You've probably noticed that Quebec's winters are getting wetter with less snowfall. This is terrible news for ski enthusiasts, as climate change is causing major delays at the start of the season. Even worse, a new study conducted by the Ouranos consortium reveals that the ski season could be shortened by three weeks starting as early as next year.
TL;DR Quebec could lose up to three weeks of ski season over the next few years due to the extreme effects of climate change, resulting in a loss of millions of tourism dollars for the province.
According to Radio-Canada, the study concludes that if Quebec ski stations don’t do more to prevent the inevitable by 2050, the ski season will be delayed by 10 weeks; the total season will be reduced by 20 days; regions will lose up to 30% of ski runs, and visibility will be reduced by 10%.
For the past 40 years, temperatures in Quebec have gradually increased by three degrees. Ski season used to start in November, but now, skiers are hitting the slopes by mid-to-late December. It's not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when, and when the change does happen, the effects will resound throughout the province.
This is bad news not only for winter sports enthusiasts but also for everyone who relies on the ski season for employment. There are 75 ski stations in Quebec that employ over 12,000 people per season and bring in over $800 million dollars of revenue to the region. Furthermore, Quebec’s renowned ski conditions bring 6.3 million tourists per season.
By diversifying and innovating, Quebec’s ski stations can be rescued from this harsh reality. For example, 90% of Europe’s most popular ski destinations are using synthetic snow machines to combat the effects of climate change and lengthen the ski season. Certain mountain resorts also apply synthetic surfaces so that skiers can enjoy the slopes all year long.
Fear not, however, because even though the ski season in Quebec will be shortened up to three weeks over these next few years, tourists in the States and Ontario still choose Quebec as their main winter ski destination. They unfortunately have little choice, as regions in the northern US are projected to lose up to 80% of snowfall in the coming years.