Comment on “Abandoned mines, mountain sports, and climate variability: Implications for the Colorado tourism economy”



An article in Eos (23 September 2003) focused on the Snake River Basin in Summit County, Colorado, and relied extensively on a water quality study conducted by Hydrosphere Resource Consultants at Keystone Resort. As the authors of this study, we wish to correct and clarify several points regarding the results of our investigations, as well as comment on the articles overall findings regarding Colorado's ski industry.

The article's overall premise is that climate variability, combined with the legacy of acid rock drainage (ARD), has created a complex environment in which Colorado's tourism economy must operate. Colorado's ski industry and the Snake River Basin serve as case studies. While we generally agree with the premise that the Colorado tourism industry's operating environment is complex, we differ with the authors' theories regarding the environmental factors driving snow-making expansion and four-season resort development. The authors make presumptions about the ski industry and Keystone that are inaccurate. In fact, the ski industry may not be the most appropriate tourism sector for illustrating the impacts of climatic variations.