Poncho/Getty Images


CCSS: 6.SP.B.4, 6.SP.B.5, 7.SP.B.3, 8.SP.A.1, MP1, MP5, MP6

TEKS: 6.12A, 6.12B, 6.12C, 6.12D, 6.13A, 7.6G, 7.12A, 8.5C, 8.11A

Saving Winter Sports

Winter is here, but don’t break out your skis or snowboards just yet. The volume of snow that falls and sticks to the ground in North America has declined by up to 30 percent over the past century. The season known for snow-filled days is becoming milder. And now, weather conditions aren’t optimal for winter sports.

“Warming temperatures are to blame,” says Joel Gratz. He’s a meteorologist at Open Snow, a company that forecasts snow conditions in different areas. The soft, fluffy, freshly fallen powder that skiers dream of is less likely to blanket mountaintops. That’s because snow is melting more quickly or falling as rain instead.

With snow in short supply, ski resorts are turning to snow machines to do the job of Mother Nature. These machines spray out cold water and air to create tiny balls of ice that fall like regular snow.

Snowmaking helps if there is a lack of natural snow, but the process is expensive and gobbles up energy. Ski resorts already use a huge amount of electricity to operate lifts, lights, and buildings. Making artificial snow means using even more. Since most energy produced in the U.S. comes from burning fossil fuels, making snow produces even more carbon emissions. This adds to the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

One way people can help slow climate change is by reducing the amount of fossil fuels we burn. “If the steps we take to reduce carbon emissions lead to lower temperatures, skiers would be happy too,” says Gratz.

Google Quiz

Click the Google Quiz button below to share an interactive version of the questions with your class. Click Download PDF for the non-interactive blank answer sheet.

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Jim McMahon/Mapman ® (map); Poncho/Getty Images (skiier); Shutterstock.com (snow machine); yulkapopkova/E+/Getty Images (snowboarder); iStockPhoto/Getty Images (snowmen, snow)

Answer the following questions using the information in the charts and graphs above. Record your work and answers on our answer sheet.

About how many acres can the Northstar ski resort cover with artificial snow?

A. 500

B. 1,000

C. 1,500

D. 2,000

How many states had 5 to 9 ski areas operating during the 2017-18 winter season?

A. 5

B. 7

C. 9

D. 10

About how many total acres can the resorts in Canada cover with artificial snow?

A. 900

B. 1,200

C. 2,100

D. 4,500

How much did it snow in the 1998–99 season in Mount Baker, Washington?

A. 75.8 in.

B. 189 in.

C. 390 in.

D. 1,140 in.

What percent of states had 20 to 39 ski resorts operating during the 2017–18 winter season?

A. 7%

B. 14%

C. 16%

D. 20%

In which location did it snow a record-setting 0.2 inches per minute?

A. Copenhagen, NY

B. Tamarack, CA

C. Silver Lake, CO

D. Mount Baker, WA

Write a ratio comparing the number of states with 1 to 4 ski areas to states with 40 or more.

If it snowed at the rates in “So Much Snow,” would Silver Lake, CO, or Copenhagen, NY, have more snow after 24 hours?

New York City’s Central Park covers an area of 840 acres. What fraction of the resorts in the chart can cover an area larger than Central Park in artificial snow?

Poll your class on their favorite winter sport. Customize your own poll using the Google form below. Then create a circle graph based on your results.

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