Skiiers urge sport’s governing body to act over climate crisis and lack of snow
Top skiers have signed a letter to the International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS) demanding action over the climate emergency.
This season, there has been a notable lack of snow across Alpine resorts, leaving holidaymakers disappointed and causing some ski tournaments to be called off.
Global heating has meant that there is no longer guaranteed snow at some of the top ski areas, with the situation predicted to get worse as the planet heats and weather becomes more erratic.
Now, leading athletes have called for the FIS to overhaul its sustainability strategy, as it is lacking. They have asked for a more “geographically reasonable” race schedule to reduce carbon emissions, as often the races entail flying across the world multiple times. This year, the men’s circuit will have travelled from Europe to North America and back twice.
They are also asking for the ski season to be changed to keep up with climate breakdown. They have suggested shifting the start of the season from late October to late November and the end of the season from mid-March to late April.
“The seasons have shifted and in the interest of us all we need to adapt to those new circumstances,” they said.
The Norwegian racer Aleksander Aamodt Kilde told the Associated Press: “We see that the world is changing. We see also the impact of our sport … I want the future generations to experience winter and to be able to do what I do.”
The letter, signed by 200 athletes, was written by the Austrian downhiller Julian Schütter, ambassador for climate campaign group Protect Our Winters (Pow).
It says: “We are already experiencing the effects of climate change in our everyday lives and our profession. The public opinion about skiing is shifting towards unjustifiability … We need progressive organisational action. We are aware of the current sustainability efforts of FIS and rate them as insufficient.”
The American downhiller and Pow ambassador Travis Ganong added: “The simple truth of the matter is you can’t ski without snow and it’s going closer and closer every year to that.
“We really want to push our organising body to be leaders in this fight for climate change and currently I don’t think we are leading. I don’t know if it’s the schedule or what [the FIS] can change, but at least start looking deep into what we’re currently doing and how we can do it better.”
The FIS has been approached for comment.