Global Warming Alpine Sports

Global Warming and Alpine Sports Don’t Get Along

Imagine, a bright icy cool morning, on the peak of a tall white mountain, strapped to your skies and ready to ride. All of a sudden, this jerk, named climate change, comes and pisses all over the snow. Now that the snow is melted and the mountain looks like crap, it is totally useless.

The kicker is, climate change claims it was your fault that he melted the snow, because you have been off messing with other beautiful places like forests and streams. He says “why should you care if the snow is melted, you can make more can’t you? Oh wait, resources are limited? Should have thought of that before!”

Climate change claims that your method of cutting trees for ski paths, making snow, and the energy used to maintain your hobbies and sports, are actually the reason why he melted all of your snow.

 How rude. You were just trying to enjoy sports mountain top like human nature calls for.

These days it is so hard to maintain our beloved winter sports. With the perpetually warming average global temperature, naturally occurring snow is less frequent than in the past.

Considering water is now a very precious resource, and drought is causing war and death globally today… snow-making may need to come to an end soon; or we could just live without water.

Winter sports require a lot of massive machines which require a lot of fossil fuel for energy to clear paths through mountains for skiing and snowboarding. Apparently, this process seems to piss of our friend climate change even more because carbon and greenhouse emissions make him “too hot” or something.

Our flawless and thoughtful human made paths affect the soil and water on and around the mountain. It seems that cutting trees and flattening the land and plants is bad for the environment and threatens species existence and biodiversity of local plant and animal wildlife.

 That is definitely a bummer because it is always nice to see cute winter critters on my ski trips while on the mountain. Luckily, I would rather have the sight of ski lift wires, tossed cigarette cartons, and muddied ski trails.

Back to the issue of climate change messing everything up. It turns out, that literally in the best case scenario, it is predicted that snow cover will decline by 18 percent by 2030 and by 39 percent by 2070, according to a study done by Bicknell and McManus in the School of Geosciences at the University of Australia.  In other words, it is only getting worse. Not to worry though, in the meantime the resorts will make sure to borrow some water directly from local aquifers and suck em’ dry to make sure there is enough snow for us to play on.  Sorry marine life you’re SOL.

Must I even bring up the fact that we have to drill and manufacture piping to suck that water up, and then get some huge machines to permanently embed them into dense soil and rock upon steep inclines. Oops! Was there a family of mountain beavers there? I hope you like playing wack-a-mole because we are ready to force a metal pipe straight into your home!

Machine grading to flatten these habitats out wouldn’t be a big deal if it wasn’t that compact soil leads to a higher volume of water run-off, which can flood local streets and rivers. This actually happened at a place called, Zubska River, according to an Environmental Management study.

It was also found by The British Ecology Society that compact soil also has a lower fertility rate. So plants struggle to grow, erosion and run off continue, and various animal and anthropod species are at risk of endangerment due to habitat quality decline, and resource scarcity.

 At this point I can’t decide which makes me more uncomfortable, mass extinction in the animal kingdom, or humans houses being washed away in a flood. Maybe both are fine, as long as we can keep skiing.

So we now know the reconstruction of the mountain destroys habitats, and causes scarcity in resources, but just for clarification we can check out an impact study done by Springer Science and Business Media. This study showed that ski lifts and wires are responsible for the endangerment of many bird species like Ptarmigans.

Creatures living on these mountains also suffer heightened amounts of stress due the construction, human activity, and machines. Poor cute babies.

The death of thousands of animals is necessary for a good day on the mountain, and some human death will probably be ok too! We could decide to enforce more sustainable practices at alpine resorts, or we could wait and see what gets us first: unbearable heat from our greenhouse emissions, or death by dehydration! Don’t worry, no matter the global climate, all of us Olympic skiers will always have some fresh pow to shred!

PHOTO TAKEN by Caroline Mattise