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January 11th, 2007

Global warming to change ski industry in Western USA

Mark Williams and Brian Lazar (former INSTAAR student, now at Stratus Consulting) presented a study of the potential effects of global warming on Park City to more than 1,000 of the town's 8,500 residents, who crowded into the local auditorium to hear that temperatures are projected to rise 6 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit and that the snowpack will likely be substantially reduced by the end of the century. Williams and Lazar modeled seven different scenarios, built upon prior work by United Nations teams of experts. All scenarios predict dire consequences for the winter sports industry. If the world continues to accelerate its use of carbon-based fuels that create greenhouse emissions, then Park City's mountains will likely become virtually snow free. Even with dramatic cuts in greenhouse emissions, the ski season at the turn of the century could extend only from Christmas to President's Day, eliminating the profitable shoulder season in the ski and snowboard industry. The study was funded by the POWDR Corporation, which operates Park City Mountain Resort.

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