The first generation of snowsports hot shots is looking for meaning, and they’re finding it in the struggle to solve climate change.
If there’s snow around, and you give an Inuit child one ski, or a Moroccan elder a plastic bag, both will naturally do one thing. They’ll slide downhill. Why? Because having fun is a piece of being human. A big piece.
That’s why 1,500 youth, but also some grandparents and half a dozen infants, gathered September 23 on a rainy night in Whistler, British Columbia, for the world premiere of All.I.Can, a new ski film by some young and ambitious Canadian upstarts called The Sherpas. The crowd screamed at the expected ski acrobatics, but they also sat captivated and in awe as the film delivered a subtle message not typically found in so called “ski porn.”
All.I.Can explores the common joy human beings of all cultures and ages derive from sliding on snow—and what we stand to lose if climate change destroys that opportunity. The film forces viewers to reflect on the beauty (and therefore preciousness) of the world—not just the snowcovered parts, and not just nature—as a source of redemption and happiness.
Walking around the lobby, I ran into representatives from Snowriders International, a new NGO dedicated to snowsports and the environment. It reminded me of the Mountain Riders Alliance, also formed recently “to develop values-based, environmentally-friendly, rider-centric mountain playgrounds that encourage minimal carbon footprint.” Just last week I joined big mountain snowboarder Jeremy Jones in Washington, D.C., along with Olympic snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler and skier Chris Davenport, fresh from the top of Everest, to ask legislators to save our $66 billion winter sports industry from climate change. Jones, who has two children, started his nonprofit, Protect Our Winters, in 2007 in response to the visible changes he’s seen in the world. POW has 30,000 followers on Facebook.