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The Climate Message Conundrum

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As skiers it’s a given that we all appreciate our environment and understand the perils of climate change because we rely on the goods provided by Mother Nature. There’s not a sensible skier who doesn’t respect the outdoors or isn’t thankful for the rich experiences the mountains provide us. We (with brains) realize you need some frozen precipitation called snowfall, which doesn’t happen when temperatures get warmer. And we know this is exactly what’s happening on average across North American resorts[1]. So obviously, it’s in the snow community’s interests to change our behaviour and raise awareness about the issue of Climate Change in order to preserve the art of skiing. It’s also commendable to the athletes that try to do this.

But…

#1 – Sleds?

Don’t go arguing that we need to halt climate change and respect our environment when you use sleds every day. Yes, we know brapping with your buds is cool, and yes, girls stare at you when you’re at gas stations (a sled/truck combo probably raises your grading rate by a factor of two boys). But don’t pretend to really care about the environment when you’re recreationally exploiting our finite fuel reserves in a post peak oil condition. In addition to the carbon monoxide contribution, all that brapping around in the wilderness can’t be great for the homes of Bambi or Peter Rabbit.

So many ironic captions we could put in here, so little time...

So many ironic captions we could put in here, so little time…

#2 – Helis?

Don’t brag to your followers on Instagram about how environmentally conscious you are as a skier when you spend all of April in a heli stacking shots in Alaska. You’re playing in a heli that uses high-octane fuel at an average of 25 gallons per hour [2] (yes, I went heli-shopping to find that stat).

Source: http://www.bcbusiness.ca/ Accessed: 2 January 2015

Source. bcbusiness Accessed: 2 January 2015

 

#3 – Globe Trotting?

Don’t claim that you do your part to save winters when your carbon footprint is fatter than that of a finance consultant with contracts on five continents. You’re either jetting to the next contest for four months of the year or driving all over North America a V8 or V6 truck, or a piece of s*&^t beater that probably wouldn’t pass its air care.

Source: Pinterest Accessed: 2 January 2015

Source: Pinterest Accessed: 2 January 2015

 

Air Care worthy for sure! Source: Newschoolers.com Accessed: 2 January 2015

#4 – Tiny Home?

It’s rather hypocritical to promote your tiny home and efforts toward sustainable living when by being professional you subscribe to a model of mass production and consumption. You get about ten pairs of skis a season, countless outerwear variations and swap out gear worn for one season for next season’s newest and brightest. Only favourite pieces or on rare occasions is your gear repaired or recycled. Probably a fifth of total product you receive is sold for use, the rest stashed in reserve.

Source: Adventure Blog, National Geographic Accessed 2 January 2015

Source: Adventure Blog, National Geographic Accessed 2 January 2015

 

Source: Tahoe Mountain Sports Blog Accessed 2 January 2015

Source: Tahoe Mountain Sports Blog Accessed 2 January 2015

Ok, end rant.

I realize I’m hating on professional skiers but you guys are jerks because you’re really talented at something and you get paid to ski most of the time. 😉  The same can be said for passionate recreationalists who chirp all day about climate change initiatives on their social media but don’t think to turn their car off while their updating their Twitter in the parking lot.

It’s simple, championing the climate change cause is hypocritical if you don’t actually champion it through tangible action, not the virtual kind that requires typing.

However, in your defence environmentally focussed professionals, I recognise that you have a method to your madness. Firstly, you want to achieve the result of increasing climate awareness because it’s honourable and necessary. And secondly, it’s an expedient marketing tool. It’s hip to care about winters so on social media you look good for being compassionate about the issue, which makes people like you and helps advance your career. What’s kind of a joke is that other than attending athlete-sponsored seminars, there’s probably not many (without giant budgets) who are willing to sacrifice the efficiency of footage production through mechanised access.

We get you need to do this stuff and also, it’s insanely incredible and fun, but why not just accept the contradiction and own it?

If there weren’t athletes out there showing how awesome skiing is then perhaps there wouldn’t be an industry. Perhaps there wouldn’t be skiing because no one would know about it, how rad it is, care about it, and therefore want to do it. There wouldn’t be jobs, entire businesses created around the sport, and there would be a whole lot less stoke going around in peoples lives. So it’s not all bad people. Just be real about its limitations.

 

SOURCES

[1] http://www.piquenewsmagazine.com/whistler/western-ski-resorts-debrief-after-worst-season-in-recent-memory/Content?oid=2646924. Accessed Dec 30, 2015.

[2] http://www.expeditionhelicopters.com/fleet.html

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