As US winters continue to warm, climate change is cutting into the US ski industry, reports Rebecca Jacobson at the PBS Newshour. The 2011-2012 winter season was the fourth warmest on record for the U.S., according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Colorado saw only half its average snowpack, making it the worst ski season in 20 years. A combination of climate change effects – from beetle epidemics caused by warm winters to drought and wildfires in the summers – has changed attractive ski vistas to brown hillsides. University of Colorado snow hydrologist Mark Williams said their climate change models predicted earlier snowmelt and snow loss, but they expected it 30 to 40 years into the future – not now. Many small ski areas in New England fared even worse. New Hampshire’s Campton Ski Area was closed to the public from 2011 until late February of this year, for example. Last winter, the number of skier visits nationwide dropped by 15 percent. An economic impacts report indicates that below average snowfall winters costs the US an average $800 million in lost revenues, and anywhere from 13,000 to 27,000 lost jobs.
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Shrinking Snow Means Steep Slide for Ski Industry