Will there be skiing in the age of climate change? Ski industry leader Nick Sargent calls for climate action

As climate change threatens the very existence of many ski areas, “The snow sports industry is in a state of disruption,” warns Snowsports Industries America (SIA), the nonprofit, 70-year-old trade association representing snow sports manufacturers, retailers and resort communities. Nick Sargent, president of SIA and a resident of Stowe, Vt., offers his take on the bumpy trail ahead for the world of skiing and snowboarding. He says that skiing is “the canary in the coal mine,” and taking aggressive action on climate change, including levying a carbon tax, is more urgent now than ever. (April 24, 2019 broadcast)

Nick Sargent, president, Snowsports Industries America (SIA)

Part 1

Part 2

Is climate change killing skiing?

Is climate change killing skiing? One study argues that only about half of the 103 ski resorts in the Northeast will be economically viable by mid-century. The advocacy group Protect Our Winters says that in low snow years, reduced participation in skiing cost 17,400 jobs compared to an average ski season. In January 2019, the National Ski Areas Association joined forces with the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and Snowsports Industries America (SIA) to form the Outdoor Business Climate Partnership, which “aims to provide leadership on climate change and inspire meaningful action” and improve the resiliency of their $887 billion industry. We speak with Kelly Pawlak, president of the National Ski Areas Association about the ski industry’s response to climate change. And we talk with journalist Porter Fox, who argues in his book DEEP and in a New York Times op-ed that the ski industry has not done nearly enough to fight climate change. (April 20, 2019 broadcast)

Kelly Pawlak, president, National Ski Areas Association

Porter Fox, author, DEEP: The Story of Skiing and the Future of Snow

 

Vermont’s secret Olympic pipeline

In February 2018, the US women’s cross-country ski team team won the first ever Olympic gold medals in their sport. Olympic skiers are now returning home, which for many of them is to Craftsbury, Vermont. This small northern Vermont community has become a pipeline for Olympic cross-country skiers, many of whom are part of the Green Racing Project at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center. About half of the athletes on the Green Racing Project team competed in the 2018 Olympics. We talk with Judy Geer, founder of Green Racing Project, her two daughters who competed in the Olympics, and another recently returned Olympic cross-country skier to learn the secrets behind their success. We also discuss why American biathletes, who fire guns as part of their sport, are now speaking out in favor of gun control. (March 21, 2018 broadcast)

Judy Geer, Concept2, director, Craftsbury Outdoor Center, Green Racing Project, 1976, 1980 & 1984 Olympic rower

Hannah Dreissigacker, 2014 Olympic biathlete, member, Green Racing Project

Emily Dreissigacker, 2018 Olympic biathlete, member, Green Racing Project

Caitlin Patterson, 2018 Olympic cross-country skier, member, Green Racing Project