The Environment

Climate Change Study Suggests Skiing In The Alps Could Be Impossible Within 80 Years

Alarming report by the Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research illustrates potential impact of global warming.

A vision of the future? (Photo via iStock).

“Grandad,” they’ll say, “What’s skiing?”

And Grandad will look at his grandchildren, with tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat, and be unable to speak of it for the pain of its extinction will be simply too much for his wounded heart to take.

“Oh sweet, sweet, child of summer,” he’ll say, “Tis but a memory now.”

The year is 2097, and skiing/snowboarding has gone the way of the dinosaurs. It’s done. Dusted. Finished. Finito. Skiing and snowboarding has passed into myth, into legend. Fading from view like an untethered boat on a strong ocean current, only the old now remember it.

Photo: iStock.

A bleak dystopian fiction, or a window into the future?

If recent research is anything to go by, it looks like skiing at many resorts in the Alps will be completely impossible in about 80 years or so. Academics have reported that seasonal snowfall could have dropped by up to 70% by 2100, if global temperatures continue to increase at current rates.

This depressing scenario means that only the very highest ski resorts, with slopes above 2,500 metres would get anywhere near enough snow to remain open. Needless to say, the findings make for some alarming reading for anyone passionate about snow sports.


Image via iStock.

The study, published in The Cryosphere, comes after a bad start to the 2016/2017 ski season with many Alpine resorts finding themselves desperately short of snow during December.

Recent snowfall has seen conditions in European ski resorts massively improve, but scientists from the Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research in Switzerland are warning that disappointing starts to the season could soon become the norm rather than the exception.

Sebastian Schlögl, one of the study’s authors and a researcher at the Institute, said: “Since many Alpine villages are heavily dependent on winter tourism, the economy and society of regions with such tourism centres will suffer.”

This scene could be a thing of the past if global warming trends continue (Photo via iStock).

Even if global warming is restricted to a 2° C temperature increase, it is thought that snow cover would still fall by as much as 30% by the end of this century. The winter season would also start a month later than it does currently.

With Donald Trump continue to deny the reality of climate change, it has never been more important to do what we can to help the environment in these trying times. Reports such as this one highlight how vitally important it is that we do something, before it’s too late.

Let’s not have future grandparents having to explain why skiing isn’t a thing anymore.

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