Group: Colorado ski industry could ‘melt away’ | SteamboatToday.com

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Group: Colorado ski industry could ‘melt away’

Activists release report on climate change at Breckenridge rally

— Colorado's ski industry is in danger of "melting away" if Congress doesn't act decisively on climate change legislation, said Dana Hoffman, an energy expert with Environment Colorado.

Joined by Summit County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier and Vail Resorts environmental manager Dave November, Hoffman urged federal lawmakers to enact strong curbs on greenhouse gases. She warned that climate change could lead to more extreme weather, less snow and a shorter ski season.

"We can take back the future of our sport … by making a push for clean energy," Hoffman said.

"Global warming is a critical issue here in Summit County," Stiegelmeier said at Wednesday's sparsely attended event at the Blue River Plaza in Breckenridge. "We're the poster child for global warming impacts," she said, singling out the mountain pine beetle invasion as an example of the consequences of climate change.

Stiegelmeier pointed out the high cost of dealing with the aftermath of the pine beetle epidemic. Cleaning up after the bugs can cost as much as $2,000 per acre. Summit County will spend $500,000 in 2010, she said, adding that it could be more cost-effective in the long run to take a proactive approach on climate change.

She said the cost of doing nothing could result in a big hit to Colorado's $3 billion dollar ski industry.

"We need to move a lot faster," she said.