Save our snow
As a World Freeskiing Champion, the founder of the Save Our Snow Foundation, and award-winning global cooling consultant, I’m often asked about my viewpoints on climate change in regard to snow droughts, like we are experiencing this year.
I found that people couldn’t relate to “climate change” and that the term “global warming” left people confused, so I switched to “global weirding.” That term more accurately describes what is happening — while the planet is warming, the actual result is extreme weather. Global temperature increases result in really strange local weather — record low temperatures, record heat waves, more windy weather, record droughts, and yes, even record snowstorms. As the air warms, it can hold more moisture, so in the short-term we can have larger snowfalls. In the long term, more of those storms will fall as rain.
Today in Colorado, we are seeing record dust storms that are assisting in extremely early snowmelt — up to 40 days earlier than historic records. I don’t think anyone has to be a rocket scientist to see that the weather is a bit weirder than usual. The extremes are just so much more pronounced. It’s January, and I’m going for a bike ride. How strange is that? In Pakistan, I saw glaciers advancing in 2005 due to increased snowfall, and then watched them retreat up to 50 percent by 2007. On one ski expedition it was raining at 17,500 feet — something I have never seen in my lifetime. In Bolivia, I skied the highest ski area in the world at 18,000-plus feet, but that glacier disappeared forever in 2009.
Folks ask me about a critical tipping point. In my opinion, we have already passed a critical point in the concentrations of carbon dioxide on our planet. But I’m an optimist and I believe we have the ability to change.
I’ve worked with Osprey’s Marketing Director Gareth Martins (above left and below right) for years, even traveled with him on an epic ski adventure to India, but I’ve never seen him play the sax until the Outdoor Retailer show. And he ROCKED it. Like I knew he would.
The All-Star Industry Jam was a benefit for three wonderful charities, including my own Save Our Snow Foundation. Folks that I’ve worked and played with for years, like Gareth, were suddenly transformed into new beings, shedding their outdoor personalities, morphing into a music stage presence that I only wish I could have. I would go into how I was embarrassed in choir and play tryouts, but we will skip that boring story.
Proceeds will go to our new school program — The Save Our Snow Foundation is partnering with Protect our Winters to bring entertaining presentations and workshops on money-saving solutions to climate change to schools around the US. Thanks Gareth and Osprey!
Osprey’s Rippin Chix Mountain Bike Camps were SOLD OUT for June! Was it the Raptor demos? Big smiles? The confidence built from learning to tackle fear-mongering logs, roots, bridges, switchbacks, uphills and downhills? The great sponsor prizes from Patagonia and Osprey? The world famous instructors such as Sara Ballantyne, Sydney Fuller, Tina Kempin, Brittany Fuller, Stacee Vanaernem and Missy Ochs? Whatever it was, June was a huge success!
The events were held during Crested Butte’s Fat Tire Bike Week, with racing, concerts, and exciting events such as the Chainless World Championships.
Ready to learn more and join the Rippin Chix? I will have Raptor demos and prizes at the next big camp: October 2-3rd, based in Paonia, Colorado at my new sustainable demonstration and educational farm. Free camping. swimming in the pond, ride out your tent flap, and dine on food from the gardens and orchards, prepared by world class chefs!
Wanna Go? Tell us why you should win a free spot by commenting on this blog. Osprey will choose a winner Friday, July 23!
Visit http://www.alisongannett.com for more information.
There are three things I love in my life — skiing, surfing and biking, well, I guess I’d have to add coffee and my fiance, but that is another story. Anyway, I’m a damn lucky person, as I not only get to work hard to save our snow and our planet, but I also get to play hard at those sports, while working to protect them. Interestingly enough, just before this shot for the interview, we had another one of those crazy dust storms, as you can see in this photo. Most of the dust is from NE Arizona — check out http://www.snow.utah.edu/ for more info. Tom Painter, the Director of the Snow Optic Laboratory has found that the big dust storms in recent years have caused almost a 50-day earlier melt than years without dust. The culprit? Overgrazing, development and most likely increase extreme weather from climate change.
Just a few days ago, I hosted a journalist who came to Crested Butte to do a story on me for Wintersport, the largest Dutch ski magazine. The photo above is me taking her up Crested Butte Mountain Resort, so that as a non-skier she could see the double-black terrain that I love so much.
Right after the interview, I headed to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to start my Global Cooling Tour — riding 330 miles self-supported to Washington, DC for Earth Day, 2010. This year I am joined by some fellow planet-saving folks from KEEN footwear, who will join me for my meeting with Senators. My big push this year is showing Republican and Democratic Senators how a 30% reduction in emissions can be save money and jobs, while also promoting energy independence. I am also heading to the White House, to meet with Obama’s head of Governors.
Ultimately, I hope to meet with our President someday soon, as it was clear in Copenhagen that the current administration believes that meaningful solutions to climate change are expensive. Any Osprey fans out there with connections?
I’ll end this evening with a video to show our first day on the trail. Any Osprey fans out there on the C&O towpath, send me a shout out on Facebook! Thanks Osprey for making my Global Cooling Tour possible.
Ride to DC – Day 1
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While I have worked half my life on cost-saving measures to reduce our carbon footprints and save energy, I created the Save Our Snow Foundation in 2006 (http://www.saveoursnowfoundation.org) to take the message to the US and worldwide. I was actually skiing in Crested Butte, when the beautiful sunny day and glistening peaks inspired an epiphanous moment.
In a strange way, my personal attempts to make a difference in my own life, have turned into a template for what is cost-effective, easy to implement, and also actually effective at reducing energy use. Some things have worked, such as growing my own food at 9,000 feet, and other have failed such as my solar-electric PHEV SUV, but all have taught me valuable lessons.
My journey has moved away from science lately, into non-controversial items such as job security, deficit reduction, and energy independence. While I have seen glaciers disappear around the world and snow storms becoming more erratic, I don’t really care about convincing folks about the realities of climate change anymore. Why bother? We have such a short time to make such radical changes, so my latest approach is to work with severe skeptics on action items that save money, so we can actually move forward.
My next big push will be the US Senate in April. I’ll be pitching the concept that a 30% reduction can save us energy and save us money. I’ll not be toting my KODE around, or my skis this time, but trying to look more fashionable. I’ll be biking to DC for Earthday, via a trail building day in Pittsburgh. Any Osprey fans out there who want to lend a hand to help save our snow for our children?
Osprey Ambassador Alison Gannett here, writing from Crested Butte, Colorado. Lots of time I’m training for competitions, or fighting to save our snow, but today was one of those days were I just SKIED. Not only was there stellar powder, but I was hanging with my good friends.
Gareth and Sam from Osprey had just sent me a new KODE 30 to test, so I guess I was really working hard today – right? I must say, I loved the gear compartments, the side zipper access, and its sexy look. Another test item I brought along was a jelly jar filled with coffee, wrapped in a hot pink Osprey beer Coozie. I think everyone should have one.
Great powder days like this not only remind me of why I fight to SAVE OUR SNOW (http://www.saveoursnowfoundation.org) but also it really recharges my batteries, gives my life a blissful balance, and reminds me of how damn lucky I am, especially in the wake of Haiti.
Stay posted for my upcoming competition – The 7 extreme hours of Banana, and I’ll try to dig up some good photos of my 42k skate race in a thong bikini.
Osprey Ambassador Alison Gannett to walk London to Brussels with skis on her Osprey pack to raise awareness and support to SAVE OUR SNOW at the COP-15 talks in Denmark. In Copenhagen, she will be working with the United Nations and their Climate Heroes programs, working together to help ensure that almost 200 nations, including Obama and the US, can work together to create the next Kyoto treaty.
Alison Gannett is a World Champion Extreme Skier, Founder of The Save Our Snow Foundation, an award-winning global cooling consultant, and long time Osprey Fan and Ambassador. She was named “Ski Hero of the Year” by Ski Magazine in 2009, and Outside magazine named her “A Green All-Star”, next to Leonardo DiCaprio and Arnold Schwarzenegger. She travels the world documenting glacial recession on her crazy ski mountaineering expeditions. She also trains individuals, businesses and governments on her four-step, cost-saving, climate change solutions framework, including working to train Al Gore’s Climate Project team and Congressman Markey’s Energy Congressional Independence and Global Warming Committee in Washington, DC.
To learn more or support Alison: