Colo. groups say climate change endangers skiing

Shorter winters and warm weather that brings rain rather than snow spell big trouble for Colorado's ski areas

02-03-2010 // Judith Kohler - Associated Press

This excerpt is from an Associated Press article on climate change threats in Colorado.

Colorado's $2 billion winter sports industry and millions of acres of forests are threatened as climate change causes "oddball winter weather" in the state, business and conservation leaders said Tuesday.

Bark beetles have been able to infest about 3 million acres of pine trees in Colorado without long bouts of subzero weather to kill them, said Joe Duda of the Colorado State Forest Service.

Shorter winters and warm weather that brings rain rather than snow spell big trouble for Colorado's ski areas, said Auden Schendler of the Aspen Skiing Co.

Aspen Skiing has taken steps to become more energy efficient and help cut fossil fuel emissions, which produce greenhouse gases and heat the atmosphere, Schendler said.

"What matters most is getting people in Washington to know that we care about this," Schendler said.

The ski company's chief executive has talked to White House officials and members of Congress. David Dittloff, a regional coordinator with the National Wildlife Federation, said the environmental group has flown hunters and anglers to Washington and worked with American Indian tribes and businesses to promote legislation to reduce greenhouse gases.

"The health of wildlife populations and many species depend on us," Dittloff said.

The economic benefits of Colorado's wildlife total about $3 billion annually, including hunting, fishing and wildlife watching, Dittloff said.

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