By James Taylor -January 8, 2022
The New York Times published an article yesterday attempting to frighten skiers into becoming climate activists by claiming snow cover is diminishing throughout the country. “Skiing is an endangered sport,” claims the Times. In reality, objective data show that snow cover has been increasing during the past 30 years and current snowfall in the nation’s best ski country is setting new records this ski season. “All the news that’s fit to print” appears a lot more like “all the propaganda that’s fit to print.”
The Times’ article asserts, “Skiing is an endangered sport, caught between a warming planet and a global pandemic.” Moreover, according to the article, “In recent years, with snow cover diminishing and untouched powder increasingly difficult to reach, skiers like Ms. Backstrom have been pushed onto groomed trails more often.”
Utilizing satellite measurements, the Rutgers University Global Snow Lab (GSL) keeps precise data on global, hemispheric, and continental snow cover dating back to the 1960s. According to the GSL data, the past 30 years have seen no decline in global or North American snow cover. Instead, there has been a modest increase in snow cover during the past three decades.
Even compared to the 1960s, which fell in the middle of the 1945-to-1977 global cooling period, recent North American snow cover is only marginally less than what was the case during that cold era 60 years ago. That small decline is due entirely to snow cover retreating somewhat earlier in the spring. Even so, Northern Hemisphere snow extent has enjoyed long-term growth during the past 60 years during the fall and winter seasons.
The Times’ article is particularly ironic considering the many snowfall records that have been set in prime ski regions during the past year. North Lake Tahoe, which is home to several of the best ski slopes in the country, enjoyed a record 18 feet of snow last month. Yosemite National Park set a snowfall record, also, last month. Even further south, Mammoth, California set snowfall records as recently as May, 2019.
Sorry, New York Times, skiing is not endangered and objective scientific data show powdered ski slopes are increasingly easy to reach.
James Taylor is the President of the Heartland Institute. Taylor is also director of Heartland’s Arthur B. Robinson Center for Climate and Environmental Policy. Taylor is the former managing editor (2001-2014) of Environment & Climate News, a national monthly publication devoted to sound science and free-market environmentalism.