Where would you move to if you wanted a long-term career on the snow?
December 13, 2021 3:24 PM   Subscribe

If you were wanting to move to work in the ski industry and settle somewhere which is more likely to still have snow in the next few decades, where would you go (North America edition)?

Asking for friends - a 30-ish couple who have been in the ski industry for 10 years, who want to continue to be for both career and recreation, but they want to move somewhere affordable so a family is possible / where there may still be snow for the duration of their careers. They are in Park City, UT now (as am I)....but the long term snow forecast for Park City isn't great snow wise (thanks to climate change and the insane over usage of rivers leading to the Great Salt Lake reducing lake driven snow), and more immediately the housing market anywhere along the Wasatch and in SLC is crazy and housing is unaffordable here for them beyond the rental they are in (luckily they have a super nice landlord in PC who is keeping rent low but may soon look to sell / raise rent considerably given the house has tripled in value in 10 years).

My somewhat glib initial response was "this of course assumes there will be a ski season anywhere in the future". My next glib response was "wherever you think Vail or Alterra are going to buy their next resort - get in before property prices rocket". Neither are helpful (though the second is more pragmatic...).

I assume the answer is no one knows, there are too many variables given climate change, but I thought I'd check if anyone knows of any more serious analysis that is publicly available on where the ski/snow industry may be better in 10/20/30 years and that identifies winning and losing areas (or more accurately losers and even worse losers...)

I realize there are *huge* margins of error involved given inability to predict climate change accurately and that just because a place gets snow doesn't mean it will be viable for the ski industry - i.e. 2 to 3 massive 10 foot dumps of snow randomly does not a ski field make when you need consistent season long snows).

Both are Idaho natives - and likely the Mountain West/PNW/Canada/Alaska are more likely places for them to consider
posted by inflatablekiwi to Work & Money (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: near revelstoke, whistler blackcomb and whitewater in british columbia, or around jasper/banff in alberta. no resort at the jumbo glacier (thankfully) but if they do backcountry skiing, cross country skiing, or overnight camping in the winter for work (like guiding, i guess?) i would look around that area in BC as there is a lot of it there.
posted by zdravo at 3:57 PM on December 13, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I would maybe consider Vermont, which is seeing *more* snowfall in some years (although also more melting because of hotter temperatures). Also, I think it's a somewhat safer place to be in the summer than Western/Canadian mountains in the summer, where wildfires are getting more intense.
posted by pinochiette at 4:04 PM on December 13, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I found this study which predicts that the central Rockies and Sierras (at least those at high elevations) will be least impacted by 2050 -- depending on the breaks.

The supplemental Word docs on that webpage have detailed info on each resort.
posted by credulous at 4:39 PM on December 13, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Of course, anyplace with mountains and snow in the Western part of the US will probably have giant forest fires part of the year.
posted by knownfossils at 4:58 PM on December 13, 2021

Best answer: The Banff, Lake Louise, and Canmore area in Alberta, Canada has a number of options. Sunshine Village Ski Resort is apparently the highest altitude skiing in Canada. There are also options in the Kananaskis nearby. Calgary may apparently be less affected than some other cities by climate change.

Kicking Horse near Golden is also located in a very wintery locale. There are a number of other places in the Kootenays, like Nelson for example that are skiing oriented.
posted by lookoutbelow at 6:53 PM on December 13, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: My next glib response was "wherever you think Vail or Alterra are going to buy their next resort - get in before property prices rocket"

Oh! they should move to Valemount
posted by mannequito at 10:06 PM on December 13, 2021

Best answer: I should note that the splashier resorts often make their own snow when Mother Nature isn't.

There's a handful of ski spots in the Catskills in New York State, and there's been rumblings of a big year-round resort getting built up there within the next few years (it's passed the "towns voting on the resolution" stage last I heard).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:58 AM on December 14, 2021

Best answer: You are not going to be able to get a work visa in Canada to work seasonally at a ski resort. There are too many citizens willing and able to do those jobs for them to go through that amount of paperwork. I know this because I live in eastern bc where a lot of those resorts are. I am a US citizen married to a canadian so I've looked into immigration extensively. Even if you do land a job, you wont be able to continue to live there once your job is over, so you'd need to be able to move back to the US after the season unless one of you wants to go to school and gets accepted to a university.

So. I'd look at US side only.
posted by ananci at 9:33 AM on December 14, 2021

Response by poster: Thanks all - very helpful from you all

Curious if anyone has thoughts on Kalispell / Whitefish area in Montana. Strikes me as odd that none of the mountains (particularly Whitefish Resort) have been picked off by Vail / Alterra yet. And seems like potentially a expanding opportunity given a number of small resorts in the area plus airlift capacity. But am I missing something? (jokes about living in Montana aside / the couple in question grew up in small Idaho towns with extreme Religious backgrounds they escaped from so they get the potential for small town crazy in the Mountain West……

I should note that the splashier resorts often make their own snow when Mother Nature isn't.
Yeah we are 10 minutes from PCMR - which is the largest ski resort in the US, and Deer Valley (which probably is one of the fanciest). Both with massive snow making operations. Problem they are finding this year is that blowing snow takes both cold weather and available water……and both are becoming an issue. PCMR opened with blown snow late this year and barely managed to get 7-8 small white ribbons of death open…..for myself and approximately ten billion other pass holders to use….. :-(
posted by inflatablekiwi at 11:43 AM on December 14, 2021

Whitefish is a great mountain, but it’s punishingly cold in December and January.
posted by Kreiger at 9:49 PM on December 17, 2021

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