CR 39:1-9 (2009)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/cr00793

Climate change analogue analysis of ski tourism in the northeastern USA

J. Dawson*, D. Scott, G. McBoyle

Department of Geography and Environmental Management, University of Waterloo, 200 University Ave. West, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada

ABSTRACT: Detrimental impacts of climate change on the international ski tourism industry have been projected in numerous studies. Modeling-based studies project shortened ski seasons and increased snowmaking requirements under warmer temperatures. The present study uses a climate change analogue approach to examine how a wider range of ski area performance indicators were affected by anomalously warm winters in the Northeast region of the USA. The record warm winter of 2001–2002 is representative of projected future average winter climate conditions in the USA Northeast under a high greenhouse gas emission scenario for the 2040–2069 period and was used as one climate change analogue for this analysis. The 1998–1999 ski season was also used as a climate change analogue as it represents the last of 3 consecutive warm winters (1997 to 1999) that are representative of a mid-range emissions scenario projected for the 2040–2069 period. Ski area performance indicators for the 2001–2002 and 1998–1999 analogue years were compared to the climatically normal (based on 1961–1990 means) years of 2000–2001 and 2004–2005. The indicators examined include: ski season length, snowmaking (hours of operation and % energy utilized as a proxy for fuel costs), total skier visits and operating profit (% of total gross fixed assets). The effect of ski season length during the climate change analogue years is compared with modeled effects for the region. The differential vulnerability of small, medium, large and extra-large ski areas was also examined and the greatest economic effects were found among small and extra large ski areas.


KEY WORDS: Ski tourism · Analogue · Climate change · Northeastern USA


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Cite this article as: Dawson J, Scott D, McBoyle G (2009) Climate change analogue analysis of ski tourism in the northeastern USA. Clim Res 39:1-9. https://doi.org/10.3354/cr00793

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