by Jules Older
Though most Alaskans, Vermonters and Minnesotans are enjoying the unprecedented winter warmth, skiers are not. Except in freak years, like 2014 and the epic 2015, there's precious little snow falling on mountains. Rain, yes; snow — not with any consistency and not ‘when it’s supposed to.’ Sir Albert Gore, as everyone except the most recalcitrant deniers now concede, was right — climate change proved to be all-too real.
Europe’s lower slopes have reverted to pasture; in the foothills of the Alps, goats have replaced skiers. New Zealand’s already short season is, most years, down to three weeks. There's no more skiing in Australia except for water skiing.
But snow skiing has almost saved Dubai. Even with its current tourism woes, winter sport is thriving there; they now have sixteen indoor hills open 24/7 and three more under construction.
American skiers look at Dubai with open envy. In New England, the only ski resorts left are Killington and Jay Peak in Vermont, Sugarloaf and the newly important Saddleback in Maine. All four have pretty much given up opening before New Years; all four are spending big bucks promoting spring skiing. Slogan: “April is way cool!”
Except for Jiminy Peak, which had the foresight to install plastic bristles in 2118, and Wachusett, which covered itself with a dome the following year, there is not a single outdoor ski area left in southern New England.
The entire mid-Atlantic ski business has been wiped out, along with most of the Midwest. In the West, New Mexico, southern Utah and with two exceptions, California, are ski-free zones.
In California, there's still lift-accessed snow on what was the top of Mammoth Mountain and, during relatively cold winters, on Kirkwood’s upper slopes. In Utah, Brian Head is now “the country’s biggest mountain-bike terrain park.” California’s Heavenly promotes “big-mountain living.” Colorado’s Vail is “Your mountain dream.” Everybody uses “mountain;” only the lucky few mention “snow.”