Morocco and Israel will be the ski destinations of choice by 2050. Declining snowfall will mean that UK travellers will seek alternative destinations for snow-assured holidays, according to a new report which assesses the future of skiing*.
The SnowFuture Report, by travel insurer Churchill, shows that the effects of climate change will lead to very different ski travel patterns in the future.
According to forecasts, the Alpine ski resorts, which currently cater for 85% of the nation’s ski trips, will experience a drop in snowfall of at least 30%, and snow could cease altogether in some places. In the future, skiers will have to travel to even higher altitudes and even further afield for ‘guaranteed’ snow.
Traditional ski-friendly destinations, such as Switzerland, could see the number of ski-reliable resorts drop by up to 63%. By 2050, only resorts with a snowline 1500m above sea level will offer a natural snow season, ruling out current destinations such as Lillehammer (Norway, 180m) and Kitzbuhel (Austria, 760m). The change in climate will affect Britons’ skiing habits and drive them to new destinations.
Churchill’s SnowFuture Report, issued in conjunction with think tank The Centre for Future Studies, reveals the new ski destinations of 2050 to be:
Valle Nevado, Chile
New Zealand / Australasia
Mt. Hutt (New Zealand)
Further research by Churchill Travel Insurance reveals that UK skiers currently look to traditional Alpine destinations when they want to ski - nearly half of all skiers (48%) have been to France, followed by Austria (29%) and Switzerland and Italy (18% each). Furthermore, more than nine in ten skiers (96%) are unaware of future skiing destinations such as Israel and Morocco. However, nearly half would consider visiting such countries for skiing in the future (48%).
Mike Ketteringham, Head of Churchill Travel Insurance commented:
“The SnowFuture Report analyses the factors set to change the winter sports travel industry as we know it - such as climate change and more diverse travel patterns. The result is that tomorrow’s skiers can look forward to a very different skiing experience with visits to far-flung destinations just the tip of the iceberg.”
“By taking a look into the future, we can forecast emerging trends and provide customers with a product and service that reflects their ever-changing needs.”
The SnowFuture Report also reveals:
Over the next 30-40 years, there will be a marked rise in the ‘silver-skier’ - as the market matures along with its main participants who are currently young, male and affluent
Surviving global ski destinations will experience a shorter ski season alongside the shift to higher altitude resorts, potentially creating overcrowding issues on the slopes as holiday-makers seek to make the most of the limited snow.
The inaccessibility of these higher altitude resorts means they are more prone to avalanches, requiring greater assistance from the emergency services.
‘Typical’ ski destinations will begin to diversify to offer year-round programmes of broader activities such as hiking and mountain biking
Ski resorts will invest greater amounts in manufactured snow-production and maintenance technologies, and emerging destinations will create ‘new’ ski indoor resorts, such as the resort currently being developed in Dubai.
“The report shows there could be future implications for ski service-providers and manufacturers of skiing goods. Self-heated clothing, new ski equipment and added sun protection for high-altitude skiers could make for an even more sophisticated and exhilarating holiday.”
“Skiers will also need to consider insurance cover for the risks associated with longer holidays to non-EU destinations, the physically demanding conditions of high-altitude resorts, skiing in high-risk areas and the cost of advanced equipment.”