Ask someone that works in the ski industry to name the biggest threat to the sector and you will get plenty of answers.
Probably focused on Brexit, the price index, and a potential financial recession.
How many would mention anything about climate change?
Indeed, if there is a genuine existential threat to the ski industry, it is the dramatic rise of the earth’s temperature.
There is no doubt that developments like the imminent Brexit situation pose threats for various aspects of the British economy and, consequently, for the winter sports industry.
But we need to realise that if there is plenty of snow, the resorts, one way or another, will attract visitors.
Without snow though, the industry is facing a fundamental challenge.
The Extent of the Problem
Most people have heard a lot about climatic change and how perilous it is for the ecosystems.
But do they actually grasp the extent of the problem for their personal lives?
Unless we find a way to stabilise, at least, the ever-rising temperature levels, the ski resorts will become, at best, a rare sight across the globe.
You think this picture is a bit… exaggerated? Let us turn to solid facts.
This past February, June and July were the warmest months ever recorded, and the Alps suffered the most.
Summer glaciers in Austria, France and Italy closed for the public earlier than most can remember, and snow and ice started to melt at heights of 4,800 metres – the top of Mont Blanc, which is Western Europe’s highest mountain.
If that’s the case, you may ask, why don’t resorts do something about it?
Actually, they are.
Several resorts have invested or plan to invest in indoor snow slopes and artificial snow cannons.
Tignes ski resort, already has an indoor snow slope under construction, at an altitude of 2,300 metres – obviously in an effort to guarantee year-round skiing, but also prepare for the worst if climate change keeps its momentum.
Seasoned skiers and snowboarders who return year after year to the same resorts have already noticed the signs for several years now.
But you don’t get the vibe that the people who love winter sports are actually aware of the looming danger.
What Can We Do?
Today it is much easier to find ways to minimise your carbon footprint.
From energy-efficient appliances and equipment, to LED lights and recycling, there are plenty of changes we can easily adopt in our everyday life to fight the climatic change.
This shouldn’t be just because of fear for losing our favourite winter sport, but for all its disastrous effects to the planet’s flora and fauna, to the economy, and the lives of millions of people all over the world.
According to a recent study, aviation’s carbon footprint increased by 20% in Europe the last 15 years, and continues to rise by over 4% every year.
Aviation was found to be responsible for approximately 7% of UK’s overall emissions in 2017, and is now expected to be the biggest source of emissions across the country by the middle of the century.
Several surveys have shown that finding alternative means of transportation can help in reducing our personal carbon footprint.
For example, have you ever considered travelling by train to Europe for this year’s skiing break instead of flying?
Many ski resorts across the Alps, including Meribel, Val d’ Isere, Tignes, St Anton and Chamonix are approachable by train, and local authorities strive to minimise waiting – with considerable success.
It is even possible to make it directly from London to the French Alps with Eurostar.
Another option is to travel via Paris, where TGV opens up an array of great skiing destinations.
Needless to say, travelling by train takes a bit more effort, but modern lines have made the journeys very comfortable, the landscapes are unforgettable, and, most importantly, you’ve played your part in protecting the snow for future generations.
We obviously don’t mean you should never fly again.
Just consider alternative means of transportation when planning your next ski holiday abroad.