How the Ski Industry Affects the Environment

How the Ski Industry Affects the Environment
How the Ski Industry Affects the Environment

Nearly 96 percent of consumers have a positive image of companies that participate in cause marketing, reports research group Cone/Echo. How does this affect ski and other sports enthusiasts? Providing inexpensive products and services isn’t enough in today’s consumer-savvy market. In addition to demanding products that add value and make life easier, consumers want to know the companies they do business with are socially responsible. Ethics, environmental sustainability, charity, and benevolence all factor into consumer behavior, and this translates to the sports world, as well.

Skiing into Consumption

As customers are shopping more prudently by using energy comparison shopping sites such as, by clipping coupons, and by shopping on eBay to get the lowest cost possible, they’re also attaching more value to companies that generate funds for charities and organizations that fit their ideological ideals. Oddly enough, those same consumers who demand sustainable practices from merchants, banks and other commercial entities often leave their responsibility behind when it comes to sports and recreation.

Every year, thousands of people gather skis and head to the mountains; shell out thousands of dollars to watch their favorite sports team compete on the court and on the field; and spend hours on the water in speed boats and other water craft that clog the waterways with spent oil and gas.

There is a disconnect of sorts between what consumers demand of the business community and what sporting industries supply. Winter sports enthusiasts, including Olympians and professional athletes, wrote a letter to President Barack Obama demanding he take action to protect the sport from global warming. This seems contradictory, considering ski slopes are built by removing vast amounts of natural timber, while ski manufacturing processes involve utilizing harsh glues that prevent recycling, and billions of gallons of water are consumed every year to produce human-made snow for optimum tourist experiences.

And it isn’t just the slopes and equipment that impact the environment. Massive hotel expansion to accommodate tourists, pollution caused by transportation to and from resorts, and tens of thousands of people converging on relatively small plots of land simultaneously impact vegetation and wildlife for miles around every ski area.

What the Ski Industry Is Doing

The industry is making inroads to address its massive footprint. Ski resorts in Maine have plans to add solar arrays, reducing the impact from more traditional energy sources like coal and oil. Vermont’s Killington ski resort uses methane from cow manure to generate power.

The National Ski Areas Association issued a 2012 Challenge for the industry to acknowledge their part in in the climate change issue and implement changes immediately. Voluntary participation requires members to make tangible, reportable progress toward reducing gas emissions that benefit tourists, communities and the planet.

As ecology-minded consumers demand more participation from businesses to help the earth, the ski industry, along with other major outdoor sports, will have to respond. Otherwise, those 96 percent of consumers who are loyal to commercial enterprises that engage in like-minded activities will find other ways to enjoy spending quality recreation and entertainment time.

A sustainable ski industry helps everyone
A sustainable ski industry helps everyone

Sports Techie, The trend I have seen towards sustainability by the sports, technology and business environments are good starts but we can do better as a whole just like the Sports Techie community and now the ski Industry are doing. Cause marketing is good part of the reason companies are rapidly adopting this business and ecologically sound model. I hope the Russian 2014 Sochi winter Olympics venues will be an eco and sports technology friendly global event showcase to the world on how blending these Industries towards the greater good is what works best for everyone.

The destruction of land for ski resort and events or World Cup white elephant stadiums in China, South Africa and possibly Brazil, that are not created with this thought-process is like a sports league that does not use instant replay yet in some way, what are you waiting for.

Here in the United States, in Europe and in Dubai, we are seeing indoor and outdoor venues with a green focus offering incredible recreational opportunities unlike any time in our planet’s history. Snowboarding in the Middle East is indeed a reality. There is an awesome trend worldwide of reclaiming waste disposal land and transforming it into parks and sport centric facilitates that are often made from recycled, non-toxic materials. Shop second hand stores and surf online on Craig’s List for money saving winter sport gear.

Energy is central to sports technology and the greener the source the better it is. Humans, animals and robots will soon be able to generate their own power simply by walking around in clothing and using products that have the necessary integrated hardware and software that is able to harness energy created by moving around, being active and living.

Social responsibility by the ski Industry is a “can do” must so that snowboarders, snowmobiles, Nordic skiers, and inter-tubers or people who ride the lifts, can all engage with these fun and competitive sports for Sports Techie generations to come.

I will see ya when I see ya, THE Sports Techie @THESportsTechie –

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