Ski Economies by WNYC

As the Earth warms, stable conditions for winter sports that depend on ice and snow aren’t a guarantee. Steady snow might come later than usual and spring warming means snowpacks are melting faster.

A business-as-usual path to a warming planet impacts industries beyond fossil fuels. At this point, there are about as many jobs in coal mining as there are jobs at snow-sports facilities.

Between 2001 and 2016, the years with the best conditions for skiing in the US saw visitations to ski areas reach levels 7% higher than typical years. But in years with the worst conditions visits were 9% lower.

Jobs in coal mining have decreased dramatically since the 1990s. Meanwhile, jobs at skiing facilities steadily increased until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. For ski resorts and other snow-dependent businesses, the question is now if they can continue to be successful despite global warming, or if they’ll need to change course altogether.