Snowmaking as an adaptation strategy in ski resorts – avoiding maladaptation by a climate service

Theme 1. Environmental protection
Session Name 1.7 Arctic tourism and global change
Datetime Sep 05, 2018 04:35 PM - 04:55 PM (UTC +3)
Location IT113
Presentation Type Oral
Presenter Ilona Mettiäinen
Author(s) Ilona Mettiäinen (Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, Finland), Martin Coath (Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, Finland), Roxana Contreras (Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, Finland), Jusu Toivonen (Rukakeskus Ltd., Finland)
Abstract text

Skiing industry is an important branch of winter tourism. Climate change is expected to decrease snow cover days in Northern Scandinavia by 20 – 30 % particularly in the beginning of the potential skiing season. As winter tourism industry relies heavily on climatic conditions for economically successful operation, Haanpää et al. (2015) consider downhill skiing as a “canary in the coalmine” type indicator on the impacts of climate change.

As ski resorts increasingly use snowmaking as means to ensure snow security, it is worth considering snowmaking as an adaptive strategy. Energy consumption for snowmaking increases in less favorable weather conditions, which raises issues both on competitiveness (Damm et al. 2017) and on the environmental impacts. High energy consumption may, in fact, turn snowmaking from adaptive into maladaptive, which is a term used for adaptive activities that actually accelerate climate change.

In this presentation we explain why a climate service that helps skiing centers optimize snowmaking based on seasonal forecasts can help prevent snowmaking from being maladaptive by improved information. The presentation is based on work conducted within the Blue-Action: Arctic Impact on Weather and Climate project (2016-2021), case study on co-designing a climate service for winter tourism in Northern Finland. The service co-designed in the project will have positive impacts for skiing tourism centers 1) by supporting their profitability by ensuring early season start while minimizing the costs of snowmaking and 2) help avoid the threat of snowmaking accelerating climate change by minimizing the energy consumption for it.

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