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.
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.
Auden Schendler is well known to many skiers and riders as being a key figure in snow industry efforts to move towards sustainability. He is the Vice President of Sustainability at the Aspen Snowmass resort in Colorado.
Just before the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C report was released, Auden co-authored an opinion piece in the New York Times with Andrew P. Jones. Given Auden’s pivotal role in the snow community, I thought it was worth sharing some excerts from it here which underscore the political challenge we face if we are serious about resolving the ‘climate problem’. The full article is available here.
As we all know, resort riding and skiing is an energy intensive recreation. While resorts have generally been a bit slow off the mark to reduce their greenhouse emissions here in Australia, there are some heartening developments happening.
One example of leadership comes from Thredbo resort in NSW.
There are many good reasons to love Mountainwatch. From the snow season forecasts from The Grasshopper to the ‘every snow cam you need to see in the one place’ coverage of resorts, to lots of snow community news, there is always lots going on.
I recently spotted this post from Chris Booth, who asked five ‘snow personalities’ about what would make skiing in Australia better. The response I liked best was that we should tow Australia 15 degrees south towards Antarctica.
Chris Davenport is a Protect Our Winters POW board member and is widely regarded as one of the premier bigmountain skiers in the world today. Among his many mountaineering achievement Chris was the first person to ski all fifty-four of Colorado’s 14,000 foot peaks in less than a year. He has also guided and skied on Mt Everest. This month he visits Mt Buller for the first time.
Chris is visiting Australia to spread the word on “why we need winter’ and will speak at the Mt Buller cinema on Tuesday 24th July 2018 at 7pm. The talk will be followed by a screening of the new Teton Gravity Research film ‘Rogue Elements’ in which Mt Buller’s own Mitch Reeves features.
Some significant announcements from Thredbo resort:
- Thredbo Announces 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)
- POW Australia to launch with a Hike to Kozzie and an information night lead by international free-skiing legend and POW board member Chris Davenport in Thredbo
- To support National Tree Day (Sunday 29 July) Thredbo will be encouraging all guests to offset their journey emissions by matching all guest tree purchases / donations over the weekend thanks to Thredbo’s vehicle offset partnership with Greenfleet
Thredbo, Protect Our Winters and Chris Davenport present a day of raising awareness around POW and the importance of protecting our beautiful and unique environment.
You can join a hike to the summit of Mt Kosciuszko on friday 27 July at Thredbo, followed by a discussion night with Chris.
What a great start to winter 2018! Those good early falls in May disappeared, but then we got the best snow pack for June in 17 years! And now we have another big system bearing down on us.
As always, forecasts vary, and this far out, they may be more enthusiastic than the reality we will see over the weekend. Let’s hope this system does deliver the goods.
Here’s a quick check at what some of the key snow websites are saying.
If you’re heading out after the storm, be aware that there may be some avalanche risk as the fresh settles on a sun affected layer. Check the Mountain Sports Collective backcountry advisory before you get on the trail.
This one is from MountainWatch.
This is from Snow watch.
This one comes from Jane Bunn:
Big snow system, mainly Saturday, snow up high from Friday.
A high is moving to the east and cold fronts are approaching. This will make it windy.
We stay dry through to the end of Wednesday, but one of these fronts may produce rain on Thursday (up to 5mm). It is too warm for snow.
A front breaks through on Friday. It starts warm with rain for all resorts, but there is enough cold air for it to snow to 1600 metres at times. Up to 25 mm of precipitation – with 5 to 20 cm of that falling as snow up high.
A stronger front pushes through on Saturday, and this is all cold. Snow falls down to 900 metres with 15 to 30 cm of snow.
So, this brings 20 to 50 cm of snow all up.
The chance of snow showers on Sunday, the slight chance of snow showers early next week, until the high moves back in.