Save skiing


Barney_Moss; Wiki Commons

The joy of skiing may become something of the past if climate change isn’t addressed.

Fifty-two million people in the U.S went skiing last year. Some went to learn a new sport, others went for a fun vacation, and some even spent time with their friends and family.

Skiing or snowboarding is an enjoyable experience and is an excellent way to bond with those around you, but unfortunately, we’re losing it.
To go skiing, you need snow, and every year in the U.S., according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average snowfall decreases by 0.19% every year. This number may not seem like a lot, but the average snowfall in Lake Tahoe is only 400 inches over the entire 2020 winter season, according to the Palisades Resort. They will have 76 inches less than this year next year. This may not seem like a lot compared to the original 400 inches, but the average ski resort needs at least 40 inches of coverage to allow for skiing.
The main reason we are losing snow sports is because of climate change. At the current rate, the earth is warming up about 0.13 degrees a year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
In 10 years at the least, we could start to see ski resorts start shutting down or not opening at total capacity. Nearby, many ski resorts in Wisconsin are already starting to not have all the runs available all season long due to inadequate snow coverage. The runs that can be kept open are only the runs with snow machines.
Snow machines are an excellent solution to this problem because they can create an adequate amount of snow to keep people safe and still skiing, but there are some significant drawbacks. The problem with snow machines is that the snow they produce is 30% ice.
In comparison, natural snow is only 10% ice, according to scientific America. Having more ice in the snow means that the slopes are now icier, making skiing or snowboarding harder and more dangerous regardless of skill level.
When skiing or snowboarding, riders rely on the softness of the snow to dig the edges of their skis or snowboards, which allows them to control their speed, turn, and stop. If slopes start becoming icier, it will limit riders’ control severely.
Typically, when I go skiing, there are significantly fewer people in the afternoon because the sun melts the top of the snow and creates ice, making it harder to ski. Another issue with the snow machines is that it still needs to be cold to produce snow. If the earth keeps getting warmer pretty soon, we will run out of snow, natural or manufactured.
Major snow resorts like Breckenridge have realized all of these issues, which is why they have partnered with an organization called Protect Our Winters (POW). This organization is helping prevent climate change to allow us to keep playing the sports we love all year round.
POW is trying to raise cultural awareness about the issue to influence lawmakers in the government to enact change and provide resources on ways to spread awareness and send letters to their congress members.
We can’t sit around and expect this organization to do all the work. We must also do our parts in our everyday lives to help prevent or slow down climate change, or else we might lose activities that have helped us bond and form memories with those we care about. According to POW, people can donate to them and other organizations and ask their congress members to do something about climate change.