End of Winter Sports: The Climate Change Crisis Threatening Ski Resorts

End of Winter Sports: The Climate Change Crisis Threatening Ski Resorts



1: Snowfall Decline in Hokkaido: Almost 70% Notice the Change

Reflecting on the Hokkaido Newspaper series "European Climate Change: The Crisis in Ski Resorts," it's evident that climate change has a profound impact on ski resorts worldwide. European resorts, particularly in the French Alps, face closure due to insufficient snowfall, which may threaten around 71% of European resorts by century's end.

Hokkaido isn't immune to this trend. According to a survey, 64.5% of ski resorts in the region report shortened seasons, and 67.7% have observed decreased snowfall, affecting the days with powder snow. The closure of La Sambuy ski resort in France after over 60 years in operation is a stark example, reflecting the significant impact on employees and related industries.


The shift toward alternative summer activities and sustainable models is gaining momentum, but the challenges are daunting, underscoring the urgency to act now.

2: Artificial Snow Machines in Hokkaido: A Necessary Response?

The Hokkaido Newspaper series highlights the increasing reliance on artificial snow machines in European resorts, a trend that Hokkaido must also consider. In Hokkaido, 21.0% of ski resorts have introduced artificial snow machines, and 1.6% have adopted snow-making machines. This adaptation, though costly and complex, addresses the lack of natural snow.


Furthermore, 22.6% of resorts have diversified into non-winter activities, recognizing the necessity for adaptive strategies. The alarming situation in Hokkaido's resorts, contemplating artificial snowmaking and off-season operations, mirrors the grave reality of winter sports' future under climate change.

3: Solutions to Overcome the Crisis

The situation is dire, as seen in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, heavily reliant on artificial snow. The future of winter sports, including the Olympics, is in jeopardy.

Hokkaido, a leading winter sports destination, faces a similar fate. The region, second only to the USA in the number of ski resorts, is at a critical juncture. The closure of resorts due to snow scarcity would render extensive infrastructure investments futile and significantly impact tourism.

In light of these circumstances, it's imperative for us to seriously consider reducing travelers' luggage as a contribution to CO2 reduction. According to the ICAO 'CARBON EMISSIONS CALCULATOR,' reducing luggage weight by 20kg for a round trip to Japan equates to a CO2 reduction of 138kg (average for New York, Singapore, and Taipei). This amount is equivalent to 28 days' worth of CO2 emissions from everyday life, underscoring the significant impact each individual's actions can have on the environment.

Sources: ICAO's CARBON EMISSIONS CALCULATOR, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan


To preserve ski resorts and protect the environment, one practical measure we as travelers can take is to lighten our luggage, for example, by opting for clothing rentals. Lighter luggage enhances travel comfort and serves as a gesture of environmental consideration.

The future of ski resorts and the joy of winter sports in regions like Hokkaido hinge on our actions. Let's embrace knowledge and act towards sustaining the joy of winter sports in a changing climate.


Back to blog