Last week Park City played host to a meeting of the minds from ski communities around the country at the Mountain Towns 2030 Conference. Community and business leaders from Park City, Breckenridge, Crested Butte, Vail Resorts, Alterra Mountain Company, Powdr Corp and more addressed the uncomfortable reality that the lifestyles many of us lead in mountain towns are contributing to climate change and threatening the future of those very communities.

During the Conference, Park City Mayor Andy Beerman described the town’s efforts to reach net-zero carbon emissions from the town’s municipal operations by 2022 and a similar community-wide goal by 2030. Representatives from crested Butte detailed efforts by the town to electrify 100% of their municipal transportation fleet and reduce municipal building emissions by 50% by 2023 during the conference’s anonymous comment period. People from Frisco, Durango, Deer Valley and Steamboat echoed similar sentiments. The conference at the Jim Santy Auditorium was a refreshing moment of unity wherein rival mountain communities outlined tangible plans to combat the biggest existential crisis the ski industry faces.

What can you do to join in the effort? Choose products that emphasize sustainability. With temperatures dropping, many of us are frothing for some powder skiing and fueling that fire by buying ski gear for the upcoming season. Like it or not, many of the plastics, synthetic fibers, epoxies and more in our ski gear have a rough environmental impact. You can mitigate most of your impact by squeezing another season out of your functioning gear, but considering these eco-friendly ski gear options when upgrading is a step in the right direction.

Mountain Flow Eco Wax

Most ski waxes are made from petroleum, which ought to be concerning as the wax on the bottom of our skis and snowboards eventually ends up in our local streams, rivers and drinking water. Most ski waxes also contain fluorocarbons, which are carcinogenic chemicals that don’t biodegrade in nature. That’s bad. Mountain Flow Eco Wax is made entirely from plants, so it’s non-toxic, and after years of testing and refining it performs just as well to traditional high-end ski waxes. That’s good.

Pick up Mountain Flow Eco Wax locally at Skimo Co and Sports Den, or online from backcountry.com, REI or EVO.

Soul Poles

Soul Poles are produced right here in the Beehive State from sustainably-sourced bamboo and 100% recyclable materials. Bamboo produces three times more material per harvested acre than lumber, doesn’t have the negative environmental mining and processing impact of carbon fiber and it’s far more durable than traditional aluminum ski poles. Plus, they look cool and a bunch of people on the lift will ask you questions about them.

Order your custom-engraved, responsibly-produced, guilt-free Soul Poles from their website.

Scarpa Ski Boots

Scarpa is a renowned Italian brand known for producing high-quality ski boots and mountaineering footwear. For the past decade they’ve embarked on a planet-friendly initiative to produce their ski boots in a more environmentally conscious manner. One result of their effort is Pebax Rnew, a plastic used in their ski boot shells that’s made from plant-based castor oil, instead of petroleum like most other boot shell materials.

Some boots, like their telemark-specific TX Pro are made entirely from Pebax, while others like their award-winning Maestrale RS use Pebax for some aspects of construction. Whatever flavor you choose, you can feel good knowing there’s less non-renewable petroleum in your new boots than in your friend’s.

You can purchase Scarpa products locally at Skimo Co or Freeheel Life, or online from retailers like backcountry.com.

Niche Snowboards

Based right here in Salt Lake City, Niche Snowboards specializes in high-performance snowboards produced with as little environmental impact as possible. 98% of their materials are locally sourced—including sustainable poplar, paulownia and bamboo cores as well as recycled base, edge and sidewall materials—before being put to use in their 100% hydro-powered Austrian factory on the river Gail.

Pick up Niche Snowboards online from a retailer like EVO or backcountry.com.

 

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