The Future of the Australian Ski Industry


by Harrison Chotzen

In 2010 Catherine Pickering and Ralf Buckley, then associate professor and director of the ICER (International Centre for Ecotourism Research) coauthored an article investigating snow guns (also known as “snow-machines”) and their role in the undermined future of the Australian ski industry. While the Australian Alps provide an optimal environment for the six ski resorts that currently exist, Pickering and Buckley explain that each establishment will need to drastically increase snow-making activity in order to sustain skiable terrain as the level of natural snowfall decreases every year. However, after spending 9 years collecting data on natural snow cover, skier numbers, the costs and yields of snow-making in the region, the number of snow guns resorts employ, and the total costs of the guns (referring to costs of the guns themselves as well as the “associated infrastructure”) while assuming a predicted 2020 climate change-induced scenario (in which it is predicted that the mean annual temperature will increase by approximately 1.0°C and precipitation will decrease by up to 8.3%) the authors concluded that snow-based tourism in Australia will almost certainly be forced to find an alternate solution to the low natural snow levels of the years ahead Continue reading