540 skiers from Vienna, Austria were surveyed to understand winter sport tourists' activity and destination choice, and to estimate shifts in customer demand with climate change.
The study found that skiers have a strong preference for destinations with natural snow. In winters with low snow, resorts in high (altitude) destinations gain importance and travel distances lose relevance (i.e. people will travel further if it means they can ski in better conditions, which tend to be at high altitudes). A large proportion of skiers would forgo skiing if it becomes more expensive. Snow independent substitutes (e.g. alternative activities such as ice skating, hiking, or visiting the spa) are accepted as a short time compensation but not for the whole winter holiday.
CITE: Unbehaun, W., Probstl, U., & Haider, W. (2008). Trends in winter sport tourism: Challenges for the future. Tourism Review, 63, 36–47.