In response to the growing effects of climate change on winter recreation, some 108 ski areas from around the United States have joined with 40 other businesses in signing the Climate Declaration, which calls upon federal policymakers to take advantage of the economic opportunities of addressing climate change.
The ski areas join a host of other U.S. businesses, including GM, Nike, North Face and Levi, as well as founding signatory Aspen Snowmass, in calling for the country to begin treating climate change as a major economic opportunity.
“It is obvious that the success of ski business operations depends greatly on climate, which is why we are so invested in programs that keep our slopes sustainable. But our actions alone won’t be enough without strong policies,” said Brent Giles, Chief Sustainability Officer for Powdr Corp of Utah — parent company to Park City Mountain Resort in Utah, Copper Mountain in Colorado and Killington Resort in Vermont. “We welcome legislative and regulatory initiatives that will reduce carbon emissions, incentivize renewable energy development and help improve our resiliency in the future.”
Ski areas in the U.S. employ approximately 160,000 people and generate around $12.2 billion in annual revenue, the announcement says. The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) calculates that visitors to U.S. ski areas spent $5.8 billion at those resorts over the course of the 2011/2012 season. Preliminary figures from the 2012/2013 season show an 11 percent increase in visits year-over-year, to an estimated 56.6 million visits this season.
“The past ski season was a banner year for our guests and for our resort, but we can’t gamble on the weather in an uncertain climate. We have to take action,” said Jerry Blann, President of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming. “Resorts have made tremendous efforts to raise awareness on the issue of climate change and to adjust our operations to reduce carbon emissions and manage resources efficiently. We need Washington to take those strategies seriously through stronger policies.”