"This has been what I'm now calling the 'cruelest' winter I've ever seen," exclaims the CEO of one California ski resort... and he is right. According to official records, California's snowpack is the lowest on record for this time of year at around a mere 20% of the average since records began.
And while all eyes are focused on dry river beds and fields of dust, the maountainous ski resort areas are seing their economies devastated. As Bloomberg reports,
Last year Vail reported a 28 percent drop in skier visits at its California resorts, and the company warned investors that its financial results would be worse than anticipated.
Those numbers reflect what could be a larger contraction of Tahoe’s ski industry. Seasonal and part-time hiring has slid 27 percent over the last three years, according Patrick Tierney, a professor of recreation, parks, and tourism at San Francisco State University, and spending on ski-related services has decreased from $717 million a year to $428 million. An older analysis by the San Francisco Reserve Bank showed that the value of resort-area homes in places like Tahoe can depend heavily on climate; even a 2-degree increase could cut home values by more than 50 percent.
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The drought is getting worse... not better.