What's the Forecast?
As I write, the first winter storm in weeks is forecast for our area. I look up at the mountains and see only thin streaks of white where snow should cover the ground. Snow sports depend heavily on natural snowfall which is becoming less reliable. The environmental shifts from climate change are now having an economic effect. Natural Resources Defense Council and Protect Our Winters created a study detailing how the snow sports industry has already felt the direct impact of decreased winter snowpack and rising average winter temperatures. Adding in climate change spells even more trouble for winter recreation.
For those of us who live and work in the mountains it is clear that the snows we grew up with are no longer the norm. One year brings record snowfall and the next year is warm and dry. Without consistent winter snows, much of the water that the western US depends on for agriculture, industry and residential will dry up. The mountains of the southwest appear even more prone to warming weather and drought.
After you read all that (you can read the Executive Summary at least!) then what? Read The Snow Code and take steps to reduce your carbon footprint. Then ask your favorite ski resort what they are doing to operate more sustainably. There's a lot of work to be done, so let's get moving.
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