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Culture Sustainability

The Future Of Winter Sport Is Under Threat…

What can the snowboard community do about it?

Words by Hannah Bailey (@neonstash)

Back in 2005, I had never been snowboarding. In fact, I don’t even remember knowing that it existed. I had once or twice been to Aviemore with my dad and forced onto skis at the bottom of a slope, crying my eyes out. I didn’t find snowboarding until my early twenties, but it was my saviour. It didn’t take long for snowboarding to become my passion, my adventure, my learning and my community. I owe a lot to the snow. Almost 15 years later, I can sit here full of the most amazing memories from adventures. I have ridden through the trees past reindeers in Lofoten, stared out across the Portes du Soleil on a bluebird day with a baguette in hand and a board under foot and ridden backcountry for the first time with locals on the powder highway. These are memories, that we as snowboarders have, but that only exist because snow exists.

“What are we waiting for? I want to continue snowboarding, as I am sure a lot of you do”

So imagine right now that we live in a world where snow doesn’t exist – what does that erase in your life? What future possibile adventures and feelings does it erase? It may free up a load of space in your garage as snowboards dissolve into dust, it might make your winter a bit like a hibernation rather than the more active side of the year, it will definitely lower the excitement level when you hear the words “winter is coming”. It’s a scary thought, but one that could become a reality. A report released on Wednesday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a UN body assessing the science related to climate change, is a stark reminder of this. Edinburgh based climate campaign charity, Protect Our Winters UK, warned that the findings of the report demonstrate clearly that the very existence of outdoor and winter sports – and the communities and businesses that they support – are under urgent threat from the climate crisis. So, what are we waiting for? I want to continue snowboarding, as I am sure a lot of you do.

Visuals of glacier retreat | PC: Cristoph Jorda

This report is important because it provides the best available scientific knowledge to empower communities, like the us to take action. There are many scary facts that I could drop in here, but to keep it simple here are three points:

  • Glaciers, snow and ice are declining and will continue to do so
  • Tourism and recreation activities such as skiing, glacier tourism and mountaineering have been negatively impacted by declining snow cover, glaciers and permafrost and the decline in natural snow cover has already compromised the operation of low-elevation ski resorts
  • Human influence is recognised as the dominant cause of all this and, unfortunately, the changes are coming faster than scientists previously thought

We have to wake up to this potential concept that snow/snow resorts might not exist in the future, and if we want to try and save it the time is now.. Sitting around ignoring it because you just want to go snowboarding, or thinking about it because you want to go snowboarding won’t help (because ultimately there might not be any snow!). The same way we take part in this ACTION sport, we need to take ACTION in this climate crisis. It’s no excuse to say it would be hypocritical of you, pointless or you don’t know how to get involved. “Small” group actions can make a difference – it is proven that only 3.5% of the population actively participating in protests or taking action is needed to make change.

PC: Cristoph Jorda

Lauren MacCallum, General Manager of POW UK says “we are here to support the UK outdoor community to add its large, passionate and influential voice to the climate movement. If we want to continue the outdoor activities we love, the time for the community, including businesses, to get clued up and act is now.”

“The time for the community, including businesses, to get clued up and act is now”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to go back to a time in which snowboarding didn’t exist in my life. I want to fight for future generations to enjoy the experiences and connections the snow has provided me. So what can you do to lend your voice, or time to fight climate change as a snowboarder?

Get clued up.

Speak to each other, share articles (like this), ask questions… Knowledge, as they say, is power. You don’t have to be a climate scientist to know the facts about climate change and you don’t have to know everything! Check out the IPCC SROCC Report Headline Statements.

Use your rights.

Don’t let our political leaders off the hook. If we want to keep warming within 1.5 degrees by 2030 (which would be a massive help in keeping snow a reality) we need radical policy changes. Write letters to your MP, join rallies, rebellions, marches and sign petitions like this one.

Join POW UK.

Let’s support the NGO that supports us as a community to take action.
They are doing the hard work to help us direct our efforts to save the thing we all love, snow.
Join POW UK now.

PC: Cristoph Jorda
PC: Cristoph Jorda
PC: Cristoph Jorda
PC: Cristoph Jorda
PC: Cristoph Jorda
PC: Cristoph Jorda

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