Climate Change Vulnerability of the US Northeast Winter Recreation - Tourism SectorAcademic Article, Article June 2008 Geographic Focus: Northeast United States Winter recreation is an important part of the cultural identity of the Northeast United States and is a multi-billion dollar contributor to the regional economy. This study examined the vulnerability of the two largest winter recreation industries, snowmobiling and alpine skiing, to four climate change scenarios for the 21st century. Under all scenarios, natural snow became an increasingly scarce resource. The diminished natural snow pack had a very negative impact on the snowmobile industry. As early as 2010-2039, four-to-six of the 15 snowmobile study areas were projected to lose more than half of the current season. Reliable snowmobile seasons (>50 days) were virtually eliminated in the region under the A1Fi scenarios by 2070-2099. The large investment in snowmaking substantially reduced the vulnerability of the ski industry and climate change posed a risk to only four of the 14 ski areas in 2010-2039, where average ski seasons declined below 100 days and the probability of being open for the entire Christmas-New Year’s holiday declined below 75%. Conversely, by 2070-2099 only four ski study areas had not reached these same economic risk criteria. In order to minimize ski season losses, snowmaking requirements are projected to increase substantially, raising important uncertainties about water availability and cost. Climate change represents a notable threat to the winter recreation sector in the Northeast, and the potential economic ramifications for businesses and communities heavily invested in winter tourism and related real estate is sizeable.
Authors: Scott, Daniel ; Dawson, Jackie ; Jones, Brenda Published In: Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change Restriction: Must subscribe to Journal Digital Object Identifier (Doi): 10.1007/s11027-007-9136-z Volume: 13 Issue: 5-6 Keywords: climate change; skiing; snowmaking; snowmobiling; winter sports Subject Areas: economic impacts ; recreation ; tourism ; vulnerability Pages: p. 577 - 596