I know I should probably stop bagging out our local ski resorts for being useless on climate change, but there are so many inspiring examples from overseas that show what is possible with a little bit of vision.

The following is an announcement about a new collaboration between an alliance of US-based mountain resorts, and Protect Our Winters.

The announcement is vague on the details of exactly what the alliance will do, and highlights ‘cross promotion’ opportunities, but at least it seems intent on putting climate change on the agenda for each of the resorts, and mentions advocacy as one of the activities that will be undertaken.

Aspen-Snowmass-1The Mountain Collective, an alliance of independent mountain resorts, and Protect Our Winters (POW) are proud to announce a new and innovative partnership with the mission of uniting the winter sports community on the important issue of climate change. Both groups have worked independently to promote this environmental cause, and this collaboration will make an even bigger impact.

Protect Our Winters is the environmental center point of the winter sports community’s fight against climate change.  The Mountain Collective is comprised of six iconic destinations representing the core of the skiing and snowboarding world including Alta, Aspen/Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Mammoth Mountain, Snowbird, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, and Whistler Blackcomb. Together, POW and these high profile resorts can impact the entire community and industry with incredible effectiveness.

“Through this groundbreaking partnership, The Mountain Collective has re-defined what a pass should be.  It not only represents access to six world-class destinations, but the foresight to realize that climate change is a threat to our sport and with that access, comes a responsibility to protect it for the long term,” said POW’s Executive Director Chris Steinkamp.

“Partnering with a leading organization like POW serves to reinforce The Mountain Collective as the most forward-thinking alliance of its kind,” said Christian Knapp, vice president marketing, Aspen Skiing Company. “Together we can leverage the power of our brands to promote meaningful climate advocacy that resonates with mountain resorts and snow sports enthusiasts alike.”

The partnership will include ongoing advocacy and cross-marketing initiatives, education and community outreach to raise awareness and promote environmental sustainability.  Additionally, POW members who purchase a Mountain Collective Pass will receive a year’s subscription to Powder magazine, and anyone who purchases a new Mountain Collective Pass will be offered a free one-year membership to POW.

The Impact of Climate Change on Winter Sports

The last decade was the warmest on record [NOAA, 2010]. Fewer ski days would not only reduce enjoyment for skiers, boarders and other winter sports enthusiasts, but also cause significant economic impact to an industry that supports 965,000 people and contributes $66 billion to the U.S. economy alone [OIA 2006, 2012]. Without action to reduce emissions, scientists predict that by 2039 the Northeast ski season will last less than 100 days and the probability of being open by Christmas will decline below 75% [Scott et al. (2008)].