While the new International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report confirmed recently that climate change is indisputable, it’s something that the winter sports community has been seeing first-hand for years.

This has seen many in the recreational skiing and boarding community get active to tackle climate change. But there are also some interesting things happening amongst professional athletes.

Jeremy Jones
Jeremy Jones

In April, 75 Olympic medalists and other winter sports athletes – including White House “Champion of Change” awardee and pro snowboarder Jeremy Jones – lobbied President Obama, urging the President to take action on climate and clean energy.

The representatives of the global snow sports community signing the letter to the President included X Games champions and World Champion snowboarders, alpine/Nordic skiers and professional climbers, including:

• Olympic gold and silver medalist Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA)
• Olympic silver medalist and four-time X Games gold medalist Gretchen Bleiler (Aspen, CO)
• 10-time Big Mountain Rider of the Year Jeremy Jones (Truckee, CA)
• Olympic silver medalist, three-time World champion, seven-time X Games champion Lindsey Jacobellis (Stratton, VT)
• Two-time Olympian and six-time X Games gold medalist Nate Holland (Truckee, CA)
• Olympic gold & silver medalist, six-time X Games medalist, six-time World Cup champion Hannah Teter (Belmont, VT)
• 2010 Olympian, Nordic skier Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK)
• Five-time winner Powder Magazine’s Best Female Performer Ingrid Backstrom (Seattle, WA)
• Two-time World Freeskiing champion Chris Davenport (Aspen, CO)
• Two-time World Freeeskiing champion, Kit Deslauriers (Jackson, WY)
• 2013 World champion, X Games medalist Arielle Gold (Steamboat Springs, CO)

For a full list of signers, check here.

The letter states “Without a doubt, winter is in trouble”  “… at risk are the economies of tourist-dependent states where winter tourism generates $12.2 billion in revenue annually, supports 212,000 jobs and $7 billion in salaries.  Those are the jobs and businesses are generators of billions in federal and state income.”

Hot Planet/ Cool athletes program

Meanwhile Protect our Winters (POW) has restarted Hot Planet/ Cool athletes program, which organises Professional skiers and snowboarders to deliver presentations to North American students, encouraging them to become Climate Leaders.
Protect Our Winters re-launched their “Hot Planet/Cool Athletes” program this week to take the first hand perspective of climate change into the classroom to explain climate change from an engaging new perspective and to inspire and empower students to become involved.

Presented by The North Face, the program has been presented to more than 20,000 students at 41 schools nationwide since 2011.  The new format for 2013 continues to educate students about climate change, combining engaging action sports footage and understandable climate science with first hand athlete’s perspectives and a call to action that truly breaks through to students and gives them the tools to be part of the solution.

Pro athletes such as Gretchen Bleiler, Jeremy Jones, Sage Cattabriga-Alosa, Ingrid Backstrom, Lucas Debari, Danny Davis and Angel Collinson are featured in the video project, with many others scheduled for in-person school appearances.

More info here.

Our time is now

Then there is the the #ourtimeisnow campaign, a call to action that invites students to take meaningful action on climate change.  By connecting with them in a relevant way, via their social media, POW will invite all students to use the hashtag #ourtimeisnow across their social media channels. POW can then track its use and provide meaningful climate actions directly back to each student.  As students become more involved in the campaign by using the hashtag on Twitter and Instagram, they will have opportunities to win prizes and spend time with professional athletes discussing climate change or joining POW representatives to lobby MPs in Washington.

“We’ve got to create a social movement starting with young kids who will be the most affected, and we feel that this component of the program is a critical step in making a difference.  By using social media as a backbone for it, we’re connecting with students on their terms and starting that movement with meaningful results,” said POW’s Executive Director, Chris Steinkamp.

STEPS – a journey to the edge of climate change

rid-greener-screengrab-140x130Then there is this new film from Ride Greener and Coupdoeil which considers how the snow industry can work in harmony with nature to protect the climate we rely on.

The promo says:

“The carbon-neutral approach shown in the film is a new way of thinking with the ever-looming shadow of climate change growing closer year after year. It’s not too late to prevent the oncoming consequences of fossil fuels and the damage that has already been caused”. This film tackles how an industry that revolves around predictable and consistent weather patterns can play it’s part in preventing climate change.

Details here.