Good season despite climate change worries

| Print |  Email
Written by Emma H.   
Thursday, December 13, 2012

12.13.12 Thumbnail SkiOregon prides itself on having the longest ski season in the U.S., with November-May openings. But a new report projects climate change will warm winter temperatures 4-10 degrees by the end of the century, threatening the long snow season that allows Oregon's winter sports industry to thrive.

BY EMMA HALL

12.13.12 Blog SkiOregon prides itself on having the longest ski season in the U.S., with November-May openings. But a new report projects climate change will warm winter temperatures 4-10 degrees by the end of the century, threatening the long snow season that allows Oregon's winter tourism to thrive.

The report by the Natural Resources Defense Council and nonprofit Save our Winters says the $12.2 billion U.S. winter tourism industry has lost $1 billion in 38 states in the last decade from diminishing snowfall. It projects that snow depths in the West could decline by 25% to 100% over the next decade. 

Oregon is especially affected by low snowfall. It is one of the most-changed states when it comes to skier visits on high and low snowfall years, with a loss of 31% of visits on low years. 

Last season was one of the hardest for the industry as a whole, as the U.S. saw its weakest snowfall in 20 years. Snowfall in the normally busy holiday season was low, and though it had picked up by mid-January (Mt. Bachelor even got 106 inches in one week), resorts couldn't make up for the loss of the busiest week of the year. “Last season was one of the most challenging in the history of the ski industry,” said Dave Rathbun, Mt. Bachelor’s president and general manager, in a letter to season pass holders.

The slow start to the season led the U.S. snow sports industry to see its worst season since 1991. The Pacific Northwest saw a decline in visits of 5.7% over the strong 2010/2011 season. KGW's Chief Meteorologist Matt Zaffino says 2012/2013 will be a good year for the Northwest snowpack, though not as good as two years ago. An El Nino seemed to be developing in late summer, but it is no longer a threat, Zaffino says. Read his Ski Oregon Season Outlook for more. 

Snow conditions so far:

Mt. Hood Meadows: Mt. Hood has a base snow depth of 48 inches, and was able to open its night skiing last night, Dec. 12.  Average annual snowfall of 430 inches.

Mt. Bachelor: This Bend ski resort has the most snow this season so far, with a total of 115 iches. It has the highest skiable elevation in Oregon and Washington, which contributes to its long season.

Hoodoo: This Central Oregon ski area opened last weekend, but only on Thursdays-Sundays until more snow falls. Current levels are 32.1 inches. 52 inches were predicted for the first weekend of December, but Hoodoo only ended up getting a 17-inch base. It's average annual snowfall is 450 inches.

Skibowl: Not open yet. The first of its seven lifts and tows is set to open this weekend, Dec. 15. It currently has 14 inches to 24 inches of snow. Average annual snowfall is 300-350 inches.

Emma Hall is web editor for Oregon Business.

 

Comments   

 
Guest
0 #1 Exc. Director, Eastern Oregon Visitors Assn.Guest 2012-12-14 18:52:09
Sorry that you missed mentioning the East-side of Oregon. Anthony Lakes ski area is open with a 37 inch base, and truly best opening day powder skiing anyone can remember in the 50 year history.
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Oregon Business expands events portfolio

The Latest
Friday, March 27, 2015
htctfacebookBY OB STAFF

New events series brings magazine to life.


Read more...

Courtside

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Power lunching at the Court Street Dairy Lunch in Salem.


Read more...

Footloose

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Founded 12 years ago, Keen Inc. likes to push the envelope, starting with the debut of the “Newport” closed toe sandal in 2003. Since then, the company has opened a factory on Swan Island and a sleek new headquarters in the Pearl District. The brand’s newest offering, UNEEK, is a sandal made from two woven cords and not much more.


Read more...

The Road to Reinvention

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Damian Smith bets on changing himself — and Portland — through consulting.


Read more...

6 development projects reshaping Bend

The Latest
Thursday, April 09, 2015
bendthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Bend has reclaimed its prerecession title as one of the fastest growing cities in the country.


Read more...

The Health Guru

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Mohan Nair channels a visionary.


Read more...

ZoomCare rolls out new on-demand health clinics

News
Monday, March 02, 2015
zoomcarethumbBY KIM MOORE |  OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Portland-based healthcare provider ZoomCare said it plans to “remake American healthcare” by expanding its on-demand urgent care model to emergency, surgery, dental and primary care, among others.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS