I had originally written this whole long diatribe about how I got started skiing, how important winter is, etc. Then I deleted it. Why? Because if you ski or enjoy a winter sport, you know already. I don’t need to restate the obvious. The current trend in global climate change does not bode well for winter sport enthusiasts. If we would like to continue our sports for a long time to come, we need to get serious about making decisions that lessen carbon-belching behaviors.
If you love skiing like I do, a great way to do this is to start with your gear. Last year I had to opportunity to demo a few skis from RAMP. I was looking for a quiver-killer, my one ski to do it all. For one, I’m not made of money, so I don’t really have the luxury to have a whole quiver of skis. But also, more stuff is more stuff- more materials that have to be harvested & processed & shipped. Which means more fossil fuels, more carbon, etc. Which in one of the other reason I set my sites on a pair of RAMP skis- they are made with FSC-certified bamboo wood cores right in Park City, UT. So not only are they eco-friendly, but some Utah ski bum gets to be gainfully employed because of my purchase too.
I demoed the Beaver and the Chickadee. I was honestly dead set on the Beaver before I went. At 100mm underfoot, I thought I would be able to ride them at the resort as well as in the backcountry. However, this is why you demo- I had a lot of trouble getting the Beavers on edge. My legs felt utterly worked by the time I got downhill with them. The Chickadees however, put a smile on my face the whole way down the mountain. I know its not the most technical of reviews but, in the end, I went with the Chickadees simply because they made me say, “wwwweeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!” all the way down the mountain.
I’ve gotten a couple days out this season on my Chickadees and I continue to love them. I personally find that they don’t carve as strongly a narrower ski, but this may also be related to a boot issue I am still working out. Yesterday in particular, they were actively making snow on a few trails. That’s pretty darn close to a ‘powder’ day for us around these parts. And that’s when my Chickadees really shine. They slice through the chop, and are surfy and floaty in the pow.
I say all of this to point out that I didn’t have to accept less in the performance department by choosing a greener product. Continuing the bamboo theme, I have a pair of Soul Poles to go with them. Bamboo ski poles folks. The original ski pole. Again, made in Park City, UT by real live ski bums 🙂 I’m not sure how you get more eco-friendly than that.
I’m also planning to pick up some Green Wax to use when I need to touch up the wax. Most waxes contain nasty chemicals like PFCs that get left behind on the snow and then run into local waterways when the snow melts in the spring. Yuck. Hopefully, I’ll have more to say about the performance of Green Wax in the future. I’ve also been eyeing some Astis mittens, which are made here in the US and beaded by hand. They are a bit spendy for me though, and I have several pairs of gloves that are quite functional for me still, so in this case, the ‘greener’ option is to keep using what I have.
The harder options for ‘green’ ski gear appear to be boots & helmets. These are items that aren’t necessarily the best idea to buy secondhand. I’d love to see plastics that can be recycled and liners/foam inserts that are removable and can be repurposed/upcycled in some way. If there is a company out there doing something like this, I’d love to know, so I can support them! Tell me about any such things you know of in the comments!
How about you? How have you ‘greened you gear?’
P.S. Please consider following and join Protect Our Winters– a great organizations of ski pros working to back efforts to reduce carbon emissions and ensure plenty of POW for winters to come!!!