CR 43:251-262 (2010)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/cr00941

The impact of climate change on ski season length and snowmaking requirements in Tyrol, Austria

Robert Steiger*

Institute of Geography, University of Innsbruck, Innrain 52, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

ABSTRACT: In this paper, the development and validation of a ski season simulation model (SkiSim 2.0) is described and results of the climate change assessment for 3 ski areas in Tyrol, Austria, are presented. The results of the validation process suggest that SkiSim 2.0 is an appropriate tool to simulate ski season lengths and snowmaking requirements at different altitudes and in different climatic subregions of the study area. Climate change impacts on ski season length are considerably less when incorporating snowmaking. All 3 modelled ski areas remain snow reliable until the 2040s (A1B) to the 2050s (B1). By then, current snowmaking technology has reached its technological limits. The required snow volume until the end of the century is projected to increase by up to 330%. Although snowmaking is a suitable adaptation strategy for the next decades, it is unlikely to be a sustainable adaptation strategy beyond the middle of the century. Besides altitude, local climate characteristics clearly influence ski season length, requiring the use of localized climate data. A comprehensive study of the research area, modelling all ski areas, is needed to assess the vulnerability of the ski marketplace in Tyrol.


KEY WORDS: Climate change impacts · Ski season length · Snowmaking · Tyrol · Austria


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Cite this article as: Steiger R (2010) The impact of climate change on ski season length and snowmaking requirements in Tyrol, Austria. Clim Res 43:251-262. https://doi.org/10.3354/cr00941

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