President's Day weekend often means a trip to the mountains for many of us. Snowboarding and Skiing are exhilarating sports and you do feel like you're appreciating nature when you're out there. But the sustainability behind running the lifts, snow machines, equipment and the drive/flight to get there aren't typically eco-friendly. We're not going to give up the snow, but it's time for a change. Here is a list of a few companies and resources to help you lessen your footprint when you play in the snow.
Buy Used: Play it Again Sports sells quality used equipment. In 2002 I purchased a used Burton board from them that was circa 1998, it still rides amazingly well (*note I only ride about once or twice a year.) Tons of other used resources include Craigslist, Freecycle and Evogear.
Buy Green (if you have to buy new): Major lines like Burton are launching their own eco boards made from sustainable materials. The Burton Eco Nico Board is made from a mix of recycled and new (but less toxic) materials. Bamboo boards have hit the market too. Check out the Indigo Bamboo Board, which is much pricier than you're average board but sustainable nonetheless. Also visit this interesting article on the NY Times about the overall greening of the snowboard industry here.
Find Sustainable Ways to Get There: The slopes usually are far away from urban centers (which is part of the reason we like them.) So if you're heading up to the snow, carpool with your friends. If you're flying to your destination, look into purchasing carbon offsets. Terra Pass is always a good one and you'll be surprised how inexpensive the offsets actually are. While you're at it you can look into offsetting you're entire trip as well.
Support Those Who Make a Difference: If you're staying at a resort, look into places that have eco initiatives. The Ski Area Citizen's Coaltion is a non-profit organization based out of Washington State and California that rates ski resorts that are either Impacting Roadless areas, logging old growth forests, purchasing clean, renewable wind energy, using cleaner burning, biodegradable biodiesel, performing energy efficiency upgrades and more. They also have a list of the ten best and the ten worst resorts in the U.S. You can see the complete list here and viewing their grading criteria here.
Dress the Part: One of the innovators of green business is also the leader in eco-friendly clothes perfect for the snow. Patagonia has a variety of clothing for men and women made from sustainable materials like organic cotton and insulate you no differently than traditional materials. Ladies should check out Rosa Snow's line of eco-friendly and slightly girly snow clothes too.