"All skiers and boarders are polluters," says Jeremy Jones, snowboarding pioneer and star of 12 Teton Gravity Research movies. "But we pollute a lot less than we did five years ago." With his new Truckee, California–based nonprofit, Protect Our Winters (POW), Jones represents the ski-bum contingency in sounding the climate-change alarm. "A couple of years ago a friend suggested I start a climate-change foundation," says Jones. "I thought, I don't lead the perfect carbon-neutral life, so who am I to take the lead?" But after receiving his first few thousand dollars in grant money from his sponsor Rossignol, Jones officially launched POW last September. The organization is primarily educational, running no risk of pushing the limits of climate science—the home page, protectourwinters.org, offers tips on how skiers can reduce their carbon footprints (carpool to the mountain; walk and bike whenever possible). But in December, POW gave its first grant, a $4,000 donation to a solar-power program in a Wyoming school district, and will provide two more $25,000 grants this year. The grassroots approach is working—the 700-strong POW pulls in five new members per day, and, at press time, a European launch of the organization was slated for January. "Donations are coming from mountain-town locals," says Jones, who lived out of his car at the beginning of his pro career. "Climate change is no longer just being talked about by Sierra Club members and hybrid owners. Everybody wants colder winters."
Filed To: Culture