It Takes a Community

Posted by Sophie Goodman
With the 2014 Winter Olympic games underway in Sochi, Russia, the snow sports world is abuzz. Every four years, the world gathers at a new mountain range, we compete in new events, and we push the known limits of our sports. The true spirit of the international games is found in the hearts of the athletes who, in their collective sportsmanship, epitomize the passion we all feel for the mountains, our ultimate winter playground. 
Alpine Initiatives has seen in our passion for the mountains and our sports the potential to channel that energy into projects benefiting the environment and the snow sports communities we live in. 
If you’re anything like us, then you dream and pine for bluebird sky powder days. But these perfect ski days aren’t a given! So, we’ve decided to focus this post on some grassroots environmental initiatives taking place in mountain communities around the world. The skiers and riders who champion these organizations have similar motivations as us at Alpine Initiatives here in the United States. Aussies, French, Minnesotans… These skiers and riders are doing incredible work in their communities to help preserve and protect their home mountains. Check out these incredible organizations below who are working towards sustainable futures in their own communities!
Keep Winter Cool is an Australian initiative with a three-part mission: 
1) Raise awareness in the general public about the effects of climate change on alpine environments
2) Combine the efforts of snow sports industry leaders and the national parks services to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions
3) Inspire others to reduce their carbon footprint in their own lives
Keep Winter Cool has taken an incredibly intelligent approach by combining the efforts of the Alpine Resorts Coordinating Council, the Australian Ski Areas Association, the Australian Alps National Parks, and the National Parks & Wildlife Service to develop nationwide standards for future preservation. The cooperation of all these organizations have touched countless skiers and riders who have spent time at these Australian ski resorts. 
Mountain Riders is a French organization that, like Keep Winter Cool, has become a collective that brings together professional athletes and mountain enthusiasts alike in sustainable development projects in mountain communities throughout France. Their goal is to promote a society that truly walks the walk – we have an obligation to do all that we can to contribute to the preservation of the environment we so love. In 2012 alone, Mountain Riders has facilitated the cleaning of hundreds of acres of mountain land: an impressive 50 tons of trash have been removed by 7,200 volunteers nationwide. 
Cool Planet Skiers in the Nordic skiing world’s version of Alpine Initiatives. Borne from a Midwestern Nordic skier’s vision for a sustainable future, Cool Planet Skiers prides itself on sparking discussion about climate change and sustainable living in Minnesota and other snowy environments. 
Save Our Snow was founded by Alison Gannett in 2006. Gannett is an award-winning climate cooling consultant, a world champion extreme freeskier, and the founder of multiple non-profits. 
The mission of the foundation is to provide education, training, and workshops on cost-effective and measurable solutions to climate change. 
Gannett truly lives her creed – she has cut her own personal carbon footprint in half by raising and growing most of her own food on her Holy Terror Farm in Paonia, Colorado. 
If there’s an organization that we missed or you would like us to know about, please contact us! We cannot wait to extend our network and bring together the environmental protection efforts of the collective snow sports community!