SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, February 18, 2002 The Alpine skiiers competing in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games are zooming downhill at the Snowbasin Ski Area over a firm base of snow 65 inches deep topped with packed powder.
But global warming threatens the success of future Winter Olympic Games, because snows will not occur reliably or pile up deeply enough to support them, according to the World Resources Institute.
Jonathan Lash, president of the Washington, DC based think tank, held a news conference in Salt Lake City today to warn the international athletes, coaches and officials gathered in Utah for the games of the consequences climate change may have for their sports.
Global warming threatens future Winter Olympic Games because it is resulting in less snow, and shorter and warmer winters, said Lash. Just as Salt Lake has done, we urge potential host cities to seriously consider the consequences of global warming in planning future Winter Olympic Games.
Record snowfall at California ski resorts
Seasonal snowfall records have been set at some California ski resorts, including Squaw Valley USA near the north shore of Lake Tahoe, Heavenly Mountain Resort on the lake’s south side and Mammoth Mountain, the sprawling eastern Sierra resort that attracts Southern California skiers and snowboarders.
More than 61 feet of snow has fallen in the 400-mile-long Sierra Nevada this season, second only to the 1950-51 season when 65 feet fell, according to California Department of Transportation records. Although spring has arrived, the Sierra typically gets some snow in April, bringing the prospect of an all-time record.
At Squaw Valley, home of the 1960 Winter Olympics, ski patrol guides had to create tunnels just to reach their warming huts, and avalanches broke out windows at two lift stations. Nearly 59 feet of snow has fallen there this winter, beating the old record by 29 inches.
Squaw is extending its season through Memorial Day, while Mammoth, with a peak elevation exceeding 11,000 feet, might remain open through Fourth of July.
h/t to Marc Morano