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Identifying Drought-Related Triggers and Impacts on Decision Calendars for the Ski Industry

NIDIS Supported Research
NIDIS-Supported Research
Main Summary

The goal of this project was to identify how and when ski area managers make climate and weather-related decisions and how drought impacts those decisions. During the scoping of this project, the research team determined that ski areas have several decision timescales—operational decisions are made on day-to-day and week-to-week timescales and are primarily driven by weather and forecasts; long-term strategic decisions can be guided by climate change; in between are medium-term decisions, which can be impacted by climate variability and drought.

The project began with assimilating a group of contacts at ski areas around the Intermountain West Drought Early Warning System (DEWS) region. Through interviews with these contacts, the project team was able to gather information on how decision makers find and use weather and climate information, and identify their needs and gaps that could improve their decision-making based on additional information. Gaps requiring additional information could be from currently existing data and products of which they were unaware, or for data and products that are not yet available.

This project has the potential to improve decision-making at ski resorts throughout the Intermountain West and provides opportunities for increasing public knowledge about the intersection of climate and outdoor recreation.

Research Snapshot

Research Timeline
September 1, 2019 – August 31, 2021
Principal Investigator(s)
Becky Bolinger, Colorado State University, Colorado Climate Center
Project Funding
NIDIS Coping with Drought FY 2019
Focus Areas (DEWS Components)

Results of This Research

Related Data & Maps

The Intermountain West Ski Dashboard was created as a resource for decision makers within the ski industry in the Intermountain West (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexi

Key Regions

Research Scope
DEWS Region(s)