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Ski Club of Manchester, The Climate Crisis and Skiing

Should we be concerned about climate change?

By: Jen Bridgeland — SCoM’s newest committee member

Environmental issues concern us all but in particular, as skiers, should we be considering how we are contributing to the destruction of the very environment that allows us to enjoy the sport we love?

How much longer will we be able to carry on skiing in the Alps if global warming continues at the current rate? How concerned should we be and what can we do to help mitigate the problem?

It’s not difficult to find articles in newspapers and magazines highlighting this very issue, just a quick google search led me to some alarming statements for example:

  • ‘There is undeniable evidence that global warming is having a major impact on skiing’ — National Geographic
  • ‘There are now more than 200 abandoned or closed ski resorts in the Italian Alps alone’ — The Independent

These are big issues to some SCoM members and over the last few years I have been part of many conversations during SCOM holidays and events discussing these or similar topics. At some point during one of these conversations it was suggested that someone (!) should volunteer to stand as a committee member and champion these issues. The next thing that happened is that ‘someone’ became me and I was proposed and seconded and voted in at the AGM in October! So here I am.

I am not suggesting that we should aim to immediately become carbon neutral but that we work towards an Environmental Statement for the club which sets out how we can aim to reduce the impact that our club and our holidays are having on global warming (and in turn the snow levels and thus our ability to carry on skiing in the future).

In the committee meeting of 18.10.21 it was agreed that we add a permanent ‘sustainability’ item to the agenda to make sure we continue with the discussion. The committee endorses the decision made to continue with online committee meetings instead of face to face to reduce our carbon footprint from driving.

Some of the actions that I have suggested that I undertake in the coming months are:

  • Investigate green credentials of ski resorts for our future club holidays. Investigate ‘Flocon Vert’ (Green Snowflake) awarded resort. Are costs in greener resorts comparable?
  • Investigate the costs and issues with different travel options for our holidays ie going by train. Which ski companies offer train travel? What is the appetite amongst members for having an option to travel by train? What are the cost and time implications?
  • Raise environmental issues with the organisations that we are affiliated to ie Ski Club of Great Britain and Snowsport England. Are they considering this issue? Are they considering having an environmental mission statement themselves? Are they considering using their influence in any way eg with ski holiday companies? How can they help us?

My aim is to regularly have a ‘green bit’ in the newsletter with info and updates and also to ask for feedback on what members think or to get ideas on what we could be doing as a club or just some ‘soundbites’ on what you may be doing as individuals. I will also be ‘meeting and greeting’ at Thursday morning SCOM sessions at the Chill Factore/, so happy to chat with anyone about this.

Looking forward continuing this discussion…


Members can view or download the full newsletter containing this article here.