Climate Response by the Ski Industry: The Shortcomings of Snowmaking for Australian Resorts
- 813 Downloads
Skier numbers, and revenues for the multi-billion-dollar ski industry, are highly sensitive to snow cover. Previous research projected that under climate change, natural snow cover will become inadequate at 65% of sites in the Australian ski resorts by 2020. Resorts plan to compensate for reduced snowfall through additional snowmaking. For the six main resorts, however, this would require over 700 additional snow guns by 2020, requiring ~US $100 million in capital investment, and 2,500–3,300 ML of water per month, as well as increased energy consumption. This is not practically feasible, especially as less water will be available. Therefore, low altitude ski resorts such as these may not be able to rely on snowmaking even for short-term adaptation to climate change. Instead, they are likely to seek conversion to summer activities and increased property development.
KeywordsClimate change Mountain tourism Environmental sustainability Australian Alps
- ACTEWAGL. 2008. Annual consumption of water in Canberra. http://www.actewagl.com.au/water/facts/annualConsumption.aspx. Accessed August 2008.
- Agrawala, S. 2007. Climate change in the European Alps: Adapting winter tourism and natural hazard management. Paris: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Publications.Google Scholar
- Alpine Resorts Co-coordinating Council. 2007. Victorian Alpine resorts winter 2006 end of season report. Melbourne: Victorian State Government.Google Scholar
- Alpine Resorts Co-coordinating Council. 2008. Victorian Alpine resorts winter 2007 end of season report. Melbourne: Victorian State Government.Google Scholar
- Australian Ski Areas Association. 2008. Press releases. www.asaa.org.au/templates/asa/page/page_standard.php?secID=730. Accessed January–November 2008.
- Buckley, R., N. Sander, C. Ollenburg, and J. Warnken. 2006. Green change inland amenity migration in Australia. In The amenity migrants, ed. L. Moss, 278–294. Oxford: CAB International.Google Scholar
- Department of Sustainability and Environment. 2004. Alpine resorts 2020 strategy. Melbourne: Victorian Government.Google Scholar
- Falls Creek Alpine Resort Management Board. 2007. Annual report 2006. Falls Creek/Melbourne: Falls Creek Alpine Resort Management Board/Victorian State Government.Google Scholar
- Galloway, R.W. 1998. The potential impact of climate change on Australian Ski fields. In Planning for climate change, ed. G.I. Pearman, 428–437. Melbourne: CSIRO.Google Scholar
- Gonseth, C. 2008. Adapting ski area operations to a warmer climate in the Swiss Alps through snowmaking investments and efficiency improvements. PhD thesis, EPF Lausanne. Available as pdf at http://library.epfl.ch/theses/?nr=4139.
- Green, K., and C.M. Pickering. 2002. A scenario for mammal and bird diversity in the Snowy Mountains of Australia in relation to climate change. In Mountain biodiversity: A global assessment, ed. C. Körner, and E.M. Spehn, 239–247. London: Parthenon Publishing.Google Scholar
- Hennessey, K., P. Whetton, I. Smith, J. Bathols, M. Hutchinson, and J. Sharples. 2003. The impact of climate change on snow conditions in mainland Australia. Melbourne: Commonwealth Scientific and Industry Research Organisation, Atmospheric Research Division, 47 pp.Google Scholar
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 2007. Climate change 2007: The physical science basis. Geneva: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 18 pp.Google Scholar
- König, U. 1998. Climate change and the Australian ski industry. In Snow: A natural history; an uncertain future, ed. K. Green, 207–223. Canberra: Australian Alps Liaison Committee.Google Scholar
- Mt Baw Baw Alpine Resort Management Board. 2007. 2006 Annual report. Mt Baw Baw/Melbourne: Mt Baw Baw Alpine Resort Management Board/Victorian State Government.Google Scholar
- Mt Buller and Mount Stirling Alpine Resort Management Board. 2007. Mount Buller and Mount Stirling Alpine Resort Management Board Annual Report 2005–2005. Melbourne: Victorian State Government.Google Scholar
- Mt Hotham Alpine Resort Management Board. 2007. Mt Hotham Alpine Resort Management Board annual report 2005–2006. Melbourne: Victorian State Government.Google Scholar
- National Institute of Economic and Industry Research (NIEIR). 2006. The economic significance of Australian alpine resorts. Melbourne: National Institute of Economic and Industry, 115 pp.Google Scholar
- Nicholls, N. 2005. Climate variability, climate change and the Australian snow season. Australian Meteorological Magazine 54: 177–185.Google Scholar
- Pickering, C.M., and W. Hill. 2003. Ecological change as a result of winter tourism: snow manipulation in the Australian Alps. In Nature-based tourism environment and land management, ed. R. Buckley, C.M. Pickering, and D. Weaver, 137–149. New York: CAB International Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Pickering, C.M., J.G. Castley, and M. Burtt. 2009. Skiing less often in a warmer world: Changes in attitudes of tourists to climate change in an Australian ski resort. Geographical Research. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-5871.2009.00614.x
- Sievänen, T., K. Tervo, M. Neuvonen, E. Pouta, J. Saarinen, and A. Peltonen. 2005. Nature-based tourism, outdoor recreation and adaptation to climate change. FINADAPT Working Paper 11, Finnish Environment Institute Mimeographs 341. Helsinki.Google Scholar
- Vanham, D., S. De Toffel, E. Fleischhacker, and W. Rauch. 2008. Water demand for snowmaking under climate change conditions in an alpine environment. In Managing alpine future, proceedings of the Innsbruck conference, Oct. 15–17, 2007, Innsbruck, 228–234.Google Scholar