Skiing Ruins Skiing
Let me explain. Every year thousands of people buy new gear, fly or drive thousands of miles, stay in hotels and eat overpriced resort food. By doing the very thing we love we are having a detrimental effect on the future of the sport. As the climate continues to change as a cause of humans ski seasons will become more unpredictable and if it continues to get worse skiing in 30 years might be a lot different from what skiing is now. Now this doesn't mean we should all stop skiing; I sure won't be any time soon. How you ski can be changed though. So I sat down as a painfully average Midwest skier to take a look at my impact and to see what changes I could make to ski a little greener. I'm not telling anyone here how to live their life-but any improvement is good improvement.
We all need gear. The important part is how you get it and where you get it from. If you get a new jacket or snow pants wear those things until they are falling apart. Sewing is a great skill to learn and it's better to fix a tear than to buy a new jacket. Thrifting is another great option. A great example is Talltdan and his company Arsenic. By breathing new life in to old clothes you're getting something that looks good and isn't adding to over-consumption. Also, do some research. If you are considering buying new skis or other gear look into a companies environmental policies. All it takes is a little research. It's usually pretty easy to find what a company does to beneficent the environment on their website or other avenues. If there's nothing there then the company probably isn't doing to much in the way of staying green. Try to avoid companies mass producing in Chinese factories and buy from companies that do as much as possible in house with good materials. Sometimes it's unavoidable. I ski Liberty. Make that shit last as long as possible. It may be more expensive but you usually are getting a higher quality product that has less of an impact on the environment. Being green with your dollar is one of the most effective and easy ways to ski green. Reusing your gear or other peoples gear is a great way to limit your impact. Most people don't have to be told that but I think it's great to encourage it. @TRVP_ANGEL built a great new Buy/Sell Forum. Get some old gear and make it your own.
Most of us are going to travel at least a few times every season. Living in the Midwest I usually go out West for a week once or twice a season to get away from warm temps and bad snowfall. If you are making similar trips don't fly. I calculated how much my carbon footprint increased from around 5000 extra miles of driving for said trips. Those extra miles of driving resulted in a 1.2 t increase in carbon emissions- quite a lot. When calculated for a normal amount of driving but the same mileage flying I saw an increase in 1.7t to my total footprint; about a .5 t difference which is substantial. This doesn't account for the fact that my road-trips out west have been carpools with a handful of people, lowering that number even further. Always try to carpool on the way to the mountain as well. It will save you money and be a heck of a lot greener. It's hard to cram 4 people and all the gear into a hatchback but it's absolutely worth it. If you do have to fly there are a myriad of different organizations that offer carbon offset programs allowing individuals to pay a small amount to offset their impact.
Fight With Your Vote
The changes mentioned above all work great at a personal level, but for big change to happen the individual needs to make their voice heard. If you can vote and you don't you should change that. Educate yourself on different issues and your local politicians. See where your local politicians stand on environmental issues them. Write to your representatives, make phone calls. If you want change to happen it has to be you. It often feel like what you are doing doesn't have an effect but doing something is better than doing something.
What Will Happen?
After reading up on a NOAA website I found some interesting information. Here's a quote from and article on climate change and skiing from NOAA.
"That’s the elevation zone that’s changing in a lot of places. The Sierra Nevada portion of California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment predicts that, by the end of this century, temperatures in that region will rise an average of 6°F to 9°F if carbon dioxide emissions continue increasing at a high rate (RCP8.5), raising the rain-to-snow transition anywhere from 1,500 feet to 3,000 feet. The report issues a blunt forecast: likely elimination of snowpack below 6,000 feet elevation, and snowpack reductions exceeding 60 percent across nearly the entire Sierra Nevada range."
Yes it's long term but hell, I'd like to be able to ski into my later days. It also should be noted that this is only the Sierra Nevada. Areas such as the Midwest and East coast at lower elevations may face these issue much sooner to a much higher degree. This is something that will effect most industries and will hit us harder than most others.
I'll be honest. I'm not as "green" as I could be. At the end of the day it's about making as much of a difference as you can. Or any difference for that matter. I don't want to lecture anyone about their lifestyle but any change you make that will help the environment will help the sport you love in the long run. Whether you believe in it or not being a little bit greener will not hurt skiing. So you might as well help it.
This has been your resident NS forester and shitposter Lonely. If there are any brands you'd like to highlight or other ideas to help skiers be a little greener post down below. Y'all have a great night.