SPECIAL REPORT: SE GROUP'S FUTURE OF THE INDUSTRY SURVEY 2012-PART V

CHALLENGE #5: WEATHER/CLIMATE CHANGE

“The weather factor will always be the challenge. It will not go away. It has been with the ski industry from day one.”

The challenge of changing weather and climate is perhaps the most emotionally charged and politically “hot” topic (pardon the pun) in our industry today. The issue of climate change is steeped in complicated science and political agenda, the combination of which nets an endless array of varied opinion and stymies productive conversation. That said, while the topic of climate change may be divisive, many of our survey respondents united behind the recognition that the weather has always been, and will continue to be, a primary challenge in our industry.

Perhaps the way to move the conversation forward, and strive to find effective opportunities, is to remove the science and the politics and focus instead on the familiar conversation: How do you respond to the unpredictability of the weather?

OPPORTUNITY: ADAPTABILITY AND RESILIENCE

Adaptability speaks to long-term structural shifts to address unpredictability and variability, while resilience addresses the on-going ability and capacity to respond and recover from weather events. When looking to the future, survey participants spoke to many strategies and tactics that fall under both of these concepts.

In addition, think about the degree to which you are “walking the talk” with regard to green initiatives. The weather-dependent nature of our business makes our industry a visible participant in the climate change discussion. NSAA has responded with initiatives like Sustainable Slopes and the more recent Climate Challenge, with the aim of both encouraging resorts to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, but also to raise awareness and encourage our customers to take action as well. Are you participating?

The science is complicated and variable, and while most agree that some change is happening, the end result remains unclear. And while industry members may not be on the same page regarding climate change, most agree that weather has been one of our biggest challenges. Being adaptable and resilient applies to both, allowing owners and operators an increased effectiveness at reacting to the variability of weather, while at the same time preparing for any eventual permanent changes to our climate.

How are you adapting and increasing your resilience to changes in the weather? Do you want to be proactive or reactive?
 

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