A Good Ski Day in a Bad Winter in Colorado

The above video is a fun, short edit of a good ski day at Winter Park & Mary Jane Ski Resort in Colorado. It’s great snow in an otherwise bad Colorado winter. Fortunately for us, we caught a day right after a good storm. Unfortunately for most of the season, it has been warm and dry. If you’re wondering, “Why does a good ski day video fit here?” A good ski day is the environmental professional lifestyle.  

Skiing and nearly all outdoor recreation activities are part of living the environmental professional lifestyle. Most environmental professionals I know bring their appreciation of the natural world and environmental issues into their recreation. It may be skiing, biking, fishing, hiking, etc. Being outside in the natural world, or a slightly modified natural world such as a ski resort, feeds that appreciation.

As for the bad snow year, the Denver Post wrote that it’s the worst snow pack in 30 years for Colorado. Outside magazine wrote in January, This is Literally the West’s Worst Winter in 60 years. Ugh. Living in Colorado, I see it. I see the lack of snow in the mountains. I see the lack of snow along the Front Range (Denver) and with conversations around town. A friend expressed that he might not get a season pass next year if this continues. Yikes. I recently passed up a day skiing Vail because the snow wasn’t worth it.

When there’s a bad snow year for skiing in the west or a drought that limits your fishing opportunities in the southeast, you can make the connections between work, life, fun, and critical environmental issues. For example, a low snowpack in Colorado and Utah goes way beyond skiers not having as much fun. The state economies take a hit from the reduced tourist business. More importantly, all that snow is the primary water source. Less snow in the mountains means the less water is available to the highly populated Colorado Front Range or Salt Lake valley. Lack of snow in the winter also leads to drier conditions in the spring through early fall. That increases the potential for wildfires.

As a skier and environmental professional, I absorb all of this when the snow’s not falling. There’s still time to turn around the season. It’s only February of this writing. March and April will hopefully offer a lot of snow and subsequently, good skiing. Or maybe we’ll get more May snow again. In 2017, there was a significant snowfall in Denver on the first day of school’s summer break. That’s not a typo. I’ll repeat that. It snowed the first day of summer break.

Is your favorite outdoor recreation impacted by an environmental change? Are pollution or a changing climate impacting your fun?