Giving Old Skis New Life

Its that time of year again when gear fever seems to consume us while we impatiently wait for the snow to cover the ground and the ski lifts to start turning. There’s no question that purchasing new skis can get you fired up for the season, especially if you’ve just got yourself a new pair limited edition Armada x Alpine Initiatives JJ 2.0’s. But all of this new gear hype can sometimes leave us ignorant to the fact that our old skis don’t just disappear into thin air.

Unfortunately skis are not yet recyclable or compostable, and they can take up a tremendous amount of space once we are finished with them. Fortunately, these fallen soldiers that fill our landfills and haunt the dark cobweb covered corners of our garages are surprisingly useful in the afterlife. We’ve seen bookshelves, bar stools, fences and park benches innovatively crafted from used skis and snowboards. However, we had a different idea - recycling containers.

Last summer Alpine Initiatives, along with the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council of Steamboat Springs, and SmartWool teamed up to up-cycle 450 pairs of skis from our local landfill. Some of these skis dating back to the 1980’s, found new life in the form of much needed recycling containers in parks throughout Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

The City recently invested in bear proof containers that were placed in most parks late in the summer. And thanks to the continued work of the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council, Steamboat Ski Corporation stepped up to the plate and they will be utilizing the containers in the parking lots and base area of the Steamboat Ski Resort.

If you are skiing in Steamboat Springs this winter, make sure to keep an eye out for these crafty cans. Hopefully we can help inspire you to up-cycle your own gear to extend its product life. Make sure to share your projects with us at for a chance to be featured on our blog!