Drought forces US ski resorts to close

10th February 2015, by Abi Butcher

The US Drought Monitor show areas of exceptional drought today

The US Drought Monitor show areas of exceptional drought today

Lack of snow is not just affecting skiing in Europe — the west coast of North America is experiencing the worst drought in years. This week ski resorts across California and even on in Alaska have closed due to lack of snow, and, further east, Editors Watts and Gill report unseasonably mild conditions in Colorado — which are also affecting parts of Canada, too.

The resorts affected in California are smaller resorts, less well known to UK skiers, but snowfall in the state is just 33% of the average for this time in the season.

Dodge Ridge in Pinecrest, Badger Pass in Yosemite National Park and Mt Shasta in California, as well as Willamette Pass Resort, Hoodoo Ski area and Mt Ashland Ski Area in Oregon are all closed due to the severe drought affecting the west coast.

Homewood near Tahoe City, which has seven lifts and 1260 acres of skiing now has only two rope tows open, and Tahoe itself has received only around 70 inches of snow this winter — around 40% of the average for this type of the ski season.

Editor Watts and Gill report that temperatures in Steamboat, Colorado, are currently hitting 10c in the afternoons — as they are in Fernie, British Columbia.

Eaglecrest Ski Area in Juneau, Alaska, has announced it is reopening on Saturday, 14 February, after being closed for nearly a month due to lack of snow.

However the rest of the winter plays out, there is no doubt that this season will go down on record as one of the most costly for business in ski resorts across the world – and maybe its time to take global warming just that bit more seriously.

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