Letter: Ski industry vulnerable to climate change

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Bob Bonar began at Snowbird as a ski patroller the year it opened in 1971 and eventually became general manager, overseeing many of the major developments at the Little Cottonwood Canyon resort, including expansion into American Fork Canyon, cutting North America's first ski tunnel, and connecting with Alta ski resort. Snowbird's last original staff member, Bonar retired in November.

I am new to Utah and am very excited about the possibility of hosting the 2030 Winter Olympics. As Utah takes pride in “The Greatest Snow on Earth,” we owe it to our ski industry to address the threat of climate change.

Fortunately, climate predictions suggest that in 2030 we have a good probability of an adequate combination of snow and cold to be a reliable Winter Olympic host. But by 2050 some ski locations in the U.S. are forecast to have 50 percent shorter ski seasons, and Utah would be considered a risky location for a Winter Olympics. Squaw Valley, a previous Olympic site, would also be considered unreliable.

The tourism industry may be one of the greatest economic victims of climate change. I support the Citizens Climate Lobby proposal for a carbon fee and dividend as the best approach to decreasing greenhouse gas pollution and limiting the warming of our planet.

I hope that as our legislators and business leaders promote the 2030 Winter Olympics, they will also take significant steps to help Utah continue as the place to go for “The Greatest Snow on Earth.”

Robert T. Peterson, South Jordan

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