Cameron Wobus ’95, the lead author of a recent study looking at the future of skiing and snowmobiling in the United States, finds that within the century, no matter what climate change policy is enacted, the ski season across the country will be truncated.
While this could lead to the loss of billions of dollars for the industry, the extent of damage will vary depending on whether and by how much greenhouse gas emissions are controlled.
Wobus’s study, published by Global Environmental Change, evaluated five hypothetical climate models under two different scenarios of climate-changing emissions for the years 2050 and 2090.
A takeaway from the study is that the ski industry will do better in the scenario of reduced greenhouse gas emissions versus the one in which emissions remain at high levels. The difference is a matter of “preserving skiing and snowmobiling in the eastern half of the country and losing these activities almost completely by 2090,” according to the report.
Auden Schendler ’92, Aspen’s VP of Sustainability, commented on the study’s findings for Powder magazine. “This study just puts another exclamation point behind what we already knew: that winter is badly threatened. In this case, not in some far-off timeframe, but just around the corner in 2050,” he said.
Wobus earned his PhD in earth science from MIT, and his master’s degree in hydrogeology from Dartmouth College. He majored in geology and economics at Bowdoin.