Tag: ski industry

Forest Services tries to cover its tracks on Wolf Creek

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A controversial plan to develop private real estate near Wolf Creek Ski Area is on hold for now.

Paper trail shows agency hid and likely destroyed records related to controversial development proposal in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains

Staff Report

Environmental and community activists opposed to a massive real estate development in southern Colorado say they have new evidence that the U.S. Forest Service tried to cover up how political influence tainted several steps of the approval process for the project.

A review of more than 60,000 pages documents obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request and a subsequent court order shows that the Forest Service deliberately concealed and destroyed records related to the Village at Wolf Creek development project. Continue reading “Forest Services tries to cover its tracks on Wolf Creek”

Study shows differences between ‘graded’ and ‘cleared’ ski trails

‘We’re in this time of visible climate change …’

Land recovery after a ski slope is abandoned can be starkly different depending on how it was constructed. The graded run, left, was abandoned 13 years before with little sign of new vegetation. The cleared run, right, was abandoned 10 years before and plant life is abundant.
Land recovery after a ski slope is abandoned can be starkly different depending on how it was constructed. The graded run, left, was abandoned 13 years before with little sign of new vegetation. The cleared run, right, was abandoned 10 years before and plant life is abundant. Photo courtesy Andrew Burt/Jessica Hite.

Staff Report

Ski resorts around the West like to brag about their size in terms of skiable acreage, but what they don’t tell you is that, trails that are graded with bulldozers don’t recover well if the ski area is abandoned.

Trails that are merely cleared, with runs and some ground cover left in place, however, tend to grow back relatively quickly to blend in with the surrounding forest areas, according to a study published this month the Journal of Applied Ecology.

The findings have implications for land managers, especially winter sports experts with the U.S. Forest Service, who administer the public lands where much of the region’s skiing takes place. Continue reading “Study shows differences between ‘graded’ and ‘cleared’ ski trails”

Snowriders rally for climate action in Paris

Pure A-Basin powder.
Powder snow could be in short supply as global temperatures soar. @bberwyn photo.

“A lot to lose …’

Staff Report

The economic woes of ski and mountain resort towns may pale against the existential concerns flood-prone coastal communities and low-lying island nations, but global warming is still a big issue for the snow sports industry.

This weekend, a special panel will meet in Paris to outline how climate change has begun to impact the snowsports and mountain world. The group includes Aspen Mayor Steve Skadron, Rossignol CEO Bruno Cercley, Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune and Olympic gold medalist Seth Wescott, as well as  Climate researcher Elizabeth Burakowski, who helped track climate change impacts to the snowsports industry in a 2012 study. Continue reading “Snowriders rally for climate action in Paris”

Climate: Skiers rally to support EPA Clean Power Plan

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Powder is in peril, so skiers and ski areas are rallying to support the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

Numerous resorts sign on to letter calling for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions

Staff Report

FRISCO — With so much at stake around the world, it seems almost frivolous to talk about how global warming might affect the ski industry. But in some parts of the world, skiing is central to the culture of mountain communities, so it’s not surprising that skiers and their allies are rallying to support the EPA proposal to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

As the comment period on the agency’s Clean Power Plan closed, more than 115 snow and mountain supporters across the country including ski areas, local businesses, professional winter sports athletes, local governments, and organizations signed letters supporting the plan. Continue reading “Climate: Skiers rally to support EPA Clean Power Plan”

October heat wave delays start of Colorado ski season

Snow guns silent in late October as temps run 15 degrees above average

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2014 on track to become warmest year ever.
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How will the ski industry weather global warming?

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO —Last year’s winter Olympics helped cast a spotlight on global warming and the ski industry. As the snow at Sochi’s alpine venues visibly melted during the live television coverage of the games, winter sports athletes advocated for action on climate change.

Now, just a few months later, some of those same ski racers who had planned early season training sessions at Copper Mountain, Colorado will have to wait. A run of extraordinarily warm temperatures in October all but silenced industrial snowmaking operations at several resorts, as both Copper and Keystone delayed scheduled openings because of the balmy conditions. Continue reading “October heat wave delays start of Colorado ski season”

Can Squaw Valley slow the development juggernaut?

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Legendary Squaw Valley, California.

Resort residents want to form town to exert more control over land use

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — The never-ending ski town battle between local residents and corporate interests has morphed into a new form at historic Squaw Valley. Residents are on a quest to incorporate a new town, to be called Olympic Valley, and they’re crowdsourcing for financial support on indiegogo.com.

Using web-based social networks may be a new twist, but many of the issues are the same that affect many other mountain communities, as real estate exploitation and environmental degradation threaten the very values that made those towns so appealing to begin with. Continue reading “Can Squaw Valley slow the development juggernaut?”

Global warming: Winter at risk?

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Global warming means fewer powder days and shorter ski seasons. bberwyn photo.

Snow sports enthusiasts want limits on power plant greenhouse gas emissions

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Watching the snow in the Caucasus Mountains around Sochi melt away at an alarming rate during the middle of the Winter Olympics was a sobering reminder of what global warming could mean for the future of winter sports.

Already, winters in some parts of the world are several weeks shorter, with much higher average temperatures, than just a few decades ago. some ski areas in the lower elevations of the European Alps have already shut down, and in Scandinavia, where skiing is not just recreation but part of the cultural fabric, winters have warmed significantly.

“When it comes to the future of winter sports, global warming has us skating on thin ice,” said Anneli Berube, a field organizer with Environment Colorado, which teamed up with Snowriders International to release a summary of how climate change will affect winter, including increased rate of snow melt, shorter winters, drought, and a shrinking map of reliable sites for future winter Olympics. Continue reading “Global warming: Winter at risk?”