Hot climate delays opening of winter ski season

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BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif .– The first snowfall of the winter season isn’t expected until next weekend, but on Wednesday there was snow on the hill at the Snow Summit Ski Resort in Big Bear.

Justin Kanton said the resort began coating the slopes with artificial snow last week in preparation for Thursday’s opening.


What would you like to know

  • Snow Summit ski resort opened its winter season on December 2
  • Annual snowfall at Big Bear is decreasing year by year and ski resorts like Snow Summit have to rely on snow machines
  • Scientists predict the Sierra’s snowpack could all but disappear in the next 25 years
  • The Sierra’s snowpack may experience what they call “episodic winters with little or no snow” in the years to come

This year, the ski resort opened a bit late compared to its 2020 winter season which opened in mid-November. Kanton said even artificial snow depends on weather conditions.

“We need to have sufficiently low temperatures, low humidity, preferably a little wind like today. Hope mother nature helps us too, ”Kanton said.

Annual snowfall in Big Bear is decreasing year on year, and ski resorts, like Snow Summit, have to rely more on snow machines.

This is just another deleterious impact of climate change.

“From our perspective, artificial snow is more controllable and reliable,” Kanton said.

At the Goldsmiths ski shop, Dallas Goldsmith hopes it’s not the last of their golden years. His family has owned the store successfully since the 1980s.

From now on, they are on track for another busy winter season.

“But when I see [ski resorts in] Denver, Oregon and Utah are not open on time [due to no snow] it’s definitely a red flag in my mind, ”said Goldsmith.

The Sierra snowpack is a major water source for California, but that snowpack could almost disappear over the next 25 years.

Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who work with a number of climate models, have discovered that the Sierra’s snowpack may experience what they call “episodic winters with little or no snow” in the years to come. Additionally, as the drought intensifies, Goldsmith believes there will eventually be less water to make artificial snow, which will eventually affect his results.

“I think we’ll evolve with it, but I think it’s something real,” Goldsmith said.

As the climate continues to change, the ski industry will change too.

“This will affect the entire industry and the way we handle this is what we are looking to resolve now,” Kanton said. Our snow lasts longer.

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