Tourism > Winter Recreation Key Questions > What was the motivation for doing the study and for developing a tool for downhill skiing?

What was the motivation for doing the study and for developing a decision-support tool for downhill skiing?

  1. Downhill skiing and snowboarding are a significant winter recreational activities in Michigan. Skiers and snowboarders spent $146 million on trips to Michigan downhill ski areas in 2000-01. This amount of spending supported 3900 jobs. A more complete report regarding the economic significance is available in Stynes and Sun .
  2. Climate change will likely have a significant impact on downhill skiing. In terms of natural snow conditions, lake-effect snowfall, which accounts for nearly half of all natural snow across the Upper Peninsula and western Lower Michigan could be reduced 20-50% by the end of this century. Ski Resorts will likely have to rely more and more on artificial snow.
  3. The economic impacts of climate change on the industry have not been fully addressed. Several studies have (e.g., Scott et al.) discussed the possible impact of climate change on the number of ski days and on artificial snowmaking. However, similar studies have not been conducted for Michigan. Also, previous studies did not focus on economic impacts such as the cost of additional snowmaking. The SkiTool is designed to help ski owners and operators to incorporate weather and climate into their decision-making for both short term and long term planning.

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