Climate Change

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Global Warming, Weather Weirding, What happens above 350 ppm CO2

The (Snow) Gods Must Be Crazy!

The Gods Must Be Crazy

I've joked around about Ullr and 'the snow gods' more times than I can count. I don't take it seriously, nor do my skiing friends. So, it's no surprise to see a snow sports writer use 'snow gods' in an article. But, I didn't expect a Powder Magazine article about increasing weather volatility and snow droughts to make absolutely no mention of climate change. I was particularly surprised because the article references a '2012 study by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the non-profit organization Protect Our Winters'. That study just happens to be titled Climate Impacts on the Winter Tourism Economy in the United States.

Leave it in the Ground

“That coal has to stay in the ground. You can’t make the math of climate change work if you get the huge coal deposits of the Powder River Basin out and pour them into the atmosphere.”
  — Bill McKibben, author, scholar and environmentalist

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Momenta Film

Mountain Bikes Could Save Ski Resorts

Angel Fire Bike Park

As I write this it is February 6th and 61°F at my home, which is roughly 15°F warmer than average. Given that 2014 was the warmest year on record, what is the fate of ski resorts? While snowfall is becoming less reliable, the mountains are still steep. Mountain Biking is a way to bring warm weather recreation to otherwise quiet mountain resorts.

Melted

Water Over Mountain - March 2014

Winter feels a long way away on the cusp of summer. But sunny warm days can bring dreams of snow in the unlikeliest of seasons. Here is an update of Channing Huser's ongoing "Water Over Mountain" documentary project. Hopefully a little positive visualization will power us through the long hot months until the next snowfall.

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Water Over Mountain - March 2014

SnowCode - Water Over Mountain

The Evolution of Taos Ski Valley

Ernie Blake hiking the Ridge at Taos Ski Valley

After decades of ownership by the Blake family, Taos Ski Valley (TSV) has been purchased by Louis Bacon. This change has left many intensely loyal Taos skiers wondering what is in store for their favorite mountain. While the Taos Ski Valley 2010 Development Plan details future plans there are still unanswered questions. I interviewed Gordon Briner, C.E.O. and Peter Talty, Director of Properties to find out more about the changes in store for Taos Ski Valley.

Back in My Day...

Polar Vortex Comparison - January 5, 2014 to November 14, 2013

...We had to walk uphill, through the snow, both ways to get to school. While I usually laugh at talk like that apparently, You Kids actually don't know what it used to be like. And us older folks are forgetting how cold winter used to be.

Buddha and the Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard (Uncia uncia)

High on the list of exotic places I haven't been yet, but would love to see are Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan, the countries of the Tibetan Plateau. One of the best living symbols of "The Roof of the World" is the Snow Leopard. Due to poaching, loss of prey, and habitat degradation, the snow leopard is listed as endangered by the IUCN.

Less Snow and More Blizzards?

Reduced Future Snowfall - US Map

At first this headline sounds bizarre, but the explanation is pretty simple. More CO2 leads to warmer air which holds more moisture which can produce larger rain and snow storms. While these larger blizzards are more frequent, they don't make up for reduced overall snowfall. This trend is already underway with reduced spring snow cover across the Northern Hemisphere. More blizzards in exchange for fewer snow days is a poor tradeoff whether you ski or not.

What's the Forecast?

Weather Forecast Map

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.

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