The Ski Resilience Index For Ski Resorts 2021/2022
The Ski Resilience Index ranks 61 global ski resorts based on the quality and reliability of their conditions and their ability to withstand climate change. The five index measures compare snowfall, reliability, season length, altitude and temperature.
Skiing is a sport that depends on reliable weather conditions, so those in the ski industry are well aware of the challenges posed by global warming. The COP26 summit only focused more attention on climate change and made it a priority for governments. The Savills Ski Resilience Index ranks 61 resorts to determine the quality and reliability of their conditions and their ability to cope with the climatic challenges we face.
Zermatt holds the title of the most resilient resort because of its glacier skiing at a high altitude with a summit at 3,900 m high, which gives it a particularly long duration of the skiing season. However, this year two new contenders made it into the top five: Aspen (United States) and Tignes (France) occupy second and third places respectively, thanks to lower average temperatures and high levels of snowfall for the season 2019/20.
Conversely, Saas-Fee (Switzerland), Breuil-Cervinia (Italy) and Vail (United States) all dropped slightly in the rankings due to a drop in snowfall compared to the two previous seasons.
Japan also experienced extreme snowfall last winter, with major ski areas reporting up to 40 inches over the New Years period.
The French Alps have experienced significant snowfall over the past three seasons, benefiting in particular Courchevel, which fell from 44th to 23rd place, thanks to a record of 735 cm of snow in the 2020/21 season.
While snowfall is welcome, too much snow can be problematic. Although the ski resorts have already been closed due to Covid-19, the extreme weather conditions in the Alps in January and March of this year would have brought these ski resorts to a standstill. Japan also experienced extreme snowfall last winter, with major ski areas reporting up to 40 inches over the New Years period. However, this was widely greeted with relief, as winter 2019 brought on board. the driest and hottest summer in 60 years.
Although North America also experienced severe winter storms last season, some resorts experienced back-to-back snowfall. Over the past decade, Aspen, Heavenly, and Vail have all experienced an average 2% decrease in snowfall. A ski resort’s ability to mitigate the challenges posed by climate change is therefore essential.