Climatic Change

, Volume 131, Issue 4, pp 591–605 | Cite as

The vulnerability of Pyrenean ski resorts to climate-induced changes in the snowpack

  • Marc PonsEmail author
  • Juan Ignacio López-Moreno
  • Martí Rosas-Casals
  • Èric Jover


Winter tourism is the main source of income and the driving force of local development in many mountain areas. However, in recent years, the industry has been identified as being extremely vulnerable to future climate change. Although the Pyrenees has the largest ski area in Europe after the Alps, there are few detailed climate change vulnerability assessments on the ski resorts based in this region. This paper analyzes the vulnerability of the Pyrenean ski resorts to projected changes in the snowpack under various future climate scenarios. In addition, the study analyzes the sustainability of the snowmaking systems to offset the climate variability of natural snow cover. On average, the study predicts a shorter ski-season length, especially in low-altitude ski resorts in a moderate climate change scenario and for all ski resorts in a more intensive climate change scenario. However, a significant regional variability has been identified for the projected impacts at very short geographical distances within the studied area. Moreover, this paper shows that snowmaking cannot completely solve the problem for all ski resorts in the Pyrenees, as the measure can only act as a robust adaptation strategy in the region provided climate change is limited to +2 °C snowmaking.


Climate Change Scenario Snow Depth Pyrenees Season Length Winter Tourism 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was supported by the research projects Hidrología nival en el Pirineo Central Español: Variabilidad espacial, importancia hidrológica y respuesta a la variabilidad y cambio climático (CGL2011-27536/HID, Hidronieve), financed by the Spanish Commission of Science and Technology and FEDER, the CTTP1/12 “Creació d’ un model d’ alta resolució espacial per quantificar l’esquiabilitat i l’afluència turística al Pirineu sota diferents escenaris de canvio climàtic,” financed by the Governmet of Aragon and ACTP011-AND/2010 and ACTP017-AND/2012 projects financed by the Government of Andorra in the framework of the research grants of Working Community of the Pyrenees. The first author acknowledges also a predoctoral grant from the Andorran Government [BTC2010/2013-0006-AND].

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marc Pons
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Juan Ignacio López-Moreno
    • 2
  • Martí Rosas-Casals
    • 3
  • Èric Jover
    • 1
  1. 1.Sustainability Observatory of Andorra (OBSA)Sant Julià de LòriaAndorra
  2. 2.Pyrenean Institute of Ecology (CSIC)ZaragozaSpain
  3. 3.Sustainability Measurement and Modeling Lab (SUMMLab)Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC)BarcelonaSpain

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