Sadly, some ski vistas have changed – while the trails are white, the surrounding countryside is a wintry gray/brown, no snow in sight. The stark backdrop of the ski venues during opening days at the Winter Olympic Games this year showed this to the world.
Recently, a Washington Post Travel section* piece looked at how some ski resorts are responding to climate change. The ski industry is dependent on climate and is also responsible for exacerbating warming that may lead to skiing’s demise. The article looks at several US ski resorts that are taking action to respond to the needs of the environment as they try to sustain their industry.
Aspen Skiing Company captures methane leaking from an old coal mine to produce power to operate the entire resort of four snow hills, hotels and restaurants and stops the methane leak.
Taos Ski Valley is a certified B Corporation that considers environment, sustainability and social responsibility in every action. Taos protects the health of water in the Rio Grande by caring for the forests in its watershed. The resort will convert to all solar by the end of this year and be carbon neutral by 2030.
Berkshire East Mountain Resort in Massachusetts generates 100% of its electricity on-site using a wind turbine and solar panels, feeding excess power to the local grid. A top-of-mountain pond for snow making uses gravity to reduce power needs.
Bluebird Backcountry is a dramatically different type of ski operation that is “human powered,” no lifts, no snow making, no hotels or restaurants. Portable solar panels heat the tents and at the end of the ski season, they disappear leaving the slopes unmarked.
These approaches show that, as stewards of creation, we can see with new eyes, asking -- what can we do for the earth? what does the earth need? What can I do today, to show that I value the intrinsic worth of creation? Whom will I talk to about this?
*(How four ski resorts are working to slow their demise, Heather Balogh Rochfort, The Washington Post, Travel, Sunday, February 13, 2022)