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Ski Areas’ Competitiveness in the Light of Climate Change: Comparative Analysis in the Eastern Alps

  • Robert SteigerEmail author
  • Bruno Abegg
Chapter
Part of the Geographies of Tourism and Global Change book series (GTGC)

Abstract

Ski areas are an important source of income in many alpine regions. The mature skiing product has reached its saturation with globally stagnating skier days in the last 10 years. Consequently, competition between ski areas and winter tourism regions has been increasing. Climate change is likely to impact competitiveness, as the skiing product is highly dependent on snow and thus sensitive to climate variability and global warming. An analysis of ski areas’ competitiveness in the Eastern Alps was conducted in the light of climate change. The variables analysed in this paper are: snow reliability of ski areas up to a warming of +4 ℃; past development and status quo of (1) the share of ski slopes covered by snowmaking facilities; (2) of modern ski lifts. Snow reliability is analysed using a ski season simulation model (SkiSim2). Current snowmaking coverage is especially low in the Bavarian Alps (18%), Grisons (37%) and Vorarlberg (50%), compared to e.g., Tyrol or Carinthia (90%). Today snowmaking creates the highest benefit (concerning snow reliability) in Styria, Upper and Lower Austria. Nevertheless these regions are upon the most affected by temperature increases. Climate change impacts differ greatly across the Eastern Alps. Investments in snowmaking can be suitable to keep or increase competitiveness in some regions, but is less effective in other regions. It is likely that the ski market will contract due to climate change to the benefit of remaining ski areas at least until the middle of the 21st century.

Keywords

Skiing Climate change Winter tourism Snow reliability Alps 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Public FinanceUniversity of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria
  2. 2.Institute of GeographyUniversity of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria

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