Droughts and Its Effects on Ski Resorts

Ski resorts need a significant amount of water to make snow, which unfortunately causes droughts. Ski resorts are struggling to keep up with the demand for snowmaking during the drought that has gripped California and other parts of the West. Without enough water, ski resorts have had to resort to less efficient methods of making snow, which means they are using more energy and creating more pollution as a result. Though, it is not just ski resorts that suffer from a lack of water; it is also the local communities. The ski industry provides jobs for people in resort towns, who are often at the mercy of their governments when it comes to water rights. Without access to adequate amounts of water, these resorts cannot make snow. Although this is discouraging, there are ways ski resorts can still make snow during droughts; with technology such as cloud seeding. Cloud seeding is a process where chemicals are released into clouds to encourage precipitation (rain or snow). This method has been used since the 1940s, but recent advances in technology mean that cloud seeding is now much more effective than ever before.

Many ski resorts rely on reservoirs to store water for snow-making and other needs, but during a drought, the reservoirs can run dry or have trouble keeping up with demand. Many areas have been forced to close early due to lack of water and the inability to open new trails or facilities, due to lack of funds.

In the past few years, several ski areas have had to close due to a lack of snow—and not just because of weather pattern changes. Snowmaking is an important part of making sure that we have enough snow at ski resorts, but there are some environmental consequences associated with it:

-Water is often wasted on artificial snow making instead of being used for other purposes.

-The equipment used for snowmaking uses fossil fuels and creates CO2 emissions.

-The chemicals used in artificial snowmaking can affect the local ecosystem and water quality, especially when they leak into lakes or rivers.


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