Vinerism strikes the snowmobiling industry

From the same sort of Dr. David Viner mindset that brought us “Snowfall will be a thing of the past” comes this teary-eyed missive:

Snowobiling could be hard hit by climate change, new study says


According to a study recently made public, Vermont’s $600 million snowmobiling industry could be hard hit by climate change. CREDIT Bear Cieri

Declining snowfall in Vermont, a likely byproduct of a warming climate, is sure to negatively affect the state’s $600 million snowmobile industry. New research provides a sobering look at just how much.

A significant part of Vermont’s snowmobiling appeal lies in its interlocking network of trails, which allow snowmobilers to cover large geographic areas, said Robert Manning, a natural resources professor at the University of Vermont and lead author of the study, which is based on an online survey of 1,450 members of VAST, the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers, in November and December 2015. VAST members live both in and out of the state.

The survey results were presented at a meeting of the Northeast Recreation Research Symposium in Annapolis, Maryland on April 4.

“If connections between trails are lost, even if there’s sufficient snow cover in pockets of the state, participation rates could decline sharply,” he said.

Once the percentage of Vermont trails that are open drops below about 65 percent, snowmobilers will begin to stay home, according to the survey. With about half the trails open, participation would drop 25 percent. With 10 percent open, the participation rate would decline by 75 percent.

Another troubling fact to emerge: 70 percent of snowmobilers surveyed said they began their snowmobile rides from their homes, a convenience that relies on good snow cover. 31.2 percent reported that having to drive to snowmobile trails would detract “a great deal” from the experience.

Days of snow cover were also a significant detractor; with fewer than 75 days of cover, participation rates began to decline. With 25 days, rates would decline by 50 percent.

Snow decline in Vermont is likely, given past history and projected temperature increases

Declining snowfall in Vermont at the normal elevations of most snowmobile trails has already occurred and is likely to continue in coming years.

During the 1960s, the average snow depth for winter (December to February) was six inches, according the statistics compiled by the National Weather Service at the Burlington International Airport, but has been closer to four inches during the last decade, the lower limit for snowmobiling. Over the past two decades (from 1995 to 2014), Vermont has experienced the highest winter temperatures observed in the historical record, according to the National Climate Assessment Summary for Vermont.

Vermont’s temperatures are projected to rise by another 2 to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050, according to the Vermont Climate Assessment, making further diminution of average snow depth likely.

“The repercussions of climate change on Vermont’s snowmobile industry could be significant,” said Manning. “Even modest declines in participation could affect the VAST budget and, potentially, the organizations’ ability to maintain trails.”

Regular grooming of trails was one of the most significant factors survey respondents cited as defining a quality snowmobiling experience.

“Given the importance of the snowmobile industry as an economic driver, in Vermont and elsewhere,” Manning said, “this one more reason why we need to do all we can to address the challenge of climate change.”


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William Grubel
April 20, 2016 1:03 pm

So we need to protect an industry that produces CO2 and pollution to prevent it from succumbing to global warming caused by CO2 and pollution? Huh?

Bryan A
Reply to  William Grubel
April 20, 2016 2:12 pm


Reply to  Bryan A
April 20, 2016 4:50 pm

You beat me to that observation.

Mike McMillan
Reply to  Bryan A
April 21, 2016 1:42 am

They need to allow only electric snowmobiles.
Powered by the Vermont Yankee nuke plant.

Alan McIntire
Reply to  William Grubel
April 21, 2016 6:38 am

The same argument applied to the skiing industry when it was presented a short time ago.

Reply to  William Grubel
April 21, 2016 6:58 am

Reminds me of feminists who rail on about how violence in sports is an example of a vicious patriarchal society…except when a young girl wants to play. THEN she should be playing a violent game as well.
Logic, the left has none.

Mark from the Midwest
April 20, 2016 1:08 pm

But wait, shouldn’t the Green Lobby be driving snowmobiles out of existence? They’re noisy, and disturb the solitude of nature, they produce CO2, and other noxious gasses, and many of their drivers simply use them as a convenient means to get from one bar to the next.
But when it comes to an economic impact on the enlightened citizens of Vermont, (same ones that gave us Bernie, “I want to have an economy like Finland” Sanders), all bets are off.

Jim McCulley
Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
April 20, 2016 2:17 pm

No there not all of those things. That’s what the green lobby says about snowmobiling to raise money.

April 20, 2016 1:09 pm

Where is their evidence that Vermont will experience ” 2 to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050 ” ?? Maybe a little Bernie told them !

April 20, 2016 1:10 pm

But I thought the current line is that global warming – via the Arctic ice melt – leads to more snow rather than less. Either I can’t keep up, or these people have trouble keeping their stories aligned.

Reply to  rw
April 20, 2016 1:16 pm

They have decided to agree to disagree about what they agree on ! It is Vermont, after all… ; )

Reply to  rw
April 20, 2016 1:43 pm

Yes, the expert speaking on the Weather Channel said so.

April 20, 2016 1:12 pm

..O.T. but along the same lines..The EPA is backing away from rules that would end Stock Car Racing …maybe !!

Curious George
Reply to  PA
April 20, 2016 1:16 pm

Hereby we decline to state how much the snowfall is declining.

Reply to  PA
April 20, 2016 1:35 pm

Oh, but that’s rotten snow.

Tom Halla
Reply to  PA
April 20, 2016 1:39 pm

Great graph!

Reply to  PA
April 20, 2016 2:58 pm

Your graph is obviously upside down.

Reply to  PA
April 20, 2016 3:44 pm

… but shouldn’t the graph/data start in 1965; and anything over 119 inches should be considered a likely error due to extremely fluffy snow (global-climate-change-warming causes this kind of thing ya know), and adjusted downward appropriately.

Reply to  PA
April 20, 2016 4:08 pm

I knew that was coming! 🙂

Reply to  PA
April 20, 2016 5:06 pm

PA: Can you let me know where that chart is from? Thanks.

Reply to  DC
April 20, 2016 8:10 pm
Reply to  BFL
April 20, 2016 9:01 pm

BFL: I see that the snowfall chart is also reproduced in a posting by someone named Sierra Rayne on the American Thinker. But where did it come from? Or put differently, what is the source of data?

Reply to  PA
April 20, 2016 9:17 pm

Yeah, big news in Vermont and New Hampshire… They’d celebrate if there was a breath of truth in the claim.
A couple of friends and some relatives have been moving or threatening to move from Vermont and New Hampshire to the South.
We hosted one family of relatives not too long ago, unfortunately in winter. While we made a good case for moving to Virginia, the cold front that rolled South while they were here convinced them that they want to live in South Carolina; or maybe further South.
A close friend did not take a snowfall joke well when I suggested we had extra snow they could have. His response was something about never seeing another snowflake again, ever. He’s too much of a canoeist to seriously consider leaving New Hampshire, but he wasn’t a happy camper mid winter.
Great chart PA!

Reply to  PA
April 21, 2016 7:55 am

Their quote about recent snowfall depths is “according the statistics compiled by the National Weather Service at the Burlington International Airport” the last decade has averaged 4″. Airports are built from tarmac, a heat sink. Therefore, one would expect that the snow depths might be lower at an airport than in the rest of the state. It was unclear if the authors were comparing the airport snow depths in the 1960s with the last decade, however it they were, they forgot to include any changes at Burlington International Airport which occurred over the past 50 years.
The authors of this paper are from the Vermont Climate Assessment. The first paragraph on their homepage reads as follows:
“Climate change is no longer a thing of the future; it is affecting Vermont today. The Vermont Climate Assessment (VCA) presents information to help prepare for the impacts and opportunities from Vermont’s fast-changing climate—while noting the potential costs of inaction.”
They explain how they do their research:
“What are the Assessment’s data and methods?
The authors collected and analyzed data from over 175 scientific studies, interviews with local and state government officials, academics NGOs, businesses, and farmers and observational data from formal sources such as the National Weather Service and from citizen scientists, such as the Joe’s Pond Association Ice-Out observations. Historical climate data was supplied by NOAA and the National Weather Service with expert input from Andy Nash, Meterologist-in-Charge at the Burlington office of the National Weather Service. Projections of future climate change are supplied by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and refer to computer models from the Couple Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5). These models represent a range of scenarios from low to high global greenhouse gas emissions and other aspects of atmospheric and global change.”
What I could not find on their website was the source of their funding. Since their is not request for donations that I could find on their website, they must be receiving adequate funding.

Reply to  isthatright
April 21, 2016 10:14 am

ur probably right … and since I get in trouble when snowmobiling across the airport runways, I don’t care how much (less) snow there is at the airports.

Reply to  PA
April 21, 2016 8:23 am

Has the data been corrected for isostasy? 😉

April 20, 2016 1:15 pm

Now why would they start their analysis from the cold 1960s?

April 20, 2016 1:37 pm

Burlington is a rather low part of the state. More mountainous areas get a lot more snow than Burlington. The differences are so great, both in Vermont and the rest of New England that I’ve concluded that snow fall and “snow depth days” (like heating degree days – sum the morning snow depth for throughout the winter) are useless for determining the course of the local climate.
Yes, this winter sucked. Last winter didn’t. New England weather is like that.

Bryan A
Reply to  Ric Werme
April 20, 2016 2:14 pm

Looks like it was the 3rd suckiest winter since 1954

Bubba Cow
Reply to  Ric Werme
April 20, 2016 3:17 pm

it looks like the fellas stole my mountains up here so maybe they took the snow too –

Reply to  Ric Werme
April 22, 2016 6:07 am

This is what the Vermont ANR thinks about snow cover:
From the new site.
Filled with misleading information and data.

April 20, 2016 1:42 pm

It’s a little-known fact that in Ancient Etruscan, “University” means “a useless collection of conceited wankers.”

Reply to  jorgekafkazar
April 20, 2016 2:10 pm

In US English, a ‘university’ is “a government subsidized, intolerant .edu factory parroting the latest politically correct pablum.”

Reply to  dbstealey
April 20, 2016 4:22 pm

1400 members of VAST and 31% said that having to drive to ride would detract “a great deal” from the experience? Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
Maybe those spoiled little snowmobile riders will have to evolve…it’s the natural thing to do. People in other states don’t have the luxury of snowmobiling off their property, so they buy trailers and haul their machines to their beautiful cabins and stay for weeks playing in the snow, riding snowmobiles, skiing, hot tubbing, and getting drunk!
Odd…VAST isn’t even listed on the American Council of Snowmobile site. In fact, Vermont has no groups listed. Wonder why Robert Manning only surveyed that one group?

Will Nelson
Reply to  dbstealey
April 20, 2016 6:33 pm

The problem Aphen is this: People who drive from home are more correctly known as “snow machiners” whereas those who can only drive after ferrying by trailer are known by the more common term. It would indeed be a bitter pill for the snow machiners if they had to become the other type 🙂

Reply to  Will Nelson
April 20, 2016 7:35 pm

I’m sorry, but people who get to ride snow machines/mobiles anytime, anywhere, I just call DARN LUCKY. One of the best things ever invented!!!

Steve E
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
April 20, 2016 4:52 pm

It’s also a little-know fact that “University” is the antonym of “Diversity” and means a single culture of thought, belief and action. It’s adherents are readily recognized by their closed eyes (and minds), hands clapped over ears and the singing of la, la, la, la, la la. 😉

Reply to  Steve E
April 20, 2016 8:17 pm

Some decades ago it wasn’t like that as these kinds of shenanigans would result in corrective action up to dismissal and I suspect that as at the University of Missouri, that pendulum changes are starting to occur. Their coddling of students has put them 38 million in the hole with a 20% decline in enrollment and graduating students complaining about effects on the percieved quality of their degrees.

Reply to  Steve E
April 20, 2016 9:09 pm

‘…It’s also a little-know fact that “University” is the antonym of “Diversity”….’
Not any möre.

April 20, 2016 1:50 pm

Get ready for another year 2000 winter there and at a number of other places. You have maybe a couple years to tune up the equipment and make additional plans.

FJ Shepherd
April 20, 2016 2:16 pm

So climate alarmists are now worried about a fossil fuel driven industry – snowmobiling – going under because of climate change? Shouldn’t they be ecstatic about it? FFS!

Reply to  FJ Shepherd
April 20, 2016 3:15 pm

I guess if there were coal-powered snowmobiles, then they’d get upset.

April 20, 2016 2:36 pm

The question that Dr. Viner doesn’t bother addressing is — that if reduced snowfall is caused by increased CO2, if actions are taken to decrease CO2, how long will it take for snowfall amounts to return to normal.

Reply to  littlepeaks
April 20, 2016 2:46 pm

On the other hand, the golf season will be extended, and so will the season for all other balmy weather activities. So, what’s the concern here?

Reply to  Trebla
April 20, 2016 4:01 pm

Ever try getting around a golf course on a snowmobile?
(Obviously my comment makes as much sense as their “coulda, woulda, shouldas”.)

Reply to  Trebla
April 20, 2016 8:19 pm

“So, what’s the concern here?”
Trying to find that white ball in all that snow….

Reply to  Trebla
April 20, 2016 8:54 pm

BFL, Fluoro golf balls

April 20, 2016 3:13 pm

So one bad (probably El Nino induced) winter and it’s doom and gloom? Don’t these guys remember the two years before that when we were up to our hips in the stuff? I’d love to hear Caleb (Sunrise Swansong) weigh in on this, because there was plenty on his blog about the lack of snow/early melt this year, and the terrible winter we had before that. Its also worth remembering that a 2 degree rise in the winter is the difference between -20C and -18C – not going to make much difference to the snow and ice, except maybe cause more precipitation (which will fall as guess what).
When it gets colder, its just weather, when it gets warmer its a climate catastrophe – make up your minds, warmists…

April 20, 2016 3:37 pm

We get a lot less snow here in Wisconsin than we used to. Back in the day we used “sleds” instead of cars most all winter. Not now. The snowmobile industry has been hammered. On the other hand, Colorado seems to be getting more than when I lived there. Go figure. Think it might have something to do with weather or maybe a selective memory. Doubt it’s climate. In any event, please don’t put up a chart. I don’t want to know.

Reply to  expat
April 20, 2016 4:59 pm

Nothing makes me want to put up a chart more than having someone say “don’t put up a chart”……..:)

Reply to  expat
April 21, 2016 2:49 am
Michigan Tech snowfall records back to the 1800s.
If you go back to the early 20th century the current snowfall is about 50% higher. It is less than the 70s. The late 60s and 70s were an anomaly.
Publishing a snowfall graph going back to the 1880s or 1900 that shows a decline would help the argument. But I’m not holding my breath.

Reply to  PA
April 22, 2016 11:00 am

I grew up in the UP in the 50’s-60’s and there were many years when the snowfall was +250 inches. This year they are just shy of 200 inches. Started on Halloween and those 14 foot snowbanks didn’t melt until May. Snow shoveling was a required class. Everywhere I’ve lived since has had snow (currently CO) but nothing like that.

Reply to  PA
April 22, 2016 12:12 pm

Rocdoctom, directly above your comment (re 250 inches of snow “many years” in the 50s/60s in the UP) is a link to actual snowfall data for the UP (measured in Houghton). The data shows plus-250 inches of snow in only two years during those decades: 1950-51, and 1964-65. And it shows many years with a lot less; e.g., 1953-54: 117 inches; 1957-58: 150 inches; 1960-61: 174 inches; 1967-68: 151.5 inches). Do you have data supporting your comment, or are you basing it on memory? (I don’t mean to be critical. If your comment was based on memory, I’ve made the same mistake: I could have sworn that my childhood in the 80s in the northeast was way snowier than it is now — but the data shows that I am wrong. And I think this is a common phenomenon, i.e., people thinking that the winters of their youth were more fearsome than the winters of today.)

The Indomitable Snowman, Ph.D.
April 20, 2016 4:30 pm

As Yogi Berra said, “It’s deja-vu all over again.” Every time there is a weak winter somewhere, these kinds of scare pieces get emitted.
As Ric noted, this past winter was a really weak one, particularly as compared to the recent winters before that. But of particular note, during the winter of 2014 – 2015, the Vermont ski industry set an all-time record for skier visits.
Speaking of which, want another Viner-esque embarrassment in the pipeline that’s soon to come due?
Back in January 2007, after an unusually mild December 2006, the present-day governor of the state (Peter Shumlin – who, honestly, seems more android than human), who was then a state senator, assured everyone that it was absolutely settled science that if we did nothing about “global warming,” within ten years (there’s that phrase again!) the climate zones would have shifted north about 300 miles, Vermont winters would become what New Jersey winters then were, and the ski industry would basically be extinct.
(Okay, maybe he had his magic screen upside down – for the most part, people in places like New Jersey and Cape Cod are wondering if the climate zones have been shifting 300 miles south rather than north.)
Wish I had a link – I remember him saying it and made sure to “bank” that memory for use in ten years time. Maybe like Viner, all references were scrubbed. But if anyone can find anything beyond a few stories where he was complaining about December 2006, make it public, please! Only a few more months until the fun can really start.
(And if you hadn’t noticed yet, God loves to laugh at warmists. Expect a Baffin-Island winter in the NE US next winter.)

Reply to  The Indomitable Snowman, Ph.D.
April 21, 2016 2:07 pm


SHUMLIN: Any reasonable scientist will tell you that we’re going to rise anywhere between another two and three degrees in the next 30 years. That means that New Jersey’s climate is moving to Vermont in the next decade. That has tremendous implications in our economy’s ski, maple-sugar making, leaf-peeping and the list goes on and on. So we are — I at least am — looking at this with a major sense of panic.

The Indomitable Snowman, Ph.D.
Reply to  Yirgach
April 21, 2016 6:37 pm

Yirgach, thanks a ton! I remember him saying that but I never was able to find a link. You’ve done great service, as it can be added to the “Viner hall of shame” list – and given that it’s coming due soon, it should be repeated everywhere without mercy.
Anthony, got this one for the “bank”?

April 20, 2016 4:40 pm

Well, my four snomobiles in the third tractor shed on my Wisconsin farm disagree. Snow has been better last few years than the decade plus before.

April 20, 2016 4:41 pm

I put a winter tire on my bicycle that I barely needed this past season

Reply to  Cameron Melin
April 20, 2016 5:01 pm

hahahahahaha bicycles in winter! Sorry….you’d have to put a snowplow under your bicycle in winter where I live.

Steve E
April 20, 2016 4:43 pm

Seems like der Bingle and Danny Kaye had the same problem in 1954.

When they got off the train in Vermont there was NO SNOW and the poor General was going to lose his inn.

April 20, 2016 4:49 pm

According to VAST’s website-
“VAST is a non-profit, private group that includes 128 clubs statewide, with over 24,000 members combined.”
1450 surveys returned= 6% response.
“Eighty percent of Vermont’s trail system is on private land. Snowmobiling is a privilege and is permitted only through the traditional generosity of thousands of property owners. Respecting the land by showing courtesy and not littering will ensure that New England’s best trail system remains open for years to come.”
“All riders in Vermont must belong to VAST and a local club to ride legally in the state. There is a substantial fine for riding without a TMA.”
So, if I vacation in Vermont, for one week out of my entire life, I’d be forced to become a member of VAST AND a local club in order to ride a rented machine legally. Which means that my opinion about how the snow in Vermont would affect my snowmobile riding preferences there is pretty much irrelevant.

James at 48
April 20, 2016 4:52 pm

Comparing snow cover mid negative PDO to a transition from positive to negative. Hmmmmm ….

Reply to  James at 48
April 20, 2016 5:18 pm

November and december? Always less snow on ground. Why didn t they ask in febuary

April 20, 2016 4:59 pm

A lot of the usual ifs in the article. The reality is much different. Burlington is in a naturally warm area between Lake Champlain (unless frozen over) and the urban heat island around the city. Outside of the Lake Champlain valley the snow comes sooner and remains longer. In northern Vermont we have measurable snow from October through the end of May. The early and late season snowfalls are typically elevation driven events. We usually have couple feet of snow on our open field until early April. By then everyone is sick of winter and is ready for summer.
See Burlington’s NWS NOW data for snow depth at various reporting stations based on month and year. Use the top line Daily Data for a Month and then select the month and year.

Bruce Cobb
April 20, 2016 5:00 pm

The list of things threatened by “climate change” is getting a bit unwieldy. Perhaps they should start a list of things NOT threatened by “climate change”.

Christopher Simpson
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
April 20, 2016 7:57 pm

Government grants?

April 20, 2016 5:36 pm

These crazy sledders aren’t happy with one season, they’re gonna do it all year.

April 20, 2016 6:17 pm

“Snowobiling”?? Predictions of snow-wobbling, indeed! ;->

April 20, 2016 7:18 pm

Quick glance at a couple Vermont towns records shows that most monthly snowfall records have occurred since 1960. Several records are this century. It’s not getting less snowy in Vermont.

Reply to  MattN
April 20, 2016 8:24 pm

Hey I won’t believe it without charts……

Christopher Simpson
April 20, 2016 8:01 pm

If true, then the snowmobile industry will surely decline. On the other hand, if true, the number of cases of frostbite, freezing, and injuries related to snow and ice will also decline. As will the amount of salt used on roads, municipal money for snow plowing equipment and cost of heating homes in the winter.
A true tragedy. A shame it’s not likely true.

Christopher Simpson
Reply to  Christopher Simpson
April 20, 2016 8:05 pm

Quick addendum. I just looked up cost of treating frostbite. According to CBC news (using figures from the Canadian Institute of Health Information and the provincial health ministries), the cost of frostbite treatment in Alberta is $10,595 — just slightly more than the treatment for tuberculosis ($10,123).

Christopher Simpson
Reply to  Christopher Simpson
April 20, 2016 8:06 pm
Johann Wundersamer
April 21, 2016 12:24 am

“If connections between trails are lost, even if there’s sufficient snow cover in pockets of the state, participation rates could decline sharply,” he said.
Once the percentage of Vermont trails that are open drops below about 65 percent, snowmobilers will begin to stay home, according to the survey.
Is this a market study – compare with the quads market.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Johann Wundersamer
April 21, 2016 12:27 am

compare to the quads market. My dinglish.

April 21, 2016 6:24 am

Funny, they never care about the hundreds that are unemployed due to oil and gas costs going down and coal mines closing. I’m guessing this is just another lie to try and make people think they care. Hundreds of service jobs during the winter versus hundreds of high paying mining and oil jobs year round? Part-time, low pay wins every time.

April 21, 2016 6:40 am

Temperatures are expected to rise between 2 and 3.6F in the next 25 years?????
Where the blank did that come from? Even the IPCC isn’t projecting that much for the next century.

April 21, 2016 7:05 am

Ontario, Canada had a pretty warm winter. At least the start and middle had less snow than normal.
However, spring more than made up for it. Even in Toronto, we had more snow in the first week in April than we did in all of January and February.
My brother lives on one of the busiest snowmobile trails in Canada (and they had a snowfall of almost a foot last week, and still have snowbanks). Most snowmobilers also have ATVs, so the trail got almost as much use as it did in previous years.
I doubt Vermonters are much different…

April 21, 2016 8:11 am

You would think the Vermont leftists would be applauding this, no more spewing nasty pollution and CO2 in the air from those nasty snow mobiles, now get back in the house and make some more tallow candles and spin some more yarn.

April 21, 2016 3:26 pm

Rutgers University funded by NASA and NOAA show a steady increase in snow coverage for the Northern Hemisphere using satellite records covering 30 years.

Reply to  Owen
April 22, 2016 5:04 am

Owen, can you clarify? I would love it to be true, but I am not seeing it on the Rutgers website. See

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