What Will Happen To Skiing And Snowboarding When Global Warming Destroys Our Winters?
If you love winter sports, you can’t help but be concerned about the state of snow around the world.
I grew up in Pennsylvania near a tiny ski resort called Ski Liberty, about 15 minutes from my parents house. Every year I’d throw down $150 for a season-long pass that allowed me to ski there and two other runty Pennsylvania hills as much as I’d like, all winter long.
The snow was garbage and 90% machine made, but it was like a second home to me during the winter. After the last bell at our high school rang around 4 PM, I’d beeline to the mountain with my buddies to goof around on my clearance-bought Salomons. From December to mid-March, I’d go three or four nights a week, even when it was dumping soggy wet snow or negative wind chill. There were also times I’d go and literally be in a t-shirt when the slopes were nothing but dirt, rocks, and and ice. In fact, I think the reason I was able to actually *get* so good at skiing was from learning how to control myself while barreling down a hill with bad snow that was 60% ice. I came to this realization when I moved to Colorado to ski for a year after college — You really learn the finesse of what your skis and body can do when a carving down a black diamond that’s frozen solid.
As of this blog post, it’s still extremely early in the season. But it’s also 65 degrees outside in the middle of December. I literally broke out in a sweat walking to work in NYC with morning, two weeks from the beginning of winter. The lifts at Ski Liberty and scores of other small resorts around the Northeast aren’t open yet this year and *probably* won’t be for the foreseeable future. While El Nino promises for a dumping in the Rockys and the high elevations of the Sierra Nevadas, conditions overall are trending to drier and warmer winters at many mountains in traditional winter havens.
What effect does global warming have on these winter trends? Enough to be concerned, especially when some studies speculate that there might not even be a winter on planet earth 100 years from now. This has lead to watchdog organizations like SaveOurSnow.com to push for green initiatives at resorts around the country. But obviously marco global weather trends are much, much bigger than making a couple chairlifts in the mountains solar powered.
I like the seasons. I like living in a Northeastern United States that properly feels like the Northeastern United States, not Florida 2.0 with more deciduous trees. And as a skier, it’s a little alarming to think Audi commercial with Candide Thovex might be what skiing looks like a few years.
Winter is a season that makes you feel alive like no other season. If I ever have kids, I want them to live in a world where they know what a proper winter is like.
After all, you can’t feel the thrash of edging between moguls on a pair of roller blades.