Protect Our Winters to Save Future of Snow Sports

Protect Our Winters is a non-profit organization that was started by Jeremy Jones, a pro snowboarder, in 2007. The organization is concerned with the effects of climate change on mountains, and in turn on winter sports and communities. Protect Our Winter’s mission is to get the global snow sports community to unite and lead the way in fighting climate change.

Jeremy Jones saw the need for action to be taken when he experienced firsthand the effects of climate change. Resorts and areas that were once open to snowboarders and skiers had to be closed due to lack of snow. The greatest risk to winter sports is the increasing temperatures that will result in decreased snowpack in North America‘s western mountains, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This would ultimately mean less snow, with a shorter skiing and boarding season. While it has been noted that climate change may see more powder in certain areas, the warmer mountains are at risk. It is strongly believed by scientists that if action is taken now, mankind can reduce the build-up of greenhouse gases, lessening the rate and magnitude of climate change.

With this in mind, Protect Our Winters firmly believes that active participation by the community, along with a change in consumer behavior, means snow sport enthusiasts can have a positive impact on climate change. The organization is involved in activitism, education initiatives and other community projects. Amongst their campaigns is the POW Riders Alliance, which encourages winter sport athletes to set an example in reducing their carbon footprint and influence consumer behavior positively. The POW Community Fund/Monthly Grants program offers grants to community based groups working to fight climate change. Through global activism, Protect Our Winters educates others and also brings the community together to create awareness and bring about change, especially in relation to legislative issues.

Protect Our Winters has joined with Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) to establish the Hot Planet/Cool Athletes initiative, aimed at mountain community schools. Through the help of pro-athletes and multi-media, students learn about solutions to climate change and are inspired to take action. The Coal Kills Snow program has been formed along with The Sierra Club, highlighting how burning coal, as well as mining, are poor ways to generate power and are affecting climates in mountain regions. The focus is to move away from coal to renewable energy. Finally, the Resort Partnerships scheme is used to raise funds to assist community projects, as well as creating awareness through events.

A number of Protect Our Winters‘ projects have seen good results and they continue to work hard to save our mountains for the benefit of communities and winter sport fans.