Winter sports are under threat.
The multi-billion dollar industry…
…the livelihood for many mountain communities,
faces a double problem.
The popularity of skiing and snowboarding is declining in the rich world.
and resorts are having to cope with a warming climate.
This luxury hotel is the birthplace of winter sports.
Welcome to the Kulm Hotel in St Moritz, Switzerland.
In the 19th century,
Switzerland was a popular summer destination for English tourists.
The owner of the Kulm at the time…
…Johannes Badrutt, wanted to fill his hotel all year round.
Nobody came in winter.
The people were afraid of avalanches, of cold.
So in 1864 he made a whisky-fuelled wager with some English guests.
We are in front of this fireplace where the famous bet was done.
The last English guests were about to leave
and he offered if they come in winter and they like it…
他提出 如果英国旅客冬天前来 并且满意的话
…they could stay as long as they want.
If they didn’t like it,
he would reimburse them all the travel expenses.
The Englishmen returned for Christmas
And became so hooked on snow pursuits that they stayed for three months.
Soon, others followed and winter holidays were born.
不久后 其他人也跟着冬季入住 寒假由此诞生
Along with their tweed suits and pinafores,
the English guests brought their love of competition.
With the post-war economic boom
and the introduction of mechanised ski-lifts in the 1960s,
winter sports soon became all the rage.
Fashionable ski-suits appeared on the slopes.
And while the style of the time was questionable,
the industry brought wealth to poor mountain valleys.
But these days the outlook is darkening.
Skiers in rich countries are gradually leaving the sport,
and younger people are less inclined to take it up.
Many head to cheaper, hotter destinations for winter sun.
In the last ten years,
the number of skiers in the world’s major ski destinations has fallen.
Locals here are worried.
Ladies and gentlemen, we now welcome the British team.
The team is ready for start, the run is clear, let’s go!
英国队预备 赛道无障碍 出发！
For St Moritz and other mountain towns like it,
winter sports are essential to people’s livelihoods.
St Moritz would not be the same without winter sport.
It is very important for the local economy.
They have a lot of jobs.
It’s very important for the local people.
Another major worry is the warming climate.
Since pre-industrial times, average global temperatures have risen by one degree.
But the Alps are well above average.
Temperatures here have risen by two degrees.
In the Swiss town of Davos,
scientists have been measuring the amount of snowfall,
and the depth of the snowpack for nearly a century.
The snow season starts later and it ends earlier,
so that means the duration of snow cover is getting shorter.
Even though there was a lot of snow in Davos this year,
long-term trends show snowfall has been declining for decades.
And the depth of the snowpack has been thinning since the 1950s.
Ski resorts have responded to the problem
by investing heavily in snowmaking machines.
If there is less and less natural snow,
it means the lower elevated ski resort gets in trouble.
Currently, they invest a lot in the production of artificial snow.
Artificial snow uses a lot of power and water.
It’s clear that there will be less snow in the future.
The question is just how much less and how fast this process goes.
In some places, snowmaking has allowed resorts to extend the ski season.
But in a warming climate, resorts will increasingly look like this.
Many may close by the end of the century
because they will not have enough natural snow,
and they will be too warm even to make artificial snow.
Take this region of the eastern Alps,
scientists calculate that if temperatures increase by two degrees,
about 15% of resorts may have to give up on skiing.
If temperatures rise by four degrees, 60% may be forced to close.
The big hope for winter sports now lies in Asia.
Here in Pyeongchang, South Korea, they are hosting this year’s Winter Olympics.
The popularity of this year’s Games and the next here in China in 2022
will be crucial to attracting new enthusiasts to the sport.
China and South Korea are both cold in winter,
but neither Olympic venue has much natural snow.
Yet the organisers here are confident the Games will be a success.
South Korea in the winter time is actually the dry season,
however the Pyeongchang region at 700 metres above sea level
is perfect to make artificial snow.
The snow quality will be up at the Olympic level.
In Chinese ski resorts, such as this one in Chongli district,
winter sports is already booming.
The number of skiers and snowboarders is increasing by about 20% a year.
It is estimated that nearly 500 new resorts
will be built in China ahead of the 2022 Winter Games.
In 1864 Johannes Badrutt made a gamble that paid off.
The Kulm Hotel has remained a favourite destination for wealthy winter-sports fans.
St Moritz is high up in the Alps,
so the fun is likely to continue for decades to come.
But even here, they’ll have to rely more heavily on snow cannon.
That’s expensive, and the cost will be passed on to the skiers,
making the sport even more expensive and exclusive.
On top of this, power-hungry snow cannon produce more greenhouse gases,
those will add to global warming,
that’s melting the snow and ice.