Year 3, Month 12, Day 28: I Predict Nostalgia

The Denver Post has an Op-Ed from the head honcho at a major ski resort, who’s elected to come down on the right side of history:

One of my favorite times of year is right before the holidays, with the excitement and anticipation of the winter ski season.

However, it has become somewhat predictable that with the first sign of a lack of natural snow, climate change articles and stories start to appear. In many ways, it’s to be expected. It’s hard to understand how the weather changes the way it does and why things can look so different from year to year. Two years ago was one of the most “epic” seasons for snow in Colorado’s history. Last year was a tough season across the ski industry. This year has been a tough early season for Colorado, but it just finished snowing like crazy in both Tahoe and Colorado, with more on the way.

Count me in the category of someone who is very worried about climate change, but also someone who tries not to look at every weather pattern as “proof” of something. But, maybe more than anything, you can count me out of the group that says we need to address climate change to save skiing. I feel this way even though I run one of the biggest ski companies in the world. The impacts of climate change are a serious matter and rightly deserve our attention. At Vail Resorts, we are on a path to reduce our energy use by 20 percent over a 10-year period and have engaged in a number of substantial forest restoration projects — all of which help to contain the impacts of climate change.

Nobody really thinks it’s going to happen. I breathe this shit in all the time and I still don’t believe it emotionally. Except that I’m depressed, reasonably enough. Sent December 22:

When spoken inside a laboratory, “that’s surprising” can mean anything from “time to clean up the equipment” to “a Nobel prize is in my future.” But when we hear scientists saying it in the outside world, it should be cause for alarm. Science is built on predictability: a hypothesis that fails to forecast tomorrow’s results as well as explaining today’s is destined for the scrap-heap of history.

As the climate crisis metastasizes, the uncontrolled environmental factors will interact, leading to more unpleasant surprises for climatologists — and the rest of us. Rob Katz is justly more concerned about the planet’s future than about his ski resort’s next few decades; it’s not just the end of winter sports, but the cascading effects on hundreds of local, regional, and planetary ecologies that are going to make the coming century more difficult and dangerous than most of us are prepared to imagine.

Warren Senders

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