There can be little doubt that our fragile alpine environment is at risk from multiple sources, including feral animals and pests, inappropriate development, logging and climate change.
What is strange is that amongst major users of our mountain environments there is so little discussion about climate change. Ski resorts generally ignore the issue, while hunters, 4 Wheel Drivers and trail bike riders are no where to be seen. Many green groups are working to head off Australia’s contribution to climate change, but the snow industry is a stand out in it’s silence on the issue given they have so much to lose if predictions of dwindling snow falls are correct.
The following is a listing of articles from Mountain Journal that
- cover the ecological and economic problems associated with climate change, and
- initiatives by individuals, organisations and businesses to tackle the problem.
DEEP: The Story of Skiing and the Future of Snow
“The first in-depth report on how climate change is affecting the present and future of the ski industry and mountain communities”
Climate Change and the Ski Industry – an Australian perspective
This article was written by David Bain, and originally published as the first of the Global Snapshot series, bi-weekly essays written by Protect Our Winters (POW) supporters, which give their local perspective of climate change.
Alps could become snow-free by 2050
AUSTRALIA’S ski slopes could be completely bare of natural winter snow by 2050 unless concerted action is taken against global warming, according to a government-commissioned report that paints a grim picture of the effects of climate change on alpine areas.
Getting ready for climate change in North East Victoria.
Climate change and the mountain environment. The denial continues
Warmer weather, shorter ski season?
The most recent assessment of Australian weather trends (seasonal update: abnormal autumn 2014) from the Climate Council warns of a short and warm winter. This article looks at longer trends and forecasts.
Less snow – less skiers.
Some conversations about the impacts of shorter winters on the outdoor industry.
A lacklustre environmental offering from the resorts for winter
A review of initiatives taken by Australian resorts, 2011.
The Exteme Ice Survey – tracking the loss of the glaciers
The following article comes from the Winter 2014 issue of Mountain Magazine. It tracks the decline of a glacier in coastal Alaska and was written by Tad Pfeffer, scientific partner of the Extreme Ice Survey.
Climate Change Pushing Alpine Plants Off the Mountain
It seems obvious: As the average temperatures of alpine climates increase, cold-loving plant and animal species are forced to move up to higher elevations to find the conditions they are best suited for. New research, however, has found a surprise in this simple process—that it’s happening much faster than previously thought.
STEPS – A Journey to the Edge of Climate Change
‘the first climate-friendly ski and snowboard film’
Dismantling ski lifts as the world warms up
A short list of things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint.
‘The Little Things’ snowboarding film
The Little Things is a snowboard movie/documentary based on environmentally conscious riders who are inspirational through their riding, as well as their sustainable ways of living and thinking.
Protect Our Winters launches the POW Riders Alliance
In the US, Protect Our Winters has just launched what it is calling its ‘Riders Alliance’, a group of 53 professional snowsports athletes, committed to fighting climate change and speaking out for the environment.
Thredbo moves to 100% renewables (2019)
In what is being described as ‘an Australian snow industry first’ (1), Thredbo resort in NSW has announced that it has signed a deal that will ensure that ‘all its major resort operations are now powered by renewable energy’ provided by Red Energy. Details here.
Aspen launches a new political action campaign (2018)
Aspen resort in Colorado has launched a new activist campaign, called Give A Flake, which invites skiers and non-skiers alike to speak out against climate change inaction, with the launch of a variety of online tools that help activists easily contact their elected officials.
Thredbo to offset all of it’s lifting and snowmaking electricity (July 2018)
The largest single use of energy in a ski resort will be the lifting operations and the snow making. Thredbo has announced that 100% of its lifting and snowmaking electricity will be offset for winter 2018 ‘thanks to a unique partnership with Arnhem Land Fire Abatement Project (ALFA)’.
The Living Bin initiative (June 2018)
This waste collection program diverts waste food away from landfill, with significant climate benefits. It operates at Falls Creek, Mt Hotham and Mt Buller.
The Dinner Plain Clean Energy Initiative (2014)
The Dinner Plain Clean Energy Initiative is a great new program. It aims to offer cheaper, pollution free electricity generated from renewable sources, as well as new technology alternatives to replace antiquated, polluting and expensive gas heating and hot water systems.
Thank a resort
This is an interesting initiative from the Climate Reality Project.
It profiles eleven ski resorts in North America who are undertaking meaningful initiatives to reduce their environmental impact as a practical way of reducing their contribution to climate change.
It asks people to send a message to the resorts to acknowledge their efforts and encourage them to do more.
Ski Resort Installing Solar Array
Mountain Journal has previously reported on the sustainability initiatives of Mt. Abram ski area in the USA. They have recently substantially deepened their direct investment in renewable energy.
New grassroots movement to change the way ski areas are run
The US-based Mountain Riders Alliance has now gone global:
“A new paradigm is emerging in ski area management: one that’s globally-based, rider-centric, environmentally sustainable, sensitive to local needs, and skier-and-snowboarder-owned”.
USA ski area to produce more energy than it uses
Mt Abram, located outside of Bethel, Maine, is in the permitting stage of a plan to install 3,190 solar panels spread over an area of 2 acres. When completed, the ski area is poised to become North America’s first net negative ski area when it comes to energy production.
Ski resorts in Utah and California respond to climate change.
Some of these initiatives include investment in energy efficient snow making, micro grids, and transit buses.