Tips to Ensure Environmentally Friendly Snowboarding
As the ski industry is completely reliant on cold weather global warming is a worrying threat to the future of snow sports. There is now no doubt in the minds of the educated that the recent rises in average global temperature are due to man’s actions.
Burning huge amounts of fossil fuels for energy has pumped unnaturally large amounts of green house gases into the atmosphere with effect of warming of the planet.
It is now almost impossible to open a newspaper without seeing at least one article describing the effects of global warming. Thinning ice caps, retreating glaciers, species of plants and animals declining as their habitat gets too hot for their survival.
Skiers and snowboarders are some of the first people to witness global warming first hand. Shorter winters, rising snowlines and disappearing glaciers are worrying signs that things are heating up, and if not stopped, the ski industry is likely to eventually face destruction.
The irony that faces winter sports fans, is that in our very desire to enjoy snow sports, we are contributing to the destruction of the mountains environment that we know and love. Just by travelling to a ski area we must normally use some form of transport.
Many, especially those from the UK, fly to other countries and in doing so release huge volumes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The creation of ski runs needs vast amounts of deforestation, avalanche bombing disturbs animals trying to hibernate, artificial snow making uses up vast amounts of water and toxic ski wax left in the snow enters rivers and streams with damaging results.
So, considering the effects that we have on the mountains, how should we try to minimise our impact?
Well – there are many ways we can try to limit the negative effects.
- The most significant way to reduce your impact is to avoid flying. Planes pump out a huge amount of the green house gas carbon dioxide, and they also deposit it where it had greatest negative effect. If possible, travel to the resort by train or car.
- Support companies with environmentally friendly policies and products. The green movement has spawned many companies who are striving to change the way things are done, for the better. It is important to vote with your money, and buy from such companies.
- Examples include products such as environmentally friendly ski wax, or snowboards that a built from sustainable products.
- On the mountain take all your litter home. With such low temperatures, even organic waste can take years to decay. A cigarette butt can take five years. If you see litter on the slopes, do the right thing and pick it up.
- Choose a Green Resort – in recognition that the ski industry is under severe threat, many resorts themselves are spearheading green practices. For example, many use bio-diesel in their piste-groomers, and solar panels and wind power for a portion of their energy needs.
- Rather than throw your old snowboard away, turn it into something useful. Your imagination is the only limit here, but picnic benches, shelves, tables, even wine racks are easy to constuct and make a quirky addition to your home.
Once you’ve done everything you can – start encouraging your friends, family and colleagues to do the same.