Global Warming Puts Ski Resorts in Jeopardy

Global Warming Puts Ski Resorts in Jeopardy

Squaw Valley Ski Resort Lake Tahoe As anyone who has looked at buying a ski-property in the last few years will know, the global warming phenomena is causing a few problems for the class: meteorologists and other experts on the subject are warning that snowlines will be pushed up around the world.

In the short term global warming is expected to shorten ski-seasons at some of the lower resorts, and over the long term it could shorten the season at the higher altitude resorts and render the lower resorts out of business.

Understandably this has caused anyone looking at ski-property to focus on resorts at a higher altitude than they might have previously — well, to be fair altitude has never been a factor before.

This is causing the biggest problem in Europe, where resorts tend to expand from rural villages and start as little as 180 metres above sea-level (Lillehammer, Norway). North American resorts, which tend to be purpose built, start higher from 1500m to 4000m above sea level.

The Moroccan ski resort of Oukaimeden — about a two-hour drive from Marrakech with skiing in winter months between 2,600 and 3,200 metres — is also doing very well indeed in recent times.

That said: there are high altitude resorts in Europe and these have understandably been doing very well lately — resorts like Chamonix in the French Alps is 4000m above sea level.

“We’re witnessing an increase of demand for property in European year-round resorts such as Morzine, Les Gets, Chamonix, Serre Chevalier and Deux Alpes,” says a spokeswoman for the British specialist ski estate agency, Erna Low Property.

Italy’s new Cervinia resort, about 80 minutes from Turin and 3000m above sea level is another.

“A couple of years ago, following poor snow conditions in many resorts, buyers would only consider high altitude resorts or were hesitant to invest at all,” says Gemma Bruce of GK Italian Property, a British agency selling homes in Italy. “Given the excellent snow in the Alps in the last two seasons, pressure on agents and developers for very high altitude properties has lessened. But buyers are more discerning than ever, only considering resorts at high altitudes with large ski areas – more than 150km of runs – and summer activities,” she says.

Of course, this is all a much smaller problem for those thinking about buying ski-property, than it is for the thousands of people who bought low-altitude ski-property before the potential problems became known.

Photo credits: Rennett Stowe via Flickr