the winter season driven by climate change were costing the downhill ski resort industry approximately $1.07 billion in aggregated revenue over high and low snow years over the last decade.

This analysis updates the 2012 study and furthers our understanding of how warming temperatures have impacted the industry since 2001, what the economic value of the industry is today (2015-2016) and what changes we can expect in the future under high and low emissions scenarios.

Taking another look at the changing winter sports tourism sector in America, we find:

  • The winter sports economy is important for the vitality of US mountain communities. This report shows the urgency for the US to deploy solutions to reduce emissions and presents a roadmap for the winter sports industry to take a leading role in advocating for solutions.

  • In the winter season of 2015–2016, more than 20 million people participated in downhill skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling, with a total of 52.8 million skiing and snowboarding days, and 11.6 million snowmobiling days.

  • These snowboarders, skiers and snowmobilers added an estimated $20.3 billion in economic value to the US economy, through spending at ski resorts, hotels, restaurants, bars, grocery stores, and gas stations.

  • We identify a strong positive relationship between skier visits and snow cover and/ or snow water equivalent. During high snow years, our analysis shows increased participation levels in snow sports result in more jobs and added economic value. In low snow years, participation drops, resulting in lost jobs and reduced revenue. The effects of low snow years impact the economy more dramatically than those of high snow years.

  • While skier visits averaged 55.4 million nationally between 2001 and 2016, skier visits during the five highest snow years were 3.8 million higher than the 2001-2016 average and skier visits were 5.5 million lower than average during the five lowest snow years.

  • Low snow years have negative impacts on the economy. We found that the increased skier participation levels in high snow years meant an extra $692.9 million in value added and 11,800 extra jobs compared to the 2001–2016 average. In low snow years, reduced participation decreased value added by over $1 billion and cost 17,400 jobs compared to an average season.

  • Climate change could impact consumer surplus associated with winter recreation, reducing ski visits and per day value perceived by skiers.

  • Ski resorts are improving their sustainability practices and their own emissions while also finding innovative ways to address low-snowfall and adapt their business models.

The winter sports economy is important for the vitality of US mountain communities. This report shows the urgency for the US to deploy solutions to reduce emissions and presents a roadmap for the winter sports industry to take a leading role in advocating for solutions.

Bureau of Land Management strikes out in third attempt to manage off-road vehicles in California desert

Andrea Alday

Unfortunately, BLM’s latest draft closely mirrors prior attempts that a federal court found illegal. The draft plan once again inadequately protects areas with high conservation and cultural values and prioritizes off-road vehicles over other uses.

Outlook for energy and public lands forum, National Press Club March 20

Michael Reinemer

The Wilderness Society will host a discussion for journalists working on energy, environment and climate issues on March 20 at the National Press Club. Panelists will focus on developments and trends from the last year and what that may portend for the year ahead.  

Get your GREEN ON this St. Patrick’s Day!

Bubbles Framed 775x515On Saint Patrick’s Day, Saturday, March 17th, many will ‘Get Their Green On!’  But ‘Getting Your Green On’ is much more than putting a Green Shirt on, drinking some Green Beer, and eating some Corned Beef & Cabbage. Here are some Fun St. Patty’s Day suggestions to try going really 1THING GREEN!




  • EAT GREEN – Organic -Bright Dishes – Locally Grown is always nice! Drop by a local Farmer’s Market. Click here to find one close to you.
  • GO PLANT SOMETHING OUTSIDE – If it’s still too cold to plant, you can plan your Spring Garden. Click here!
  • USE GREEN TRANSPORTATION TO GET AROUND – Parade around on your feet. Public transportation…  whether you’re riding the subway or the bus, fewer drivers on the road means less carbon emissions. Also a great way to plan ahead if you are planning on drinking some adult (organic) beverages.  Saving lives too!
  • WEAR ‘THE GREEN SHIRT’ – made from Organic Cotton. Step up your GREEN ST PATTY’S DAYGAME! Click here!
  • DRINK ORGANIC BEER – Here are some suggestions! 

Find more here: https://greenerideal.com/guides/go-green-st-patricks-day/


13 animals that depend on wildlife refuges to survive

When an animal is listed under the Endangered Species Act, scientists designate some stretches of land as “critical habitat,” meaning they can provide all the shelter, food and other essentials the species needs. Here is our gallery of a few at-risk species that rely on national wildlife refuges as part of that habitat.

Interior gives just 4 days in March for public meetings on Utah monuments

Kate Mackay

A near-midnight release on Friday from the Department of the Interior announced that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will be holding just four public meetings to solicit public input on the ma

A global game changer for energy efficiency investments

A new underwriting and risk assessment standard could help scale up this $1 trillion global market.


National Day of Unplugging

Unplug 775x515TGIF (3/9) is #NationalDayofUnplugging from Sundown Friday (3/9) to Sundown Saturday (3/10) …. put all your devices away and see what you can do for 24 hours without your smart phone, tablet and other devices that keep many of us  plugged in 24/7!  Cilck here for more!

Could you kick it up a notch and unplug it all at home! Making it the ‘Ulitmate Unplugging‘ for yourself & Mama Earth!  Just a thought!
Have a Happy & hopefully less stressful weekend.  If you can’t make it 24 hours, see if you can make one hour. Might surprise yourself. #1THING

Not sure if I can do it either… so no shame throwing will come from me. HR

Interior: Administration wants aggressive timeline for Arctic Refuge drilling

Tim Woody

During a trip to Alaska that included a visit to the North Slope, Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt and Assistant Secretary for Lands and Minerals Joe Balash spoke this morning at a breakfast meeting in Anchorage and expressed the Trump administration’s desire to pursue an a

Friday is #ATXDetourDay

Austin Zilkerpark Dreamstime 775x515With Friday, March 9th being the 1st day / Kick off of SXSW 2018 in ATX, the city is declaring Friday to also be #ATXDetourDay.  To help alleviate some of the traffic in and around downtown ATX, we’re being asked to find another way to work without getting on the roads at the same time w/ everyone else. It’s a #1THING that could keep continuing to make ATX even better, but we’ll take it day by day.

Travel suggestions & alternatives for #ATXDetourDay 

  • Telework. Work from an alternative worksite
  • Flex work hours. If your employment situation allows it, work a non-traditional schedule, such as 7 a.m.-4 p.m. instead of 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Compress your work week. Cut your commute by working fewer days with more hours
  • Bike. Knock out multiple goals at once by incorporating exercise into your commute.
  • Take public transit. Ride the bus or train to work.   Capital Metro’s schedules and trip planner for more information.  Buy tickets from the Capital Metro app.
  • Walk. Find ways to add some legwork to your trip if you can.
  • Carpool. Ride together with coworkers
  • Vanpool. For groups of five or more people, vanpools are a great shared transportation option.
  • Bikepool. Join a cycling group to make your commute more social and active.

Grab all the details here: http://austintexas.gov/ATXDetourDay