Quote = crgildart:
As mentioned, tall the snowfall in the world doesn't matter if the temps before and after the storms are too warm to preserve the base or make more snow.
I'm not buying that an average temperature difference of 1 degree (1970's vs. now) makes a material difference in how fast a given level of snowpack melts out. Quoting anecdotal horror stories from this year doesn't cut it when just ONE YEAR AGO the Northeast had an anomalous season in the opposite direction where the snow preserved through winter practically as well as it does in Colorado.
The "make more snow" goes back to the 3-5 fewer days of below freezing temperatures observed in northern New England. Maybe that number is different in more marginal regions and maybe it will get worse with future warming, but in terms of a degrading of ski quality since the 1970's, I'm not buying that either given the offset from improved snowmaking technology.
Both of the above are reinforced by temperatures being fairly flat from 2000-2014. The temperature breakout in 2015 COULD result in impacts we have not seen before, but we need to see a series of ski seasons at this level before drawing conclusions.
The danger to skiing from temperature increase comes primarily from a rise in the rain/snow line. Here too it takes a lot of data to see a trend due to volatility. There are some signs on the West Coast of a higher rain/snow line since the 1970's but so far it's a modest change.
Originally Posted by DanoT
The simple answer is population. How many millions of skiers live within a 2 or 3 hour drive from Jay or Killington vs how many thousands of skiers live within a few hours of Wolf. It turns out that you need paying customers to show up to make money and stay open.
+1 You can't support skiing past mid-April without a large drive-up population base. Sometimes there are advantages to living in a metropolis like L.A.