Utah is full of outdoor enthusiasts squirming to enjoy the snow at their favorite Wasatch resorts. Nothing compares to a day full of fresh, bottomless turns, but those days are becoming less and less frequent with each passing season. As climate temperatures increase, our snowpack is at risk. Scientists predict that Park City Resort will have lost its entire natural snow pack by the end of the century. If we continue our current climate trajectory, we are expected to lose 25-100% of our spring snowpack in the Western United States by 2100. The thought of losing what most consider to be Utah’s most sacred treasure is terrifying; fortunately, one group of people has dedicated their lives to saving our powder days. Protect Our Winters, or POW, is a group of climate activists passionate about saving our snow pack, created by professional snowboarder Jeremy Jones. The organization is based on mobilizing the snow sports community to act against climate change.
Knowing what you can do to help reduce climate change and protect snow is the hardest part. Many of us feel passionate about the environment but are unsure of what specific steps we can take to protect it. Fortunately, POW has created a step by step roadmap of what anybody can do to become a climate activist.
Step one is finding your biggest lever for change. Do you work for a company that could decrease its environmental impacts? Do you have a large social media following? Are you a writer for a magazine? What do you have that can help you make a difference and be heard? The next step is to get political. Get involved with your local politicians and see what you can do to thank them or hold them accountable for their policies. Step three is to educate yourself. Staying up to date on current climate research and news is important so that you understand what is happening environmentally. Next is to speak up. Use social media, talk to your friends, get a conversation started about the danger of climate change on our snow. You can also talk to businesses. Find out what the company you work for is doing to fight climate change and see if they are doing anything to reduce the businesses carbon footprint. Suggest things they could improve. Step six is to change your ways. Do what you can to reduce emissions and make your lifestyle more carbon neutral. This includes things like reducing your energy usage, carpooling or using public transit, and eating less red meat. The final step is to join POW. Anyone can support and help the cause. You can do this by providing POW with your email to get updates on what they are doing, volunteering, donating, buying gear, and more.
This simple plan gives the average ski bum a basic idea of what they can do to make a difference and provides them with resources to help along the way. According to POW, their “key formula for engaging 60 million+ outdoor sports enthusiasts globally is relevance and authenticity. Though [they] can dress up for meetings, in the end [they] are pro athletes, dirtbags and diehards; for [them], winter is not just a passion, but a way of life.” Whether we are skiers, snowboarders, or neither, we all need winter. Our changing climate is a black-diamond-level problem that requires immediate attention. To learn more about POW and what you can do to get involved visit www.protectourwinters.org.