Over the past years writing the Steep newsletter, I have refrained from really expressing any points of view on the impact of climate change on the ski industry. Partly that is due to being told back in 2010 by some of the leaders in the industry after I and a colleague had done research on the potential impact of a warming climate on the ski industry, that we did not know what we were talking about. However, given this winter and the past couple, I refuse to be silent on this topic.
Many more knowledgably people other than me have written on this subject. I have collected a number of articles and papers on the subject, which I am sure you probably have read many of them. There is one that sums up much of what I think are the most important points. It was published in the Summit Daily as an editorial on Oct 13, 2017; Summit Daily editorial: Climate change actions, both big and small.
The editorial reiterates a point made by Auden Schendler, Aspen Skiing Co.’s vice president of sustainability and the chairman of the activist group Protect Our Winters; “You’re doing the right thing to make your resorts more environmentally sustainable and energy efficient, but it’s not nearly enough — we’ve got to take the fight to Washington, D.C.”
The last part of this quote is the most important action the ski areas can be doing on behalf of the climate. Furthermore, the ski industry needs to engage its customer base to expand its voice. Yes, many of the ski industry’s existing clients support various nonprofits that are fighting the battle, but more needs to be done to engage the of 9+ million skiers. The effort has to be one led by the ski industry. Where that leadership will come from I am not sure. But we have one leader in Aspen Ski Co. and Auden Schendler and maybe we just need more Auden’s.