This project assessed the potential impacts of climate variability and change on winter sports and state parks in Michigan. Researchers interacted directly with the winter sports industry and state park managers to identify vulnerabilities and options for adaptation.
The downhill ski sector has received a great deal of interest in its perception and response to climate change, due likely to the economic importance and popularity of this activity, and the especially significant implications of warming conditions for its feasibility. The majority of ski-related studies have focused on the implications of changing snow cover, lower snow reliability, fewer skiable days, and the use of snow-making as a form of adaptation has also been investigated.
Less emphasis has been placed on the human dimensions of this topic, including alterations to visitor preferences and public awareness about climate change. There is also a lack of material focusing on the implications of climate change for individual elements of the recreation and tourism industry. Few studies have assessed the industry’s awareness and understanding of climate change and its likely implications for their businesses or sites.
In an effort to improve the ski sector’s awareness of climate change, and in order to provide useful and relevant information to members of the recreation and tourism sector, this report provides an assessment of the impacts, vulnerabilities, and adaptation barriers to climate change within the ski sector in Michigan.