As we near the end of 2023, it is becoming increasingly clear that this year is set to be one for the books, albeit not for the right reasons. The World Meteorological Organization has reported that 2023 is on track to become the warmest year on record, with temperatures surpassing all previous records.
According to the organization’s data, which includes information up until the end of October, this year’s temperature has exceeded the preindustrial baseline by approximately 1.4 degrees Celsius. The preindustrial baseline, determined from data gathered between 1850 and 1900, acts as a reference point to gauge the impact of global temperature rise. This rise in temperatures has had several ramifications, including a significant impact on natural-gas prices and even affecting recreational activities such as skiing.
The rising temperatures have led to a decreased demand for heating in households. As the climate gets warmer, people require less warmth to keep their homes comfortable. However, this shift has also meant an increased demand for electricity to power air conditioning systems, compensating for the hotter weather.
One industry heavily affected by the changing climate is the natural gas sector. Nymex natural gas futures for January delivery have plummeted by a staggering 43% this year, equivalent to a loss of $1.94 per million British thermal units. This decline marks the largest one-year percentage drop in natural gas prices since 2006, as reported by Dow Jones Market Data.
The ski resort industry has also felt the brunt of the warmer temperatures. Vail Resorts, based in Colorado, has experienced a decline in its stock value amidst these challenging times. In 2023 alone, the company’s stock has fallen by 8%, following a significant decrease of 27% in the previous year. This marks the first back-to-back annual percentage drop for Vail Resorts since the years ending in 2002, a concerning trend confirmed by Dow Jones Market Data.
Despite these setbacks, Vail Resorts has yet to provide an official comment on the matter. However, during the company’s first-quarter earnings call on December 7th, CEO Kirsten Lynch acknowledged the adverse conditions faced during the early season at Lake Tahoe, situated on the border between California and Nevada.
As we move forward into the new year, it is essential to address the consequences of climate change and search for sustainable solutions to protect our environment and industries affected by these changes.
Vail Resorts Faces Challenges due to Limited Snowfall
Despite the unfavorable weather conditions, Vail Resorts remains confident in its business model. With ownership of 40 resorts worldwide, the company has implemented strategies to shield itself from the impacts of climate change.
Analyst Patrick Scholes from Truist Securities has a positive outlook on Vail’s stock, rating it as a Buy with a target price of $290. In a research note on December 22nd, Scholes highlighted the decline in snowfall across Western Ski Resorts, including those in Colorado, the Cascades, and the Sierra’s, in comparison to 2022.
To support his analysis, Scholes referenced data from Inntopia, a renowned hospitality research platform. Inntopia reported a 6% year-over-year decrease in revenue per available room for Western mountain destinations, attributing this decline to the lack of snowfall.
While warmer temperatures may lead to shorter durations of wearing winter coats and reduced heating bills for individuals, they pose a challenge for families planning a ski getaway.