I am among the 21 million skiers and snowboarders in the US anxiously awaiting the start of the upcoming ski season. After almost two decades, I still get excited by the first snowfall and my first ride of the season, despite the sport being my livelihood. There is also a more serious side to my life as a pro snowboarder: the role of being a climate activist.
Protect Our Winters (POW) is a nonprofit organization I started in 2007 to unite and mobilize the global snow sports community against climate change. I wanted to get the conversation going about how it affects the winter sports community on so many levels, not only the environmental implications but the economic repercussions as well.
What many of us out there may not know is that the winter sports industry, which generates $66 billion a year in revenue, depends on consistently snowy winters to maintain over 600,000 jobs within our industry, at the resorts and throughout our mountain communities. Some would say we're doing this to protect our powder days, but those powder days are serious business for hundreds of thousands of people. And, while I may have cameras following me when I ride, Protect Our Winters has a direct mission. POW was founded on the idea that the collective power of the winter sports community is massive, and if we can all work together, the end result can be revolutionary.
My new-found role has recently taken me to Washington, DC where I met with members of the House and Senate for a second time. I am realizing that as a pro snowboarder, I have an amazing opportunity to be a role model for others in the winter sports community and use my position to inspire others to be climate activists too; this includes individuals, but also my corporate sponsors.
This year, POW is working with Alamos Wines to co-host events that demonstrate our shared mission to protect our mountains and mountain communities from the effects of climate change.
I was thrilled to hear about Alamos' commitment to Protect Our Winters. The partnership was inspired by Alamos winemaker, Felipe Stahlschmidt, who is a fellow outdoorsman and is passionate about winter recreation and preservation.
Some may find a partnership with a winery out of the ordinary, but it actually makes a ton of sense: Alamos depends on yearly snowmelt from the Andes Mountains to irrigate their vineyards.
Alamos Wines and Protect Our Winters share an appreciation for high-altitude regions and we're both reliant on consistent winters, whether it be for a resort to open on time or snowmelt to irrigate vineyards to help produce the next vintage. We are fortunate that the wine community has taken notice of our organization.
So, you may be asking what you can do as a snow activity enthusiast? At POW, there are simple things we ask everyone to pledge to do. These include: joining our community, minimizing your carbon footprint, getting involved locally, supporting companies that are taking real action and educating yourself on the latest climate-related news.
Today, POW has over 40,000 supporters made up of individuals, professional athletes, resorts and corporate partners, such as Alamos Wines, Patagonia and Teton Gravity Research. Collectively, we want to preserve and protect the places we love. It's about protecting our lifestyle but it's also about helping snow-dependent communities that depend on a consistent winter season for jobs and economic stability.
In the spirit of our partnership, Alamos Wines is spreading the love by gifting 1,000 people with yearlong POW memberships. Simply register on protectourwinters.org. Your fee will be waived by entering codeword ALAMOS.