Economic analysis of climate change adaptation applied to the alpine skiing industry in Quebec

16:15 Tuesday 28 May

SS018 • OC107

Room S11


Laurent Da Silva (Canada) 1; Katherine Pineault (Canada) 1; Patrick Grenier (Canada) 1; Stéphanie Bleau (Canada) 2

1 - Ouranos; 2 - Ouranos, consortium on regional climatology and adaptation to climate change


In Quebec, as elsewhere in the world, the Alpine skiing industry is suffering from the impacts of climate change. The 2015-2016 winter season further revealed the vulnerability of the industry. An extraordinary warm winter led to a drop of more than 30 % skier visits in some of the ski regions of the province. Considering the anticipated climate evolution in the next decades, it is clear that climate change is a serious threat to ski resorts and the profitability of the activities they support at the organizational level, as well as at the regional level.

The presentation will highlight the results of a financial and economic study on the impacts and adaptation to climate change of Quebec’s alpine skiing industry. The work carried out aims to supply Quebec ski resorts with financial information and decision-making support tools that help them to better integrate climate risk into their strategic planning.


The methodology relies on the development and imbrication of four analytical modules that allow generating results on climate conditions, operating conditions (supply side), skier visits (demand side) and financial conditions for three ski resorts of the Eastern townships (Southern Quebec). The model was built in order to conduct economic appraisal of different adaptations.


Briefly, the results suggest that climate change over the next thirty years will not threaten the very existence of skiing in Quebec. However, major challenges lie ahead that will affect the ability to ensure the quality of the snow cover and the customer experience.

While the increase in snowmaking capacity by adding or upgrading snowmaking equipment is often viewed as the way forward in terms of climate change adaptation, the study demonstrates that it could generate poor financial profitability in a climate change context. Therefore, ski resort must broaden the range of adaptation measures they consider in order to maintain their activities in the long run.


The scientific contribution of the project are numerous and will be discussed in the presentation. The analytical framework developed is a modelling tool that reproduces with great precision the operating context of ski resorts. Most importantly, it tries to bridge the gap between climate change science and the need to build decision support tools that are more aligned with the organizational context of touristic organization and private sector in general.