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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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ski resorts

Outdoor and snowsports industries stand united against climate change

The Trump administration’s sustained attacks on conservation areas in the USA has mobilised the outdoor industry in unprecedented ways. Now the key forces in the outdoor and snow sports industries – the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and Snowsports Industries America (SIA) have joined forces to step up action on climate change solutions.

Continue reading “Outdoor and snowsports industries stand united against climate change”

Vail resorts to buy Hotham and Falls Creek?

Snow news website Snow Brains is reporting that Vail Resorts is planning to buy Victoria’s Mount Hotham and Falls Creek ski resorts for about $120 million to ‘expand its global offering of resorts’.  The original story appeared in the Australian Financial Review.

According to Snow Brains, ‘The company sees the southern-hemisphere market as a way to tap the fast-growing market of Chinese skiers that has the potential to supercharge the global skiing industry’. Continue reading “Vail resorts to buy Hotham and Falls Creek?”

Climate change impacts on ski resorts in the USA

Climate science makes it abundantly clear that winter as we know it is coming to an end. Despite the evidence, the global community – as a whole – continues as if everything is fine. The climate change negotiations that have been underway in Poland had progress blocked by key oil producing nations and those led by climate deniers, like Saudi Arabia, the USA and Russia. Yet there was barely any reaction from the community as vested interests put their profits ahead of the planet.

Denial does not make the problem go away. The evidence keeps building up, like this recent work looking at climate change impacts on ski resorts in the USA.

Continue reading “Climate change impacts on ski resorts in the USA”

10 US-based ski resorts showing the way on sustainability

We all know that ski resorts have a large environmental footprint. As Outside magazine recently noted, ‘with sprawling mountainside villages, water-guzzling snow machines, and high-powered chairlifts, it’s no secret operating a ski resort can be a dirty business.”

Here in Australia some resorts have taken small steps to reduce their impact, but its still fairly dismal when you consider their overall operations. Outside have recently listed the best 10 US-based resorts when it comes to environmental responsibility. While the bigger resorts that come with having a much larger population have greater financial capacity to change their operations, these examples do provide some ideas for any resorts here who are serious about taking their environmental and climate responsibilities seriously.

Continue reading “10 US-based ski resorts showing the way on sustainability”

Aspen resort steps up its activism

Colorado-based ski resort Aspen recently launched a new activist campaign, called Give A Flake, which invites skiers and non-skiers alike to speak out against climate change inaction. It has a number of online tools that help people to easily contact their elected officials and pressure them to act on climate change.

Under the banner of ‘Protect Your Passion. Join the Movement’, Aspen says ‘Sometimes caring about an issue isn’t enough. You have to do something. It’s time to turn our concern about climate change — and yours — into action’.

USA residents can use the Give A Flake website to find out where the elected officials in their area stand on climate change. Then, via Twitter, users can tweet at their local leaders with images and statements that Aspen Skiing Co. has already curated.

Now they’ve taken another step, by inserting campaign postcards into outdoor magazines. The idea is that people will then send these to key politicians, urging them to act decisively on climate change issues. As the mid term elections in the USA get closer, more and more people, organisations and businesses are encouraging people to get out and vote (Patagonia have even taken the unusual position of endorsing two candidates).

Continue reading “Aspen resort steps up its activism”

Aspen skiing company launches climate activism campaign

This is a great bit of leadership from Aspen Skiing Company. They have recently unrolled 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.

Under the banner of ‘Protect Your Passion. Join the Movement’, Aspen says ‘Sometimes caring about an issue isn’t enough. You have to do something. It’s time to turn our concern about climate change — and yours — into action’.

Continue reading “Aspen skiing company launches climate activism campaign”

Bringing the Mountain Pygmy Possum back from the brink

The Mountain Pygmy Possum (MPP) is Australia’s only hibernating marsupial. It has been declared by the IUCN Redlist as being Critically endangered. In 2000, the population estimate was less than 2,000 individuals from the three combined isolated populations that exist across the Australian Alps.

A number of ski resorts have been running possum recovery programs. They are delivering some excellent results and represent true good news stories for this critically endangered species.

Georgina Boardman is the Technical Services and Environment Officer at the Mount Hotham Alpine Resort Management Board, where she and the rest of the Environmental Team work to protect the Mountain Pygmy Possum population on the mountain.

You can read about her story and work to protect the possum here.

Climate change will make snow a ‘premium product’ like ‘fine wine’

Climate change poses an existential threat to the ski industry in Australia. A recent report commissioned by the Victorian government suggests that the end of natural snow could be as close as a couple of decades.

As noted by Adam Carey in The Age, without serious action to tackle climate change, ‘the likeliest outcome is that Victoria’s snow resorts will gradually close, until just one or two remain in business by mid-century, offering an increasingly rarefied experience’.

You would think that people who earn their living from snow would be paying attention to what is happening and perhaps even playing their part to reduce emissions.

Apparently not.

Continue reading “Climate change will make snow a ‘premium product’ like ‘fine wine’”

Report into climate impacts on Victorian resorts

There is no doubt that climate change is already impacting on snow conditions in Australia, and hence impacting on the industries that need snow to be viable. When it comes to responding to this existential threat, there are three key options: ignore it (in the hope it will go away), reduce our contribution to the problem (also called mitigation) or just try to adapt to the changes that the problem brings (also known as adaptation). With few exceptions, ski resorts in Australia have opted for the first and the third options. A sensible, responsible and forward thinking ski industry would be doing both adaptation and mitigation.

A report released by the Victorian government will help local resorts steer themselves along the path of adaptation.

Continue reading “Report into climate impacts on Victorian resorts”

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