After an unusually frosty autumn in Rappahannock County, much of December through the first third of January was a dud when it comes to Old Man Winter. A recent flyover of Virginia and West Virginia revealed barren mountains, save the man-made snow at local ski resorts like Massanutten.
Which begs the question: is climate change melting mid-Atlantic skiing?
If you like to ski, advises the Partnership for Responsible Growth, get out there and enjoy it while you can because warmer weather is shortening the ski seasons: “Within the next 20 years, the number of days at or below freezing in some of the most popular ski towns in the United States will decline by weeks or even a month.”
Powder Magazine agrees: “Climate change will scrape weeks off both sides of the season at ski resorts from California to Maine.”
At the current rate of global warming, it is predicted that by 2040 numerous ski resorts up and down the east coast will go out of business.
Here at home, where it’s finally gotten colder this late week and measurable snow is in the forecast, ski areas are rushing to finetune their snowmaking skills and capacity, but scant white stuff can be produced with fewer windows of extended freezing temperatures.
Masanutten ski Resort, with Shenandoah National Park in the background, hopes winter arrives soon.