S n ow ing codes that require a strict “energy budget.” Homeowners and commercial property owners who want to consume more energy than allowed must either install a renewable energy system on-site or pay a mitigation fee. The fees then go back out into the community as grants for energy efﬁciency and renewable energy projects. The idea, according to Schendler, is to ﬁx the entire system – to tackle the big picture. Nothing less will work at this hour, he believes. So Aspen has taken a course well beyond that of traditional recycling/composting/carpooling campaigns. Its leadership directly advocates on behalf of political and regulatory change, nationally and globally. And it recruits its well-heeled clientele to do the same, in concert with Protect Our Winters and Citizens Climate Lobby. Perhaps inspired by Aspen’s lead, other resorts are taking their own, bold steps. Solar energy now powers Mount Abram in Maine, and Jiminy Peak in Massachusetts has a wind turbine producing electricity. Utah’s Alta resort has a new array of solar panels. Still, many of the nation’s largest resorts remain unwilling to join the call, Fox said, including Vail – North America’s largest ski resort company. “It’s gross negligence, is what it is,” he said. “Their business is largely dependent on snow. If I were a shareholder, I would demand some type of inquiry or a major change of attitude. This is their resource, their white gold.” Change the world now, Schendler says, or there will be no skiing – and skiing will be the least of the planet’s worries.
PROTECT OUR WINTERS The power of skiers and snowboarders, and the industry and communities they support, is more signiﬁcant than you might imagine, said Fox. “Skiing is a very high-proﬁle sport,” he said. “It has an affluent demographic, one that can lead by example. These are intelligent and innovative people who are accustomed to taking leadership roles. They know how to solve problems, and how to win people to their position.” Protect Our Winters (POW) is the leading advocacy group acting on behalf of skiers in Washington, D.C., and in state capitals nationwide. Founded by snowboarder Jeremy Jones, the organization is demanding nothing less than the closure of coal-burning power plants and implementation of a new energy grid based on clean, renewable fuels. Jones’ climate-change epiphany came on the slopes of a shuttered ski area near Prince Rupert, British Columbia. “What happened?” he asked the locals. “There just isn’t enough snow anymore,” they said. When Jones couldn’t ﬁnd another organization devoted to the story of climate change from a winter-sports perspective, he formed his own – and, using the celebrity following he developed in more than a decade of epic snowboarding movies – attracted 100,000 members. He modeled the personal lifestyle changes necessary in his own practices, eschewing the use of helicopters to ﬁlm his movies, instead hiking up every mountain he rode. His mantra to followers: “Stronger legs equal better snowboarding.” But the real power of POW, Fox said, is its exhaustive and intelligent cadre of lobbyists. “They are getting it done. They’re leaning on
the politicians, they’re leaning on Washington, D.C.” And they’re armed with the analysis that shows the economic signiﬁcance of the winter tourism economy in the United States – with $12.2 billion in spending annually. POW estimates that $1.07 billion in potential revenues already were lost to low snow years between 2000 and 2010. “This is a business issue,” said Aspen’s Schendler, a member of POW’s board of directors. “In California alone, if their ski resorts shut down, that’s $7.5 billion in revenue,” Fox said. “Then you add in all the ski shops and outﬁtters and all the one-stop markets on the highway to the hill, all the people who provide hotel rooms. They’ll all be out of a job if we lose our snow.” “We need climate change legislation – a fundamental national policy change in how we create and consume energy,” he said. “That includes the power grid and our reliance on automobiles – all of that. There needs to be a carbon tax, there needs to be some kind of cap and trade system, anything that puts CO2 into the atmosphere needs to transition to another model. “The change has to be widespread and fundamental, and it has to happen now, not decades from now.”
New Book wanders the border lands
t’s 5,525 miles long and touches three oceans, eight provinces and 13 states – all while constituting the longest international border that requires no military defense. But lately at least, the U.S.Canada border also touches on some prickly issues: drug smuggling, illegal immigration, easy access for would-be terrorists, hard-rock mining, water rights, air quality and the protection of endangered species. So Porter Fox has no shortage of material for his latest, monumental book project, “Northlands,” a part-travelogue, part-history of America’s northern Porter Fox COURTESY PHOTO border due out in 2018. “It’s about life in the northern United States,” Fox said in a recent interview. “I’m just making my way from the East Coast to the Pacific, wherever the border ends.” The research alone is a two-year project sandwiched between his regular assignments for Powder magazine and duties at his online magazine, www.nowheremag.com. Already, Fox has traveled the northeastern border and the Great Lakes. He memorialized that piece of his journey earlier this year in a travelogue for The New York Times. This fall, Fox is roaming the border from North Dakota, across Montana, North Idaho and Washington state. Where will he stop? What stories will he tell? He’ll let the journey unfold of its own accord, Fox said. “You’ll have to read the book to see where we ended up.”
W I N T E R 2 0 17
–Sherry Devlin SANDPOINT MAGAZINE
10/25/16 9:10 AM
In this issue: Wings of Winter, Future of snow, NFL Super Bowl Champion Ron Heller, Art of Megan Atwood Cherry, Urban Moose, Thrill of shed...