Can Utah’s Ski Industry Survive Climate Change?

The Hinckley Institute Radio Hour  This week, we bring you a forum on the effects of climate change in Utah — and in particular — its effects on Utah’s ski industry.

In 1962, Utah began using the phrase ‘The Greatest Snow on Earth” as an effort to promote tourism for its fairly new skiing industry. And, after an unsuccessful legal challenge from Ringling Bros circus — which for decades had been using the phrase Greatest Show on Earth — Utah adopted the phrase as it’s official state slogan in 1975.

So does Utah, in 2019, still have ‘the Greatest Snow on Earth’?

A variety of factors are cause for concern when it comes to snowfall in Utah’s mountains. Climate scientists say that temperatures are rising in Utah and that we’re also seeing less drier years on average. Meanwhile, University of Utah research has raised the alarm about dust storms from a drying Great Salt Lake — and how that dust can cause snow to melt earlier than usual.

Today, a panel of scientists — and olympic athletes — tackle the question: Can Utah’s Ski Industry Survive Climate Change?

Speaking on the panel: McKenzie Skiles, assistant professor in the University of Utah’s Geography department; Maura Olivos, ecologist and director of the Alta Environmental Center; Leah Lange, a member of the University of Utah’s Nordic Ski Team; Jackie Wiles, two time olympian and member of the U.S. Ski Team; Moderating the discussion is research scientist Dr. Peter Veals, in the University of Utah’s department of Atmospheric Science.

This week’s forum was recorded on February 7th, 2019.

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