Critical Conversations in Michigan Tourism 2022: Climate Change and Winter Sports and Recreation (Session 2)

December 12, 2022

Video Transcript

I'm happy to have you all here because I'll quickly introduce myself. My name is Garrett Ziegler. I'm gonna be kinda emptying this meeting today or this webinar today. It's a session to, as part of our critical conversations and Michigan tourism around sustainability and climate change. And today we're gonna be talking about specifically climate change and impacts on winter sports and recreation. We all know that winter sports, winter recreation, winter activities are a big part of Culture here in Michigan. One of the only ways to stay sane and a Michigan winter is to try and get outside as much as you can and enjoy the snow while we have it. So this is an important conversation to think through what the future might look like for winter sports and recreation in light of some of the potential impacts from climate change. So just wanted to make sure everybody was aware that this program, this series of webinars are really a project of our entire MSU Extension tourism development team. We have a number of different programs that we do. I'm related to tourism development, economic development through tourism and sustainability around tourism across the state, we have a team of folks that you can see there that are based all around the state. We have campus-based faculty that work with our team and you'll hear from one of them on this presentation today, Dan, Nicole. But really we're a small team, but we do a lot of great work all across the state. So if you have an interest in any of these programs listed here, definitely check out our website and kinda see some of the different work we do. But just wanted to make sure you are aware that this is kind of a program of a larger effort that we have around tourism and tourism development here at MSU Extension. So today we're mainly going to be talking about, as I said, climate change and Michigan winter sports and recreation. We have a few objectives we are hoping folks will take away from today and things we want to make sure that we're trying to accomplish in the webinar today. So really, first and foremost, we want to be able to provide a baseline understanding of how climate change is impacting and will be impacting winter sports and recreation in Michigan. We're hoping to show how winter sports businesses are currently working to mitigate potential climate change impacts through integration of sustainability practices. And also thinking through like beyond those mitigation strategies and kind of reduction in greenhouse gas emissions at our winter sports and recreation facilities. Also, how are what does the future look like and how can we adapt, build resiliency into those business operations to ensure that they are sustainable into the future based off of a possible uncertain future climate situation. So that's really what we're gonna be talking about today. And to do that, we have some great speakers. So Dan Nicole, who's a professor in our Department of Community Sustainability, is going to be kicking things off today and really providing that kind of baseline understanding of what does the climate look like in terms of winter sports and recreation here in Michigan? And how was that going to be changing? As we move into the future? We've got John Melcher, who is the CEO of crystal Mountain Ski Resort here in Michigan. And he's going to really be giving us that business example of how crystal mountain has worked through looking to mitigate their impacts on climate change, as well as adapting and building resiliency into their future operations in light of the future climate change impacts. And then I'll kinda close things out by offering some resources that are available in the industry. Programs that are out there to help folks that maybe working in winter sports and recreation or a community that relies on that tourism as part of their local economy. To kind of think through what are some strategies we can do to help address some of these challenges that we first see as a result of climate change. And I think with that, I'm going to hand things over to Dan. One thing I didn't do that I probably should have done was offer you all the option to introduce yourselves in the chat. If you want to do that while Dan's getting his screen setup here, just let us know who you are and you're coming from so we can get an idea of who's here in the room. But yeah, we'll look those trickle in and keep an eye on the chat to see those. But other than that, Dan, I'm going to pass it over to you. Thanks, Garrett. So yeah, welcome everybody. And good afternoon. It is I'm looking out the window here in well, OK. Mess right next to East Lansing and I see little snow flurry. Quite appropriate. And yesterday it was 54 degrees, which is also appropriate for this conversation. Just to give you an idea, we'll be talking about a lot of climate forecasts that modelers have done. Looking at a number of different scenarios going forward for how climate change might impact Michigan. And that is not a precise science, right? We have models there. They continue to be informed by data, but they're not perfect. They're not perfect forecast. But even more difficult than, than forecasting. What's going to happen with the climate is how people will react to it. People are completely unpredictable. So I'm not going to talk about what is likely to, what's gonna happen with tourism and outdoor recreation, Michigan, because who knows what new technologies will happen? We'll come around, well, who knows how people adapt, how people will behave. That's really for us to think about together as we go forward. So I'll just sort of present a little bit of how climate is likely to impact winter. And we know about climate change. And if you were on the webinar we had two weeks ago, will and Elliot did an excellent job of outlining climate change and what it is and why it's happening. Overview a little bit of that today, I would really encourage you to go back and watch that. What's interesting about this one is the one that the models for the climate models for winter are little bit more clear than they are for other times of the year. In winter, as I'll talk about in a couple of minutes, is a little different. So let's jump right into that. So just a quick, I wouldn't even call this a review, but a couple of the slides that will and Elliott showed last year were probably things you've seen. The climate is warming and global temperature is warming over time. You can see this is the trend 1920-2020. We've seen an increased air temperature in Michigan to 0.3 degrees, 1951-2017. That's an average temperature which is pretty significant. And looking forward, we're likely to see a greater increase by 2050 and other three to six degrees increase by the end of 20, by the end of this century AD years from now, six to 11 degree increase depending on a lot of different factors. What we do to mitigate, as well as other factors that go into the models. But as I said, the impact winter will be different in a few ways. So first, the models, as I said, are more consistent regarding winter precipitation than summer. There's greater variation in the forecasting models. In other seasons, winter is a little bit more consistent. Among the different models that are forecasting climate. Cold seasons are warming faster than warm seasons. You'll sometimes hear the term cold weather warming. The impact on different colder regions and colder seasons is greater than in the summer and in summer places. Colder times of the day are warming faster than warmer times of the day. So those deep cold temperatures in the middle of the night aren't, are warming faster than in the middle of the day. Colder places are warming faster than warmer places. And evidence of that is Great Lakes states are warming faster than other states in the US. Not just great lake states, other northern states to, but because the colder places are warming faster than if you look at this map that shows the warming of winters in the US, you can see that the darker the red, the more, the higher the average change in temperature is increasing. You can see the northern part of the US and then a stretch there in the Rocky Mountains are where you see the greatest impact on winter temperatures. So what are we likely to see in Michigan? Well, shorter winters, Elliott and we'll talked about that last week. Shorter cold season, less ice cover. Not we talk a lot about the Great Lakes because the Great Lakes are studied so much, but that'll be less ice cover on all lakes. More lake effect snow mostly coming from the Great Lakes. And just a greater variability. La did a nice job of talking about all the greater variability that we're likely to see. We're going to see greater highs and more frequent high records and low records. So if you think about a graph that goes up and down, it might trend in a certain way, but we're going to see higher and lower peaks, or higher peaks and lower valleys in those kind of graphs. And that goes for precipitation will see more heavy precipitation events. We'll see more higher temperatures and more lower temperatures at both extremes. Even though the trend is upward. Ice coverage, there'll be greater variability year-to-year and ice coverage. And one of the things they talked about as Great Lakes water levels, which which can impact a lot of things in all seasons. So one of the things that is forecasts and LEA talked about this last week was that there's likely to be more snowfall in Michigan. And a lot of people are kinda confused by that. Well, we're supposed to have warmer temperatures but more snowfall. Well, there's sort of asterisk that goes on that. So let's talk about before we get into explaining that. I think it's good to understand lake effect snow because that is the greatest reason for this variability. So imagine here's a little visual that, that'll give us an idea. So I guess we can imagine this is Lake Michigan here and we have Wisconsin over here, and Michigan on the east side. And so as the water in the Great Lakes is warming and cold wind which moves you typically from west to east, comes across the lake. The water evaporates into the cold. When the cold wind actually accelerates evaporation, precipitation forms in the sky. It rises, and then when it gets to a cold enough area, it drops snow and it drops snow onto the areas leeward. In our case, on the western part of, of the Lower Peninsula and the northern part of the Upper Peninsula. So this is kind of how lake effect works. Now, imagine that there isn't warm water here, and in fact, there's ice on here. There's nothing to evaporate. Ice doesn't evaporate. Water evaporates, right? Isis and a different form. So it doesn't go from, you know, from solid to gaseous form right away. And so when there is ice, there is less evaporation and less lake effect. On colder and colder years we see less lake effect snow. Conversely, in warmer years we see more. Here's a look at the ice coverage in 1979, which is the highest and last 40 years since they've really started taking good records of this is, I think 94% lake coverage. Lake ice ice coverage over the Great Lakes. Compare that to the lowest, which was in 2012, which was much lower. I think, I want to say 13% of ice coverage then, right? So there's a lot more water available to evaporate and a warmer season. And if we're likely to have more warm seasons, there's going to be more lake effect snow. We've seen this chronicling. Yep. There are peaks actually in, I think 2019, 2020 or maybe 2018, 2019. They were too high. Ice coverage years it was pretty cold, but the trend has definitely been toward less ice cover over the last 40 years. And that trend is with some confidence expected to continue. And you can see here where the snow goes, the white areas are the areas that typically get lake effect snow in the Great Lakes area. You can look over here at Buffalo. And if you're if you're familiar with what happened there a couple of weeks ago, they got I'm not sure if it was a record snowfall, but I think it was 6 ft of snow. And in fact, the Buffalo Bill's NFL game, Michigan tours and benefited a little bit from that By the game against it against Cleveland was moved to Detroit because there's too much snow in the stadium in Buffalo. So yeah, these are the areas where there's going to be lake effect snow. And so when we talk about more snowfall, average snowfall in a year in Michigan, it's really in these areas. The areas that are not white are actually going to see some pretty decent decreases in snow in the coming years. But these areas are going to see enough increase lake effect snow to make the averages over Michigan higher. So this idea of more snowfall I mentioned, there's an asterisk. Asterisk that goes with that. One will see a decrease in non lake effect snow. So if you break snow into lake effect and non-linear effect, we're likely to see less non lake effect snow. And that's why those other areas outside of the lake effect zones are likely to see less decreases and snow increase in lake effect snow. As for the regions, there is some expansion of the regions that are getting impacted by lake effect snow. I'm, there's also one of the things that impacts lake effect. Snow is the wins and window winds are coming from. Because more time over the Great Lakes allows there to be more gathering of water. And so like if you get a win that's coming from the south heading north and north easterly direction, you might get more lake effect snow. So how, where the winds are coming from will also impact this. And if there's changes there in the climate. Than the zones that get lake effect, snow could see some changing, but generally, there's likely to be a slight increase in the areas that are impacted by lake effect snow. So yeah, again, the areas that don't get lake effect will see decreases in snowfall. There will also, along with increased snowfall, there will be increased winter rainfall. And for those who like to protect their snow and they have it, rain is not good. Either helps to accelerate the melting or it can change the conditions. And that gets to the fact that there will be quicker melts in of the snowfall. So we might see greater amounts of snowfall, but not necessarily increase snow packs even in those areas where they get lake effect snow. So they might get a pretty large dumping of snow during one event, but then it'll melt away much quicker. I actually tried to find out what was going on in Buffalo, like how much snow is still left? I didn't get an answer to that. If anyone knows, please add it to the chat. But I wonder how much of that snow has already gone away. I know we got quite a bit of snow here in the East Lansing area and it is all gone. The other thing with the increased snowfall, It's only expected for the next few decades. Then at some point there won't be an increase in snowfall, even in those in those lake effect areas because the temperatures will just be so much warmer that it'll just be more rain. When it hits the Great Lakes, it'll won't be warm enough, you won't be cold enough to snow. So why only the next few decades and an increase in heavy precipitation events, but ice coverage on the Great Lakes are the big takeaways there. The other thing with the increased variability in all of this, it makes you wonder, and again, you can't predict human behavior, but you can imagine that it's harder to accept that things are changing when you can have a relatively recent memory of things being not so bad, right? Like we had a cold winters, lots of snow last year. So 0 is a climate really changing. And so if you're trying to impact change or policy, and I imagine that some of this will come into our next webinar in this series that gets into local government and things. It's humans are by nature resistant to change. And when we have something that we can grasp onto, like, Oh, well, last year or three years ago, it wasn't so bad. That can sort of change. It can give people a skewed picture of what's actually happening. Whereas you really need to look at the data over time and that the real changes and impacts of that. Some of this is a great analogy as the frog and the increasing hot water pan being boiled. So what is the impact on winter tourism, an outdoor recreation. Again, who knows coming forward, going forward, what the impacts will be. But we can, we can sort of speculate and I think everybody here in the group can speculate and I'd invite you to do so in the chat and then we'll have some chance at the end of our presentations today. But we're already seeing many changes and things like this. I'm just grabbing some random headlines here, Cairo and the thumb, their winter fest canceled for the third year in a row. Now this was in 2021. This was because of COVID, but it was also because of weather in the two previous years had nothing to do with COVID. It really has to do with weather and they don't need much snow to run their winter fast, but they do need cold temperatures because they flood fields so that they can get ice for our snowmobile racing, That's a signature part of their winter fest. More festivals, ice fishing festivals, snowmobile festivals, winter festivals are going to have more scheduling difficulties. Some might get canceled or some might change altogether to have a different theme that isn't so dependent on cold weather or snow or other things. Snomed. According to the International snowmobile Managers Association, snowmobile cells are down 70% from 1997. So we're seeing fewer people by snowmobiles. And you can imagine if you think about Michigan, the population is mostly in the Southern part of the state, especially in the Southeast part. But it's a longer trip to go use your snowmobile as there's less and less snow and more people going further up North and a lower peninsula and into the Upper Peninsula and into the northern parts of the Upper Peninsula sometimes in order to be able to use our snowmobiles. So they're buying fewer of them. And that shouldn't come as a surprise. In fact, and this was somewhat controversial. The Michigan snowmobile Association, a couple of years ago, changes. Well more than its name, it changed its mission to be the Michigan snowmobile and 0 RV association. And so one of the things we are seeing is an increase in RVs. And as people want to just get out in the winter and drive their machines around. If they can't use the snowmobile, maybe they can use a side-by-side and we're seeing increases in sales and side-by-side and other off-road vehicles. And this, of course, creates some tensions, especially with, you know, if you have a side-by-side and you don't have a snow machine, you can ride a side-by-side. You don't need snow to ride a side-by-side, but you can write it on snow and that adds an element of fun. And their increased conflicts between snowmobile or is and, and NOR veers. So we'll see some of this happening as well as the toys that people have are different. And they, you know, it's sort of like in the ski in the downhill ski industry. When snowmobile snowboards came around, there was a lot of conflict between skiers and snowboarders that still exists today. Even though it's been 30, 40 years since we've had snowboards. And speaking of downhill, one of the adaptations that the downhill ski industry and we'll hear about more of that from John. Snow. Making is helping to protect down a hill ski areas which they have a manageable size that they can make snow onto. So that's a little easier than like snowmobile trails as an example. I'm sure John, I'll talk a little bit about snow making, but I just wanted to give an introduction there. And before I turn it over to them, one of the things that Garrett talked about earlier was mitigation and adaptation. And I imagine that John is going to share both of the things that both of these at crystals. So mitigation is, as it says here in this slide, that Elliot and we'll shared last week or two weeks ago was action to reduce emissions that cause climate change. So you're trying to create fewer carbon emissions, leave a smaller footprint. Carbon footprint and adaptation is adapting to the changes that are happening no matter what. And so different ways of adapting. So you'll hear those terms, mitigation and adaptation a lot when you talk about climate. And I think we'll hear about some of the concepts from John. So without further ado, we don't need that slide just yet. But without further ado, I'll turn it over to John Melcher, the CEO of crystal Mountain Resort and a friend of mine, and we're really happy that he's I've been able to take this time here today. Thanks, Dan and great to join all of you this afternoon and we'll get our slides up here. So great. Thanks again for the invitation to kinda talk about our sustainability initiatives at crystal mountain. And certainly for us being a weather dependent business and particularly snow farming. With our ski operations, sustainability, mitigation and adaptation are paramount to our success. And it's also just good business. And we've experienced the challenges with climate change. And we certainly wanna do our best to take care of our environment, which is why we believe our responsibility to mitigate these challenges. Action and advocacy are so important and it's something we've been focused on for many years. And we continue to look for ways to improve our stewardships, similar to any other aspect that we might try to improve with our company. And quite simply, the culture of sustainability is woven into our business. So let me give you a little background on crystal. We're a family-owned for season resort that has been that began back in 1956 as a community scared ski area. And today our winter playground includes 59 downhill slopes over 103 acres. We've got 25 km of cross-country trails, 10 km of fat tire bike trails, good ice skating and a host of activities like sleigh rides and snow shoeing. And after the snow melts and the grass turns green where a busy summer vacation destination with 36 holes of golf. We've got an alpine slide, outdoor water park, outdoor adventure course, climbing wall, zip line, mountain biking, hiking, and also seen a shear lip rides. And in all seasons we can sleep around 1,800 people a night in a variety of accommodations, from hotel style accommodations up to three storey townhouses, were also home to the Michigan legacy art park. And also we've got a spot at crystal that it's won a few awards. And then we've also host a meeting at conferences and weddings. In our 32,000 square foot Conference Center. We're located on a 1,500 acre campus that's hilly and forested. It's about 20 mi southwest or Traverse City. And we welcome About 350,000 visitors annually. And as a resort, regional resort destination and residential community. We do have quite an impact on the economy, including being one of the largest employer employers. And our five county area in winter, we employ around 670 people in summer or around 550 people. With our year-round full-time equivalent, or FTE is around 375. Employees with labor and benefits exceeding $20 million annually. We're honored to have received recognition from our peers and others, but certainly more grateful for the opportunity it's provided us to learn and share best practices with others in our industry and our communities. And certainly it's a collective, ongoing effort as we're discussing today. Now that you know a little bit about crystal, let's take a look under the hood to understand what drives us and what our core values are and how does this relate to our culture of sustainability? So our first core value is a pledge to respect, serve, and sustain our two most valuable assets, our people and our environment, as the destination, our own land and nearby attractions like Lake Michigan, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore are certainly great differentiators for us. And it's essential to the sustainability of all businesses including ours, that we respect, maintain and protect these very important assets. But it's not just the physical environment. The quality of the crystal experience is also linked to interactions with the human environment. And we use systems thinking in our business, where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts and it's all our different businesses, activities, people, and amenities that really make a crystal mountain what it is. And when we were developing the concept for our spot, our Chairman and Founder Gym again, a sketch this circle with 24 activity spokes that contribute to a healthy lifestyle. And this lifestyle is not just for our guests, but it's also important for the people who serve our guests. And as part of our sustainability commitment, we provide our employees and their families with access to the 24 spokes on this wheel, as well as robust health and dental insurance. And certainly to sustain a high level of customer service, we need to take care of the people that are serving our guests. Another important example of our commitment to sustainable use of our environment is our ongoing investment in land use planning. And we work with a design team to help make decisions that respect the land's unique characteristics. Work programmatically with what we're doing, but also scale to a level that make physical sense. Our second core value which permeates every decision that we make is quality. And we believe that sustainability is inherent in quality because it helps create that authentic signature experience. And e.g. we source much of our food locally. We were also the first to build a leed certified as spot in the Midwest and was one of only four in the nation. And in 2009 that uses 28% less energy than a baseline structure. And within this facility, we use products that are environmentally friendly, effective, and contribute to well-being. But we also use these signature spawn entities and our guests rooms in bulk containers, which takes about 150,000 plastic bottles out of our waste streams annually. And it not only is it good for the environment, but the bulk dispensing is good business with around a 30% savings in room amenity costs annually. So here's another example of the intersection between quality and sustainability. Certainly as a drive to destination, we're concerned about the environment and we've actively supported the growth of the electrical vehicle market for many years and we currently have some EVs and hybrids in our fleet. And we're planning to convert our total vehicle fleet, which is about 50 vehicles over to ED as soon as work configured models are available, which looks like that on the short horizon here. But in the interim, we are working on plans to expand our charging infrastructure similar to what's happening on MSU's campus. And we certainly been proud that crystal was a Teslas first charging station location and Michigan north of Detroit many years ago. So we've been, we've been focused on this for quite some time. Our third core value of safety and then certainly job one at crystal is making sure that it's a place, a safe place to live, work, learn and play. And an example is the design of our village as a walkable community. And certainly the environmental and health benefits are obvious. But reducing motorized traffic also makes it safer place for all of us and we certainly encourage our guests when they arrived to park the cars for the duration of their stay. And just take advantage of the walkability that we've designed within that resort. So our fourth Valley core value is collaboration and partnerships and certainly how we do things, because we believe that creates the highest value over time and leverages the appropriate subject matter experts and the late George patriots, who was one of the founders of Black Hills, which was the genesis of crystal mountain. In our former president believed a person is known by the company one keeps. And we're privileged to work with organizations like Shui land electric cooperatives that share our values. Cherry land right now provides our power and it's currently 62% carbon-free in 19% renewable. And they're striving to do even more in modeling the way with Michigan's first utility scale wind farm and a Michigan's first community solar array. Also in 1995, we set aside a 30 acre preserve at the resort, which is home to the mission legacy art park, a non-profit organization. Which features a permanent collection of almost 50 sculptures along of what a trail that connects art, nature and Michigan's history. And the art park hosts thousands of visitors and students each year. It also hosts the summer concert series and it's amphitheater, and provides workshops and education programs to our community year-round. Our fourth core value is earning a profit. And we certainly believe doing right by the environment is also a good business. And our sustainability initiatives are as simple as replacing a 300, 150 watt incandescent bulb, light bulbs in this building here with 13 watt LED bulbs. And that energy savings is equivalent to powering our Chevy Bolt 200,000 mi per year. These lamps also provide the same amount of lumens with 92% less energy, which also reduces the heat generated, which in turn reduces the buildings chillers cooling load by about 12 tons. In those same chillers use 50 degree well-watered for cooling, which then eliminates the need for cooling towers. And then we irrigate our golf courses with that water. In 2018 as part of an expansion to the n at the mountain, we installed a closed loop geothermal heating and cooling system. While more expensive upfront, it's about 48% more efficient than its traditional counterparts. And Jim, again, a C is also our resident electrical engineer, refers to it as the underground wind turbine. In the system uses 13 heat pumps, 24 wells that are 460 ft deep in the ground with around five 5 mi of a piping using electricity to take advantage of the 50 degree ground chapter, both in summer and winter. We also use high-efficiency motors with variable frequency drives to match horsepower to flow or making snow. And also irrigating our two golf courses. And we use a round 1 mw of electricity during our peak season when not making snow. And then we go up to about 4.5 mw war making snow. Efficient motors make a big difference in our application. We also deploy large diameter still making pipe to reduce friction loss when feeding are 172 snub bonds. And we also utilize high efficiency power transformers as well, and they each contribute to help us out. Our next core value, number six is, is fun. And then certainly that's the magic of our business. And we believe that are kind of fun, which is on the ski slopes, are riding their bikes, taking on the adventure course, playing golf, relaxing and the spot or a hike in the woods contribute to our businesses sustainability because these are authentic experiences that create cherished memories for our guest today and the future and bring him back year after year. But certainly in order to keep having fun and our playground, we have to adapt to the challenges with difficult whether in all seasons and one way that we've inoculated our businesses against the challenging winners is to build out a robust non winter business and something that many ski areas across the country are doing as well. And again, we take a systems approach. And when we we looked at building out the non winter activities, we looked at programming to attract guests, looking for summer activities with fresh air and something to do for, for everyone. And certainly our vast outdoor campus is well-positioned for the year around traffic. And our location also makes us a great place to base out of four, uh, folks who enjoy the other amenities and activities that the Northern Michigan has to offer. In our philosophy and approach has always been to take the long view with the thoughtful incremental growth. And over the last 30 years, we've improved our golf operations with two beautiful golf courses. We've added a spine fitness center that provide year-round programming. We've also added an outdoor water park with a climbing wall and then adventure course. We've also got the Alpine slide in Michigan. And then we've recently expanded our mountain bike programming in trails to include the chair lift assisted downhill trails. In another big component of our winter mitigation strategy is our 32,000 square foot Conference Center, where we host a meeting conferences, weddings, and events throughout the year. And this year we saw strong return of corporate groups this year looking for in-person interaction after two-and-a-half years of remote work. And we've also added events to our schedule like the beer and rock festival in May. We've also got a peak to peak mountain bike race in October. And then we also host the Michigan Women's Open in June. That's just to name a few of the events that we do and all of these efforts really do allow us to better balance the seasonality of our business and also utilize our assets like the chair lifts, which are expensive to build and certainly expensive to maintain. So it's great to leverage them year round. And this also allows us to provide more year round jobs, which is really a win-win. Certainly. It certainly is great for our employees and then also helps us with our staff retention efforts. Certainly in these challenging a few years that we've all experienced. Climate change isn't just a challenge for us. In winter, summertime has brought significant rain events that have flooded our buildings, threatened Key Infrastructure, and destroyed our roads. And an example of this is a rain event two years ago that caused our irrigation ponds to rate to rise about 18 " in 2 h during a rainstorm, despite our efforts to evacuate the water with our irrigation pumps. And so this led to around a half million dollar investment into a gravity flood prevention system that will evacuate the water, even if we do lose a power, which is, which is pretty unusual. But it's certainly something that helps us all sleep better at night, Certainly when those summer storms come up, come blowing in our way. We've also experienced damaging straight line winds and certainly the valence of prevalence of insects with our warm winters, like the emerald ash borer have greatly impacted our forests and to better manage our forests. We've actually hired a forest or to work with us to manage and care for our woods. And also in conjunction with those efforts, clean up the dead fall to reduce the risk of wildfires, which seemed to be more frequent across the country. And also in Michigan. We're also seeing more extreme heat and drought events, which is certainly a challenge when caring for 36 holes of golf and also expansive gardens. And as such, we are currently investing upwards of three-and-a-half million dollars to upgrade our golf course irrigation system that will be more precise, efficient, and reliable to protect our investment in those courses. Then of course, there's winter in certainly gone are the days when ski areas can rely solely on natural snow. And there are still a few out that rely on actual snow, but it's certainly a significant challenge, particularly the further south you go. We used to make snow until the first few weeks of January, but that approach has changed with a frequent warm-ups and thoughts that we've been experiencing. I relocated to Northern Michigan from the Cleveland, Ohio area 20 years ago. And in that short time, I've seen a big difference in whether we're now experiencing winter weather than I used to experience back in Northeast Ohio with frequent warm-ups and thaws throughout the winter. And as such, a crystal, we're now making snow into mid-March in order to keep the slopes open and the lift spinning. And as mentioned before, were certainly the ultimate instrumentalists carefully and thoughtfully investing our precious capital over the long term. And as such, you know, every year we're improving our snow making system. And so we're now up to 172 guns across 103 acres of scalable terrain. And given the right conditions, we can make a lot of snow in short order. And that would be about a foot of snow over our entire slopes in about 45 h. And ideal snow making petitions for us, our 28 degrees or lower with humidity under 70% or even lower is even better. You're just last week I was talking with a group about our last ski season and mentioned that while our natural snow was up last winter, 27% over the prior winter too. Well, we're just about at 86.5 ". We're still down 40% from our historic 78 year average of about just under 121 " for Benzene County, which really illustrates the importance of having a robust snow making system. So in addition to adding snow guns, we've also upgraded our system with larger diameter pipe, which I mentioned before to reduce friction loss. We've also added the variable speed pumps to be more efficient. And then we've also, as simple as our parking lots, we've had to shore up our winter parking lots that would use to the freeze very well over the winter. And what these what these warm ups certainly become a muddy field. That is certainly challenging for us and our guests. So flexibility and creativity are certainly important when trying to operate with volatile weather patterns and case in point, we opened for our 2020 to 2023 ski season just last Friday with 50 degree temperatures in some rain and just a week prior, we were having trouble keeping up with around 20 " of lake affects. Know that was hitting us pretty hard. So you certainly have to be flexible with the dynamic strategy to stay in business in the ski industry. So certainly thank you for the opportunity to share with you our story of sustainability and culture of connecting with what we value most people in our environment. And certainly appreciate your time and interest today. And Garrett, I guess I hand it back to you. Alright. Thank you, John. That was really great, really informative. I'm definitely lots of great information. And I think if people have questions, feel free to drop those in the chat. I know I saw a comment from Andy just that he grew up skiing at Crystal and has always loved going up there and is looking forward to the CME conference up at Crystal next year, which I was actually fortunate enough to attend this past year. So cut to spend some time with that crystal and may run that CME conferences. Great. But yeah, so we've got I've got a couple of slides here I'm gonna go over related to some resources around sustainability, climate change impacts, and winter sports and recreation primarily. Some of these are skiing focused, but we'll also have some time after that for some more discussion. I've got some questions for folks and we have the opportunity to connect more with with what John and Dan presented on. I'll jump in here into some of these potential industry resources that people might be curious to look at or investigate. To learn more about what the winter sports recreation industry more broadly is doing to address some of these challenges are both in that mitigate mitigation and adaptation space. So the first is the National Security Association has their sustainable slopes program, which is really focused on kind of onboarding ski areas into this kind of climate change mitigation, adaptation and sustainability journey, a journey. And I know John, I'm sure, is very familiar with this program and crystallize the mentioned in one of his slides was awarded an award related to this work and the nostrils theory association. So lots of resources available in terms of just how to take an examination of your resort operations and where you might be able to increase the sustainability there and help address some of the climate change mitigation factors. They have this pledge. They asked resorts to commit to around many different factors related to climate change and sustainability. One of which is action and advocacy around climate change, which is an important thing that I think is a way for the industry as a whole to help engage and work towards some larger impact. Potential policy changes in those sorts of things that can impact the future of climate change and how the warming of the planet is going to impact us. But you can see specific to sustainability. I mean, these mirror a lot of the things that John mentioned in his presentation around water conservation, energy, waste, how they're incorporating sustainability and design and construction of new resort, building things and lift operations, forest health and habitat, and also education and outreach as a big part of that as well. So just wanted to point out that resource for folks to take a look at. Also the snow sports industries of America has their climate United program where there really focused on uniting the winter outdoor industry around meaningful climate action. And they host a lot of webinars that are open to non-members of snow sports industries of Americans. So I should probably say these natural spurious association and snow sport industry is of America or both kinda membership organizations. So a lot of these resources can be only available to members, but some of them are available to anybody that would be wanting to learn more about what the industries are actually doing. I think I just saw an e-mail from SIJ that they're hosting a webinar next week around climate change strategies for winter sports and recreation. So lots of great resources there for folks. If you're looking to learn more about what the industry is doing and learn more and how you can connect with others. In winter sports, in the winter sports and recreation industry that are uniting around this idea of battling climate change, adapting to climate change kinda thinking how the role that they play in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Another great organization that people may or may not be familiar with is protect our winners. This is really a non-profit advocacy organization that does a lot of work on policy. They do a lot of lobbying with Congress and supporting nonpartisan policy strategies that can really help hopefully mitigate some of the future impacts of climate change and ensure that winters will be around for future generations. This organization that was started primarily by winter sports, outdoor recreation athletes that really see the existential threat that climate change poses to not only their livelihoods as winners for athletes, but also their communities that they live in that are focused on winter tourism and outdoor recreation as main economic drivers. And just really see. This is a great organization to connect with. If you're interested in seeing how you can make a difference in the advocacy and policy change space around climate change in winter sports. Then also here in Michigan, we have the Michigan snow sports Industries Association, which is kind of a trade organization for ski areas and other winter sports resorts. And they have their own internal sustainability certifications that they offer to ski areas and members here in the State of Michigan and have some resources and programming on their website that provides a lot of great information for folks that are in many places along this sustainability journey. And we understand that sustainability and addressing these, these wicked problems related to climate change. It's not something that we're going to solve all of these things on our own, or maybe in a short order so we understand it's a long journey. It's a path that we're walking down. And as I'm sure John can speak to, their own personal journey at crystal has been evolving over the length of their existence as a resort. I wanted to mention that. And I'm gonna just kind of end before we have time for some questions and discussion. Kind of thinking through the bigger picture about what are some of the key takeaways as we move forward into future that is full of uncertainty, and I'm not sure exactly how, what Winter will look like in 50 years here in Michigan. So I would just say, there's a lot of great opportunities for folks, whether you are a business owner, whether you are a community member of a community that's dependent on maybe winter sports and recreation as an economic driver for your community, is that you have a great opportunity to educate yourself about what you can do personally and in your community. But also to educate visitors that are coming to your resort or coming to your community and help them be, then take that into their own, own, own lives and understand that this is an existential threat to winter sports and recreation. So John mentioned they have 350,000 visitors that come there every year to experience their resort. That's an opportunity to educate all of those folks when they're there, when they're staying there, when they're enjoying those resort amenities. I think activate is another term that we can, we can apply here and thinking through, how are we activating this broader winter sports and recreation community to really move as the collective voice in terms of advocate, advocacy, education, and just kinda thinking through the industry as a whole, as a collective organization that can push the needle versus what Resort can do a lot in terms of their own resort operations and how they're adapting and mitigating climate change. But it's really going to take the entire industry to be able to push the needle forward in any kind of meaningful policy change and thinking long term about how we address some of the issues related to climate change. And kind of going along with that. They advocating for policies and things that can help address this. Then I would just leave me with that. Don't wait. This is as Dan was saying, we can become complacent when you see all thinking about last year where it was a pretty good snow year, if I recall. But if you look at the long-term numbers, they're only going to continue to increase the impact from climate change. So the sooner we act as an industry, as a resorts, as individuals, you know, the better for sure. So I tried to make all those things run a little bit. But that's not a little cheesy, Gary. I say it's a normal level of Gs. So Gary, Yeah. I had written a comment before you shared that last slide about the importance of education and outreach. And remember, like winter recreationists are good advocates for making change happen because they want to protect their activities that they love. I didn't realize you were going to this next slide, so I may have jumped you. I was going to start posing some questions that were in the chat, but go ahead and want to infinity. These are just some additional questions we can, we can chat through and discuss here now that we're kinda wrapped up with our formal presentation. But if we have some things that have come up in the chat, we can address as well. I just wanted to have some questions here that we can address as a group. But I did see there was a question from Mike Mathis about what other outdoor recreation trends is crystal mountain watching? He says that a city-level, it's all about pickleball. There other sports or activities that You are seeing interest in as you kinda continued to expand, what types of recreation opportunities you're offering guests? Like, I should have left the pickleball industry out there. We certainly have seen a strong interests in pickleball effect. I think we've converted tennis 01:45 pickleball courts. Since that seems to be a very popular activity, but I would say mountain biking is probably the next one. And that's why we've expanded our mountain bike offerings with additional trails. And then also meant, I think I mentioned that we were doing chair lift assisted downhill mountain biking as well, which was quite popular this summer as well too. So I think I think just like anything with outdoor activities, if there was anything good about the pandemic, it's certainly brought a resurgence of interest in outdoor activities. And we continue to see that demand which obviously hoping that we can hold onto. But we're seeing a lot of people that either have never done a certain activity before, which is great because we can hopefully convert them into enthusiasts or folks that have taken I hiatus maybe for 20 or 30 years that they are coming back and trying something out, which is great to see. I had mentioned that there is a decrease in the sale of snowmobiles. I recall reading something year or so ago about an increase in purchases of snowshoes during the pandemic. And the big question, there is a temporary blip related to the pandemic or is that something that could generate more people to be interested. But again, you need snow to dismiss you. And kind of our, our challenge is we get new participants to whatever, whatever activity it is, if it's golf or skiing or even mountain biking. But just trying to make sure that they have a great experience and try to, try to see, see their experience to their lands. Because this is something new to them. Where we might think, well, you know, you're coming out on a busy Saturday, it's gonna be busier. But for somebody that's never done it before, they might, they might not have a great experience. So always being mindful of all the guests that come in and certainly the folks that are trying it out for the first time, just appreciating. Appreciating their perspective just to make sure that they have a great experience. John, one of the things that I think you did an exceptional job of talking about was some of the less obvious kinds of things that you've had to wrestle with because of climate change like the flooding event two years ago or the parking lots becoming muddy messes because they're not frozen. I wonder one of the questions are Garrett has here is, this is the audience's how can your community business adaptive future climate change changes? And I'd also like to add to that question, what kind of problems are you seeing that are like that a little less obvious that you would maybe the average person might not have thought about like, oh yeah, of course the parking lots, if it's warmer, are gonna be muddier messes. It's the kind of thing you don't really think about until you're experiencing. I'm curious of our participants if there are any sort of things that you're seeing in your community that are surprising like that, or are other adaptations that you've made to address some of the impacts of climate change. Folks can feel free to use the chat if you're comfortable unmuting yourself. In joining the discussion that way, please feel free to do that. I'm actually going to stop sharing just so we can have a better view of everybody. That's still with us. Thank you, Dr. Dan. One thing that comes to mind for me is that since we've got kind of a village, we've got a snow removal team. And it seems last few years, instead of dealing with removing snow, there are challenged with making sure sidewalks and roads aren't slippery because we always seem to be riding that edge of freezing and not freezing throughout the day. And so that's another example of the challenge that the weather has brought to our doorstep. Yeah. And I know many cities with regard to snow removal are now where you're seeing heavier events and then warm-ups right away, you know, to what extent do we expend the money to clear if something's going to melt the next day and then how do you deal with the ice? And then some of it is clearing before ice can form and the snow removal is something else and also the quality of the snow and the level of water in this now I would imagine impacts the snow removal as well. John, I'm curious. You talked about collaboration and partnership in your presentation as being one of your core, core values at Crystal. What have you how or what have you worked maybe with some local governments or other organizations in your region that maintenance might not be directly involved in resort operations are managing a winter sports recreation facility that you've worked with them to as you're moving along this journey for your resort. So how, how could maybe, maybe more broadly, how could other organizations, local governments, non-profits that might be involved in tourism or economic development. Partner with a resort or a ski area to help them or make more of a collaborative effort on for the region. Yeah, I think the collaboration that there might be another positive aspect of the pandemic because I think it brought a lot of folks together in municipal MS penalties, businesses from all different industries working together trying to get through the pandemic and just create a stronger bonds with those relationships. But certainly, you know, as far as like the winter impact goes, It certainly has a has a cascade cascading impact on the region around us. We certainly have a lot of hospitality partners throughout the region that if we're not open, That's an issue for everybody, including the local, local units of government. So certainly working together on things to mitigate that risk. So summer events, we had a big event, crystal this summer called the total artery challenge, which brought 2000 archers to our resort for three days, going through many different, different courses. And the neat thing about that is that that event's sold out and I think just a few hours. But not only it filled up crystal, but it filled up the areas around us. So it really turned into a regional event that really helped to help the community. So I think those kind of collaborative efforts, whatever it might be with events or trying to solve a problem, is certainly, it's much easier to mitigate a problem collectively than it is to try to do it on your own. Yeah, Absolutely. One thing that we're looking at regional right now is workforce housing. And I know that's a challenge across the country, but it's certainly not something that just one entity can solve on its own. It's really got to be a community approach. John, I have another question for you, but I want to give the chance to, if there's anybody in the audience who who has a question before I asked mine, please unmute and ask it if you have one. Well, mine is John. Of course, crystal is a business. It's not a municipality. However, it operates. One of the things that I've known from interacting with the crystal and certainly during your presentation, it operates like a municipality. It is a village. And to some extent here, like the mayor and your leadership team is the city council. Decisions about snow removal and having festivals to draw people. And a lot of the same things that a lot of municipalities are, are wrestling with you do and I wonder if you have recommendations for municipalities from that perspective as to how to mitigate or adapt. What can they do in a changing environment going forward? That's a great question. You know, I think just, you know, I hate to say thinking out of the box, but, you know, you kinda have to be certainly with climate change and what we've gone through the last few years, you certainly have to re-invent how you're delivering services or make sure you have flexibility in what you're planning. And I think we've seen that, at least we've seen that in our area, in the region with new events and kind of re-imagined events that are now coming back, which is great after a two-and-a-half year hiatus. But I think it really does just come down to pulling everybody together and having a collaborative approach. Because certainly the success of one business certainly helps, helps the community. And it's really, I think, community thinking and kind of a regional community approach that, that really makes the biggest impact, especially with some of the challenges that we all are dealing with these days. I don't make sense. What we have, we have more time for it to stick around here if folks have questions or contributions for discussion questions? I did. Yep. Looks good. We have a question. Can you tell us more about how you are prioritizing capital improvement projects from like it's, it's another great question and one that gets debated quite a bit. When we're looking at different, different things, certainly things that will make us more resilient. Certainly probably go to the top of the list. As I mentioned, every year we're investing in our snow making infrastructure because we know that that's gonna be an important component to our success going forward, especially with what we're experiencing. Just an example as last winter, we had wind holds, which are pretty unusual in the Midwest. We've been enlightening holds. So we've seen that the volatile weather that we know is gonna be a challenge going forward. We've also invested quite a bit and employ staff housing because that's a challenge for us. So it's really, I think what we probably prioritize it by. What's it's kind of like, well, what's important right now? You know what, what's, what's the challenge that we're trying to face? And obviously, labor is a big issue. So that's why we're investing more in staff housing, but we also are looking further down the road and what's gonna make us more resilient. Certainly, you gotta be careful as you, as you build stuff because everything takes care and resources. And you just got to be careful about building too much stuff that you've got to take care of it that could become a problem for you. But certainly as we look at projects, how does it fit within what we're trying to accomplish, whether it's winter operations or summer operations, what's the potential return that we might get on it? And how does it, how does it improve our strategy to be sustainable? And to the many years ahead. John, one of the things that it's related to that that's impressed me, has been the capital investments that you've made and things that are really related directly to climate change. Um, and I would imagine that when you have those discussions about prioritization, like my talked about, it's a little bit of do we invest in our sports team and an offense or defense? We use draft picks on offense or defense. You would imagine some of the investments you make are more offense oriented. They're meant to generate business going forward and others are to mitigate or to adapt to some of what's going on like the investment and the pons that retaining ponds and the system there. Does that come up as a difficulty in those discussions are prioritization? It certainly can because as much as you'd like to have unlimited resources to do every project. Because I think every project we look at certainly has merit, but you certainly have to weigh the positives of each project and what makes the most sense. But defense and offense is a great way of putting it. So certainly that does that does factor in. Obviously, in the ski industry were very capital intensive. So we've got a lot of equipment that we've got to maintain. Certainly things have a birthday, so you've got to plan for that. Chair lift. Might need a new wire rope. So you've got to make sure that you're thoughtfully thinking out ahead just to make sure that you don't have a birthday that comes up at surprises you. So I think it's a balance obviously of making sure that you're you're, you're, you're maintaining what you'd have. But also looking at things that might generate business or might help mitigate some challenges that you know, you can be facing. You. I don't know if we mentioned this, but you're a former banker. And I wonder if for some of the businesses out there that are looking for capital, like do those kind of things impact the decisions by lenders? For sure. Yeah. It's interesting back in my banking days, particularly when we're dealing with a, with a ski area. Climate change certainly was on the minds of the bankers. And usually the discussion would start with, tell me about the snow making the system. Because I think I think the lenders recognize that there are significant challenges with climate change and what what exactly is the business doing to mitigate those risks? Certainly, That's what the banks want to do is lend money, but also mitigate their client's risk, but also their risk as well. So that, you know, those those discussions are very important. So I would say my advice would be, you know, certainly if you're if you're looking for a capital, certainly let, let, let that organization know what you're doing to be resilient and to mitigate the risks and your business because that's going to be very important for them to understand. Yeah, kinda to that same point. Do you feel like that crystal, being a family owned and operated business provides some benefit and being able to maybe think more longer-term than some other companies or businesses that might be more beholden to shorter-term share price. Gating, metrics or things like that. Like how would you feel, felt that that's really benefited you? Yeah, I think that's I do think that's an advantage for us. And certainly looking at the geothermal, the closed loop geothermal system that we put in, there is certainly an inexpensive upfront to do that. But we know in the long run that it will pay for itself. We can make those kind of decisions where there might be an upfront expense, but we we we understand what the endgame is and that might be several years down the road. But it's something that we think makes sense. I think it also helps in the fact that we can be nimble would certainly has been kinda the the need that we've had for the last two-and-a-half years, certainly going through a pandemic is certainly not easy if you're running a resort and welcoming people when, when, when people need to be spread out. So how do you, how do you make those changes? And I think in the setting that we're in right now, we can be nimble. We can make changes pretty quickly, which certainly I think helped us out tremendously.