Environmental change is undermining winter sports’ very existence

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A warming planet has significant consequences on winter snowpack over the globe, including a long term drying trend for many. That is a worry for winter sports lovers and communities that rely upon snow consistently.

Relatively few comprehend this superior to anything the climate advocacy group known as Protect Our Winters (POW). The group is an association of professional athletes and similarly invested people battling for policy to secure winter sports and mountain communities.

“Increased temperatures are melting away both my sport and my livelihood,” professional ski mountaineer and POW representative Caroline Gliech told the US Senate late last year.

This year has been a prime example of what is getting more common. Snowfall has been horrifying in California this winter. The state-wide snowpack is running far below average to date and there is little alleviation insight before the season closes. This is an obvious comparison with a year ago when California was walloped with above-average snowfall and finished the season 175% of average by April 1.

It’s this variability that leaves many thinking about what the long term trends are showing. If climate science remains constant, this winter whiplash could make many out of business as the low-snow years mount.

Furthermore, Californians are not the only ones.

In the French Pyrenees mountains, one ski resort utilized helicopters to fly in the snow to make sure they could remain open after weeks of above-average temperatures and little snowfall.

Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Opinion Bulletin journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.

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