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snow of tomorrow

Snow of tomorrow | Skiing in 2020 - is that still allowed?

Let's talk about it! - Sustainability and environmental protection on PG.com

by Lisa Amenda 10/28/2019
Polluters, bad boys/girls, egoists: take your pick. We skiers are the climate's nightmare come true. Or are we? This column will look at the reality and how we can ski in a more environmentally friendly way. But first of all, why can't we get rid of this climate monster that is skiing?

Do you know this? The summer vacation is over, the evenings are getting cooler and the daylight less and less, the leaves turn from green to orange to red and finally fall from the trees, the last Oktoberfest beer has been drunk and in the morning the first fog settles over the fields. It's fall. And that's when I start to look forward to winter. At first I say goodbye to summer full of melancholy, but then I keep looking at the latest ski models, get the first buyers' guide and make plans for the season. At first, I'm still euphoric: "Everything will be better this winter and I'll be skiing every weekend and maybe even a few times before work." Until the reality of Munich catches up with me: traffic jams from the A8 slip road to the end of the A8, straight on to the Zillertal and back again. In the ski resort, there's more jostling and queuing and also on all the ski tours that start in the Munich area.

While I'm sitting in the car, I keep thinking to myself how insane the whole thing is. Getting stuck in traffic jams, chasing exhaust fumes out of the exhaust pipe and then skiing for a few lousy hours on the last remnants of glaciers or freshly snow-covered slopes. Is it still worth it? And isn't skiing, the sport I've idolized since I was three years old, just a dusty dinosaur that's best put in a museum today? Do Fridays for Future demonstrators go skiing? Am I even allowed to do that? Does it make sense for me to blow millions of liters of water into the sky to make snow on the slopes? To literally blow CO2 out of the window on the way there just because I like gliding down a slope on two boards? I could just start something right from my front door and not have to drive to the mountains every weekend. Gravel biking, for example. Snowshoeing (well, joke) or, I don't know, just hiking, walking, cross-country skiing?

But no. I need the speed, to put myself in the curve and press the edges into the snow. Because what used to be my favorite ski quote from Christian Weber: "Of course you could also do coke, but that's supposed to damage the nasal mucosa in the long run, is pretty expensive and will get you in trouble with the police at some point. As far as hallucinogenic potential is concerned, the snow under your skis is in no way inferior to the snow in your nose: Happiness fires through the synapses, the senses heighten and for a moment, life is simple and beautiful."

So maybe I'm just addicted. That would explain why I find it so difficult to give up skiing to save the climate.

I studied geography and know exactly what will happen if we continue to live the way we do, but I can't change my personal behavior everywhere. I eat vegetarian, try to eat mainly regional and seasonal food and only use my car at the weekend at most. I try to avoid single-use plastic anyway and I have a green bank. But then this outdoor sport keeps getting in the way. This equipment-devouring monster that is so much fun and for which I still get stuck in traffic jams. Because going to the mountains by train alone is unfortunately still pretty inconvenient and not made for a day trip.

And now? Now I'm asking the question that so many others always ask when it comes to climate change: "Why should I be the only one to change my life when others don't?" Quite simply because it's still worth it. And I have to say, I'm really the last skier who wants to ban you from skiing. But I do believe, and this is exactly what this column is supposed to stand for, that we shouldn't strap skis under our feet at all costs. For example, we can only ski when there really is enough snow. We can make sure that our equipment is made from recycled or sustainable resources and we can fill up our car with lots of friends so that we're not stuck in traffic jams all alone. We don't want to ban you or ourselves from skiing, but we do want to raise awareness of the mountains and sustainable alternatives.

Snow of Tomorrow - the authors

Each week, the Snow of Tomorrow column will focus on a topic that has to do with sustainability and environmental protection in the broadest sense in connection with outdoor sports. Lisa Amenda will contribute most of the articles and, among other things, give practical tips on sustainable equipment and shed light on the jungle of environmental labels.

The employees of the ÖAV's Spatial Planning and Nature Conservation Department will also regularly contribute to the column and deal with topics that are close to the Alpine Association - from freedom of trails to ski tour guidance and bivouacs on the mountain.

In between, there will also be individual contributions from other members of the PG team.

Lisa Amenda

Lisa prefers to explore the mountains with sports equipment under her feet: Definitely on freeride skis in winter and on a mountain bike in summer. However, as it's not just sport that plays a major role for her, but above all the nature in which she moves, she studied geography in Munich and Innsbruck, specializing in global change, regional sustainability and alpine natural hazards. Today, she combines her two interests - outdoor sports and the environment - in her work as an editor and blogger on her blog wildrecreation.com and specializes in sustainability in outdoor sports. Lisa is part of the "Snow of Tomorrow" column because, although she specializes in such topics, she herself is still her biggest project. So when she gives tips for more sustainability, she doesn't just want to give you an incentive, but also soothe her own guilty conscience when sometimes the skier's heart beats louder than the sustainability heart.

Austrian Alpine Club - Spatial Planning and Nature Conservation Department

With over 570000 members and 25000 officials, the Alpine Club is the largest alpine association in Austria. In addition to the promotion of mountain sports, the maintenance of (alpine) infrastructure (huts, paths, climbing halls) and social commitment in the area of family and youth work, alpine nature and environmental protection is one of the central tasks of the association. As an "advocate of the Alps", its involvement in Alpine spatial planning is essential and its role as an ecological conscience in Alpine environmental issues is indispensable. Since 1980, there has been a separate "Spatial Planning and Nature Conservation" department, whose primary goal is to protect the Alps as a unique natural and living space.

The department's remit is as diverse as the Alpine landscape: freedom of access, visitor guidance, environmental education, mountaineering villages, protected areas, the Alpine Convention, EIA procedures and hotly contested ski resort developments - just a few of the key words from its wide range of activities. On the Website of the Alpine Association you can find out who the employees of the department are. You will also get to know some of them over the course of the winter on powderguide.com.

This article has been automatically translated by DeepL with subsequent editing. If you notice any spelling or grammatical errors or if the translation has lost its meaning, please write an e-mail to the editors.

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