Can You Imagine A
World With No Skiing

Can you imagine a world with no skiing? At the rate the world is warming, scientists believe it will only be a matter of time before our beloved sport will be no more.

Downhill skiing could become an increasingly exotic sport if we stay on the path we are on. According to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Climate and based on data from the federally funded North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program, they say by mid-century, the U.S. could see 90 fewer days below freezing each year.  It is also said that nearly all ski areas in the U.S. are projected to have at least a 50% shorter season by 2050, according to a 2017 study funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and published in the Global Environmental Change Journal.  With the snow lines climbing, it wont take long before resorts below 1,700 meters will be at risk. A report from the French Court of Audits released in 2018, found that in the Alps alone, more than 70% of resorts fall below this measurement. 

To put it into perspective, the top of Whistler Mountain sits at 2,183 meters and Pig Alley sits at 1,660 leaving over half the mountain under 1,700 meters.  The numbers are, frankly, alarming! Aspen already gets a month less of skiing than it did in the 1940s, with snow levels across Colorado having receded by 20 to 60 percent.

“If drastic action isn’t taken, the Environmental Protection Agency warns that the standard ski season will be halved by 2050”.

Whistler Blackcomb Mountain

Climate Change and Ski Resorts in the Future

According to new research put out by the University of British Columbia, the study, which uses historical data and model projections, forecasts that more than 90% of western resorts will have ski seasons shorter than 120 days by 2085 if countries don’t curb greenhouse gas emissions.  This is because the world is heating up at an alarming rate and we all know that ski resorts need two ingredients for a good season: freezing temperatures and a healthy dose of precipitation. If the temperatures are too high, we won’t get snow leaving a green hill with nowhere to play.

The latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) AR6 climate model predication for Whistler in the years 2050 – 2080 shows that if we achieve the Paris Agreement, we will limit global warming by +1.5C but on the estimated current trajectory for the world, we are looking at a +2.5C increase which means we will not be skiing a couple of decades from now. We need to start acting now in order to save our ski towns all over the world.

If the world can work together and hit the Paris Agreement, SSP1-2.6, we will limit global warming to +1.5C but if we stay on our current trajectory, SSP2 – 4.5, (*SSP = Shared Socioeconomic Pathway) we are looking at a +2.5C which will mean that Whistler will be expected to experience a further winter mean temperature increase of an additional 2.2C by year 2080. Click here to learn more about the Five Futures Decoded.

Limiting Our Carbon Footprint

One thing we can do to limit our carbon footprint is stopping the use of fossil fuels and non-renewable resources. We need to get creative and start using what we have to power our homes as well as our resorts. There are quite a few ski resorts in America that have taken environmental initiatives to try and wipe out their carbon footprint. One resort has built its own wind turbine which provides 2/3 of the resort’s total electrical needs while another resort is powering their snowmaking operation through solar arrays. In New Mexico, there is a resort that is converting 80% of their food waste into organic compost for local farmers.

Whistler Blackcomb

“By building passive houses, you are using 90% less energy to heat and cool your home and are incorporating renewable energy”

Whistler Blackcomb is doing their part as well by working towards a zero-operating footprint. The Fitzsimmons Creek Hydro project built in 2010 uses river power to offset their annual demand for electricity and even returns some back into the grid and they have also reduced their waste by 70% but they still have a way to go to get to net zero. We need to make changes now to not only preserve skiing for future generations but so we can keep living in the world without it becoming too hot to inhabit.

With changes we can definitely make it happen, but we need to start those changes now. We need to stop using fossil fuels, recycle more, consume less and be a solution to less carbon emissions. Building sustainable homes, buildings, and offices are definitely a step in the right direction. By building passive houses, you are using 90% less energy to heat and cool your home and are incorporating renewable energy. We all need to take small steps to get to the bigger goal because after all, Mother Earth depends on us.

At GNAR Inc we are passionate about creating sustainable homes, let us know how we can help you bring your dream house to life.  Call us at 604.962.1611 or email for more information.