Good season despite climate change worries

| Print |  Email
The Latest
Thursday, December 13, 2012

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

Letting Go

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

As baby boomers sell their businesses, too many forget the all-important succession plan.


Read more...

4 highlights of the MLS labor deal

The Latest
Wednesday, March 04, 2015
timbersthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

On Wednesday night, a couple days ahead of the 2015 season kickoff, Major League Soccer and the Players Union reached an agreement.


Read more...

Get on the bus!

April 2015
Thursday, March 19, 2015
BY APRIL STREETER

How the private sector can ride the next transit revolution.


Read more...

Downtime with the executive director of Greater Portland Inc.

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015

Janet LaBar, Executive director, Greater Portland Inc.


Read more...

Car Talk

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Everyone knows cell phones and driving are a lethal combination. The risk is especially high for teenage drivers, whose delusions of immortality pose such a threat to us all. Enforcement alas, remains feeble; more promising are pedagogical approaches aimed at getting people to focus on the road, not their devices.


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...

It's a Man's Man's Man's World

May 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Male tech workers speak out on the industry's gender troubles.


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