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How to Go Green: Skiing and Snowboarding

By Brian Merchant Read More
Skiing and snowboarding are such robust, exhilarating outdoor-oriented pastimes that it just seems wrong to not be green when you hit the slopes. You are, after all, taking advantage of nature's generous decision to include snowy, mountainous inclines in its blueprint—so why not minimize your impact when you go?
Thanks to plenty of progressive gear makers and resort owners, being environmentally responsible on your next ski or snowboarding trip won't be an insurmountable challenge. The folks who work in the ski and snowboard industry do so for a reason, remember—they likely love their sport, the outdoors, and the environment. There are a ton of easy ways to make your carbon footprint closer to a barely discernable snowshoe imprint, from supporting resorts dedicated to greening their slopes to picking out gear that's cutting edge both in performance and sustainability.
The skiing and snowboarding industries face a particularly pressing climate change Catch-22: ski resorts are big emissions generators, and those very emissions may very well put them out of business. We do, after all, need snow to snowboard, right? So it's easy to see why some resorts have a bit of a heightened interest in going green.
This guide will help you pick out the ones that are already implementing ecologically responsible initiatives-some have already gone to great lengths to install wind turbines, buy carbon offsets, and implement carpooling programs. We'll also look at some stellar green gear like solar-paneled ski suits and bamboo boards, point out some of the most egregious eco-offenders (can you say "indoor ski resort"?) and advocate greener, crowd-less cross country skiing and riding. Even better, from online watchdog green groups to cheap carbon offset movements, there are already well-oiled organizations, communities, and programs in place to aid the eco-conscious skier.
Of course, there will also still be some frightening facts to face; sad, slippery slopes of truth about snowfall rates going downhill is just one of them. Some of the more foreboding projections predict a snow-less mountain where the Winter Olympics-hosting Park City resort once stood in Utah-in under a century. But take heart-helping to turn the tide can be simple and painless.
So strap in, and get ready to ski and ride green.