I really want to be skiing when I'm old and gray. Don't you?
Have you noticed how winter is getting more and more unpredictable? Or how spring skiing is coming earlier, or that Sugarbush will be dumped on by rain instead of snow in early February? If you haven’t noticed any of this, you’re not paying enough attention.
In order to keep the sport alive, hundreds of ski resorts across the country (and around the world) are spending millions of dollars on snowmaking when the snowfall does not suffice. But the industry, which is loaded with money as we all know, is not doing nearly enough to mitigate the changing climate in the ways that it can.
In a really awesome opinion piece published last week in The New York Times, “Why Can’t Rich People Save Winter?” the author describes the many complexities of the industry. It provides interactive maps that show changes in snowfall in the past decades and projections of economically viable resorts in the future, and it also sheds light on incredible nonprofits like Protect Our Winters, who are doing everything they can to change climate policies in Washington. I highly recommend giving it a read—inform yourself and try to make a difference where you can, like donating to POW or a similar organization.
What the article did not cover, though, is the small coalition of smaller mountains who are taking initiatives toward making their resorts greener. Like Wolf Creek in the San Juans in Colorado going all solar-powered for its operations, or even Bolton Valley and its wind energy. Even though they are a drop in the bucket in moving toward sustainability in the sport, they are setting an example so that other resorts will hopefully follow suit soon.
I just hope “soon” means a year not in a decade, because if we keep waiting around for someone else to do it first, it will be too late. And we’ll be skiing on dirt and grass instead of the good white stuff we all grew up on.
By Greta Brown