Skiers seek climate change moves: 'The seasons have shifted'

From Slopes to Sustainability: Skiers Demand Action on Climate Change

Mikaela Shiffrin, Federica Brignone, and Aleksander Aamodt Kilde are among the nearly 200 athletes from multiple disciplines who have signed a letter calling for action over climate change. The letter, which was addressed to the International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS), was delivered during the skiing world championships after a lack of snow and warm weather wiped out nearly a month of racing at the start of the season. This has had a significant impact on preseason training, particularly on melting European glaciers.

The effects of climate change on the skiing world have been palpable, with the impact on the schedule being felt even in January. Consequently, the athletes, who include Olympic cross-country skiing champion Jessie Diggins and Freeride World Tour champions Arianna Tricomi and Xavier de le Rue, signed the letter in a bid to demand progressive organizational action.

The letter was written by Austrian downhiller Julian Schütter, an ambassador for the non-profit organization Protect Our Winters (POW). In it, the athletes express concern about the effects of climate change on their profession and everyday lives. “We need progressive organizational action,” the letter says. “We are aware of the current sustainability efforts of FIS and rate them as insufficient. The public opinion about skiing is shifting towards unjustifiability.”

The athletes have called on the International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS) to take action on climate change by shifting the start of the season from late October to late November and the end of the season from mid-March to late April. They argue that the seasons have shifted and that in the interest of all athletes, they need to adapt to these new circumstances.

The athletes also requested a more “geographically reasonable” race schedule to reduce carbon emissions, citing how the men’s circuit will have traveled from Europe to North America and back twice by the end of this season. The skiers specifically referred to the two Colorado resorts, Beaver Creek and Aspen, and suggested planning those two races one after the other would reduce approximately 1,500 tons of carbon emissions.

Moreover, the athletes have called for FIS to create a sustainability department, reflecting the need to be proactive in tackling climate change in the skiing industry. As global warming continues to threaten the future of the winter sports industry, the athletes have emphasized the need for collective action to ensure that the industry is sustainable for future generations.

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