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Warmer and drier winters impact Idaho's ski areas

Ski areas impacted by changing climate
Posted at 4:58 PM, Apr 27, 2022

Outdoor recreation is year-round in Idaho. Even during the cold Rocky Mountain winters, there’s fun to be had at any one of the 18 ski areas in the state — but snow-based sports are among the most vulnerable to increasing temperatures being tracked worldwide.

According to National Ski Areas Association Spokesperson Adrienne Saia Isaac, the challenge of climate change is shifting ski operations across the country even though the impacts are not always directly experienced by snow-enthusiasts.

Related: Boise River Basin needs snow to get close to average snowpack

"It's a lot harder to be concerned about losing something you love when that's not the case right in front of you. When you still have powder days and you can still go skiing for most of the winter months, especially here in the Rocky Mountains where we are relatively isolated from the immediate effects of climate change," she said.

Related: Idaho needs more active weather to build up snowpack

While the amount of snow that falls day-to-day has always been difficult to predict, climate change poses an additional challenge. Snowpack percentiles have decreased in the mountainous west over recent decades as has the duration of natural snow, tracked by the University of Idaho among other entities.

Related: Below average snowpack will mean no high water season

Over the next two days at Idaho News 6, we take a look at the impacts of climate change on Idaho’s ski industry. Now that this season is over, how did it go? We speak with one ski area in Boise’s backyard, and another, that makes snow completely from scratch. These stories are set to air back-to-back this Thursday and Friday.