Winter tourism and climate change: Exploring local and non-local snowmobilers’ perceptions of climate change and adaptation behaviors

Publication Date


Document Type


Publication Title

Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism






Climate change poses great risks to winter tourism, and snowmobiling is one of the most vulnerable recreation activities under changing climate conditions. Research on climate change and winter tourism primarily focuses on how the winter season changes in different emission scenarios. Little is known about tourists' demands of winter tourism activities under climate change and related adaptation behaviors, especially for snowmobilers. This study collects data from snowmobilers in Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST), and compares local and non-local snowmobilers’ preferences for snowmobiling conditions, perceptions about climate change on VAST trails, and adaptation behaviors to varying scenarios of climate change. Results indicate that the quality of snowmobiling is influenced by four factors (i.e., trail encounters, trail scenic views, trail accessibility/connectivity, and trail feature diversity). Whereas non-local snowmobilers have a higher desirability for the diversity of trail features than local snowmobilers, local snowmobilers are more sensitive to climate change conditions than non-local snowmobilers. Moreover, study results suggest that local snowmobiling markets are more vulnerable than non-local snowmobiling markets to future climate change scenarios. Study findings provide land managers guidance for maintaining high quality snowmobiling experiences and adaptation planning strategies for local and non-local snowmobiling markets under future climate change scenarios.

Funding Sponsor

University of Vermont


Adaptation behaviors, Adaptation planning, Climate change, Snowmobile, Vermont, Winter tourism


Hospitality, Tourism, and Event Management