In Vermont, snowmobiling is a popular winter pastime. But as the climate warms, winters are getting shorter and warmer, and there are fewer days with snow on the ground.

Manning: “The climate is changing in ways that really threaten the viability of snowmobiling as an outdoor recreation activity.”

That’s Robert Manning, professor emeritus at the University of Vermont. He conducted a survey of snowmobilers in the state and found that many have noticed the changing conditions.

Manning: “They had noticed, for example, that the snowmobiling season has become shorter than it used to be. The snow is not as deep and as regular as it used to be.”

Of the snowmobilers who noticed the shorter season, almost three quarters reported hitting the trails less often.

With 5,000-plus miles of snowmobile trails in Vermont, artificial snow isn't really an option. Click To Tweet

There’s no easy fix. Although ski slopes can make their own snow in winter, there are more than 5,000 miles of snowmobile trails in Vermont. There’s just too much ground to cover for artificial snow to be an option.

So as winters get warmer, snowmobiling may be in trouble.

Manning: “In the not too distant future, we think that snowmobiling may become unsustainable in Vermont.”

Reporting credit: Mark Knapp/ChavoBart Digital Media.

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