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Climate Change Makes the Future of Nordic Skiing Uncertain

A cross country skier glides along the freshly groomed trails at Cabin Creek Sno Park near Easton, Washington on Dec. 19, 2021. When COVID-19 hit in the winter of 2020, many escaped cabin fever by hitting the ski trails and Nordic skis quickly became the new toilet paper – they were hard to find and sold out in stores. The ski boom has continued as the pandemic makes winter outdoor recreation appealing, but climate change means its future is uncertain. (AP Photo/Martha Bellisle)
A cross country skier glides along the freshly groomed trails at Cabin Creek Sno Park near Easton, Washington on Dec. 19, 2021. When COVID-19 hit in the winter of 2020, many escaped cabin fever by hitting the ski trails and Nordic skis quickly became the new toilet paper – they were hard to find and sold out in stores. The ski boom has continued as the pandemic makes winter outdoor recreation appealing, but climate change means its future is uncertain. (AP Photo/Martha Bellisle)

Winthrop, Wash. (AP) -- For the first time in 32 years, organizers of the Rendezvous Cross Country Ski Festival in West Yellowstone, Montana, had to cancel November’s traditional start-of-the-ski-season event due to a lack of snow.

Some 300 miles away, Soldier Hollow Nordic Center in Utah offered skiing in November by building an elaborate snow-making system while a small operation in Vermont was able to double its ski days after laying new pipe to feed the water-hungry snow-blowers. That wouldn't work at Methow Trails in northern Washington, which can't possibly cover its 200 kilometers (124 miles) of ski tracks with artificial snow; instead, they do snow dances and work on plans to move trails to higher elevation if needed.