In April of 2017 we decided that we needed to make a meaningful gesture in recognition of the threat posed to our industry and livelihood by climate change. We created a partnership between our customers and our suppliers to donate $100 from each pair of skis ordered on one day (Earth Day) to Protect Our Winters; an advocacy organization working to promote a pro-winter agenda.
The program surpassed our expectation. We took orders for 46 pairs of skis, and made a $4600 donation to POW. It’s not millions, but it felt good to write that check, knowing that it represented the commitment and partnership of so many customers and suppliers. Many of our fellow skiers find themselves on the fence about a continued investment in the sport. Is it worth it? Will it last? Last year we conduced a follow-up survey with the people who participated in the program, and we found that this project provided a good incentive to keep people invested in skiing. This is positive for us, but it’s also positive for the industry, and for that reason we invited our friends at Boulder Nordic Sport to join us for this year.
A changing climate remains the biggest threat to our sport. Since making a public recognition of the issue a year ago, we have passed the last year with a greater willingness to acknowledge the role that climate plays shaping weather and conditions. We’re wrapping up a season with record numbers of ski days at many locations in the east. Europe has had an amazing snow year as well, and the World Cup race calendar was unmarred by low-snow conditions. But this isn’t any more “normal” than the lean years we’ve had. For all the places that enjoy good snow and a long season, others suffered with terrible conditions. Volatility is the new normal, and it makes planning for the future a tricky business.
Last year I pointed out many of the ways in which we are lucky to make a living in a sport that we love. This year, our luck has held. We’ve just wrapped up a great season and our business is strong. Our goal remains modest; we want to share our passion with people, and make a living doing it. In the face of the changing climate, that modest goal appears audacious. We will continue to rely on you, our friends and customers, to join us in doing what we can to live this dream. And in the meantime, we’ll ask you to once again help us by creating another donation to POW.
There are many organizations that are worthy of support in a project like this. We have chosen to return our support to POW because of the perfect overlap of their mission with our concerns. The outdoor industry is huge; in February the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis pegged its contribution to the GDP at 2%, putting it on par with other economic giants. While the size of the outdoor industry is considerable, its voice in Washington is small. Any meaningful and beneficial change will be political change, and POW is a powerful and effective voice on our behalf.
Winter has run long, and late April has snuck up on us early this year; we’re a week or so behind schedule putting this program together. So this year we’ll make contributions to POW on all orders received April 30th and May 1st – next Monday and Tuesday. We will once again be joining forces with our suppliers to donate $100 for each pair of skis ordered on these days. We’ll also be rolling out options to generate donations with orders from KV+, Red Creek, and Star.