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Man vs. Nature

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Great article on the battle some resorts are facing.

 

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2015-03-06/fake-snow-real-money-the-high-tech-fight-to-save-california-skiing

 

Crazy that they only have 200 guns to cover that many acres, we have areas a fraction of that size with as many or more here in the mitten.

post #2 of 16

Great article, thanks. 

post #3 of 16

My home resort, Nubs Nob, has over 280 fan guns and three 12" wells drawing on a near infinite water supply.

The California effort seems doomed.

What we have in excess this winter is cold.

post #4 of 16

Am I the only one who thinks this article is ridiculous?

 

Quote:
 Among the 19 cities that have hosted the winter Olympics—including Calgary, Chamonix, Nagano, and Oslo—the average February temperature is up to 46 degrees, up from 32 in the 1920s

The above quote couldn't possibly be true, right?  The quote is vauge (average over how many years, just one?) but at best it's cherry picked, at worst it's made up completely.

 

The rest of the arguments are contradicted by the author.  For example:

Quote:
 The thing is, on more and more days, you won’t get the real powder you grew up on, the kind of snow that turns ambivalent skiers into die-hards

 

That quote is contradicted by the author's graph showing that snowfall was very bad in 77, then the best ever in 83, then back like 77 this year.  By that logic, 6 years from now will be epic. 

 

The real stats show snowfall has not declined to date.  Don't let some author freak you out with this crap.  This article is designed to shock you even though the facts point to a different conclusion.

 

For a much more level headed analysis of snowfall, see: full_thread

post #5 of 16

It seems a little extreme.

But, it doesn't take much of a temperature shift to turn snowfall into rain and there can be no doubt that global climate patterns are changing.

They always have and they always will.

Man may be helping.

A very important point is that as climatic bands shift the mountains don't move.

After all, 10,000 years ago Michigan was covered by a glacier nearly a mile thick and now it isn't.

post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanvg View Post
 

The above quote couldn't possibly be true, right?  The quote is vauge (average over how many years, just one?) but at best it's cherry picked, at worst it's made up completely.

 

So this is totally unscientific, but out of curiosity I just Googled for the average February high temp in all 19 cities, and took the first results I could find. 

 

Averaging these gave me 37.5 degrees.

post #7 of 16
Regardless of the snowfall or the climate change "debate", the most alarmist is the more factual business financials and the predition that 300 out of 470 remaining resorts may close in a decade.

I think this aspect has been discussed before in other threads and the numbers that # of resorts is downwards is pretty clearcut.

If you take it as just another variable of the inevitable of the business model and evil corporation, it's still intersting that a few bad years of snowfall is the last straw that breaks the resorts back.
In other words the resorts are saying if they had more snow they could've stayed in business-not if vail didnt do x, y, or z, we would be fine.

Same with all the local business. They have signs and chalkboard messages up saying pray for snow. Not pray for a socioeconomic shift that creates a more affluent middle class that goes skiing

Additionally you can't deny the huge amount of money invested in snowmaking. imagine they didn't need to do this and could use all that money and resources to what you want at your resort. What percentage of your lift tix $ is going towards snowmaking? Perhaps a significant chunk
Edited by raytseng - 3/8/15 at 10:58am
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanvg View Post
 

Am I the only one who thinks this article is ridiculous?

 

Quote:
 Among the 19 cities that have hosted the winter Olympics—including Calgary, Chamonix, Nagano, and Oslo—the average February temperature is up to 46 degrees, up from 32 in the 1920s

The above quote couldn't possibly be true, right?  The quote is vauge (average over how many years, just one?) but at best it's cherry picked, at worst it's made up completely.

 

 

Sure it can. Some examples of what's happening. At the hotel we stayed at in Grindelwald there was an early 20th century photograph of the the Eigergletscher (Eiger Glacier) coming to within a few hundred yards of the town. Now the glacier can't be seen from town--its terminus is several miles up a side canyon. In Chamonix the Mer de Glace has fallen hundreds of feet since 1960. In that year a cable car from the glacier to the Montenvers train station was installed. Since then the falling level of the glacier has required the addition of hundreds of feet of stairs between the glacier and the cable car. Periodically the level of the glacier has been marked on the rock walls. Since 2000 the level has fallen about 50-60 feet. About 10 years ago I was hiking in Darwin Canyon and ran into some glaciologists who were comparing the size of the Mendel Glacier with pictures they had from the 1970's. The glacier was a fraction of the size it was 30 years before.

 

Talk about cherry picking--picking out a big snow year like 1983 (2011 was another big one) is a perfect example. We all know climate fluctuates from year to year and there will be big snow years to come. But the overall trend is down and the overall temperature is up. Glaciers are the canaries in the coal mine. They tell you the long term trends in temperature and snowfall and ignore the year to year fluctuations--I'm pretty sure the people of Boston don't believe in global warming right now, and next year it will be cold and snowy somewhere, but the glaciers will keep shrinking . 

 

In California the implications are dire. Most of Europe is generally wet and precipitation is year round and if snow fall turns increasingly to rain it won't have much overall effect on agriculture and cities. In California nearly all of our precipitation falls in the winter. Our reservoirs don't have enough capacity, even when full, to store all the precipitation that falls in the mountains if it falls as rain. We rely on the gradually melting snowpack for most of our water in summer and fall, and we use nearly every drop. Even if we get normal or above normal precipitation global warming will decrease the amount that falls as snow and leave us increasingly thirsty. (The one bright spot--if you can call it that--this year is that the reservoirs have been empty enough to store all the rain that's fallen at the high elevations this winter.) And California faces much more serious issues than whether a rich person's sport survives.

 

If you think the author of the report is deliberately lying, why don't you invest in a California ski resort? I suspect you can pick one up cheap. 

post #9 of 16
The overall trend of snowfall in the U.S. is not down there is no trend. The sky is not falling.
post #10 of 16
Mods can we move this thread to politics where it belong.
post #11 of 16

Nah, there is no problem here.

Don't worry about a thing.

post #12 of 16

Love skiing at Nubs.  Hoped to go again this year but family problems will not allow.  Their snowmaking and grooming is great and it is what every local area should be.

 

Bill

post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by UGASkiDawg View Post

The overall trend of snowfall in the U.S. is not down there is no trend. The sky is not falling.

I believe the article was about California, where the snow line has always been close to the base area of most resorts and where warmer temperatures and higher sun angles have meant relying on very high snowfall to make up for the more rapid melting. Areas at higher latitudes and elevations have less to worry about until the climate warms a lot more.  But not nothing to worry about. 

http://nrmsc.usgs.gov/research/glacier_retreat.htm

Glaciers can retreat due to less snowfall in the accumulation zone, which can be due to less overall precipitation or to warming which raises the lower elevation of the accumulation zone, or due to more rapid melting in the ablation zone due to warming. 

 

Snow accumulation reflects a combination of temperature and precipitation. In the Antarctic snow and ice have accumulated to great (although rapidly diminishing) depths despite the precipitation levels being at desert levels. The Rockies, for the most part, are desert ranges that rely on cold temperatures to maintain the snow pack. 

 

It is unlikely that climate change will affect overall US precipitation, but it will likely affect the distribution of precipitation. If more rain and snow fall on areas that already have plenty, and less on the west and southwest, where water has always been in short supply, than the affects will be dire, even though nation-wide precipitation hasn't changed. While climate science can predict warming temperatures, the magnitude of warming and the effect on precipitation patterns is much less certain. What is certain is that world-wide, our increasingly urban, infrastructure dependent existence is threatened by change. Our nomadic ancestors could follow the water and the game. We can't. This is what happens when you build cities in areas with not enough water.

post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by trailtrimmer View Post
 

Great article on the battle some resorts are facing.

 

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2015-03-06/fake-snow-real-money-the-high-tech-fight-to-save-california-skiing

 

Crazy that they only have 200 guns to cover that many acres, we have areas a fraction of that size with as many or more here in the mitten.


That's the exact place I was thinking of, I knew they were closing in on 300 guns and the majority of the fleet fan guns of their own design.  In fact I'll be there tomorrow, look for the guy in the green head helmet on either race skis or Brahmas and say hi if you are out. :)

And I did post this article to give a bit more insight to the cost and equipment needed to keep a resort or local hill running, not so much as to stir the climate pot.

post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by trailtrimmer View Post
 

...we have areas a fraction of that size with as many or more here in the mitten.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by trailtrimmer View Post
 


That's the exact place I was thinking of, I knew they were closing in on 300 guns and the majority of the fleet fan guns of their own design. 

 

What place is being referred to here? Just curious...

post #16 of 16

That would be Nubs Nob.

Home of the Nubs Gun as invented by Jim Dilworth.

The SMI guns are a pale imitation.

Every winter the Nubs crew builds 8-10 new guns and they are really stacking up.

With the Nub's  gun system at full hump they can draw down the pond while it is being fed by three 12" wells.

They can make enough snow that 70% of the hill can be made skiable from dirt in three days.

Nubs niche is "the best snow in the Midwest" and that ain't BS.

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