Ski Season Renews Calls for Federal Government to ‘Combat Climate Change’

By Penny Starr | December 9, 2013 | 4:00 PM EST

Lara Gut pulls up after completing her run during the women's World Cup downhill skiing event, Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Beaver Creek, Colo. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

( — With the ski season underway in the United States, a petition that was announced in May asking lawmakers to address “climate change” is again in the spotlight as climate change advocates launched a video campaign on social media last week.

The 1-minute, 36-second video shows skiers in dramatic footage linked by messages about the economic benefits of the ski industry and the threat of climate change.

“We must tackle climate change to ensure #moresnowdays,” the video message states.

Ceres, a U.S.-based environmental advocacy group working for a “sustainable global economy” and its BICEP (Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy) asked ski resorts and ski-related businesses to sign its “climate declaration,” which is “calling for U.S. policy action on climate change.”

“Tackling climate change is one of America’s greatest economic opportunities of the 21st century,” the declaration states.

To date, some 700 groups have signed on, ranging from Mt. Bachelor ski resort and Nike in Oregon, to the Leadership Council of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Michigan and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream in Vermont.

The press release announcing the petition states that ski areas in the U.S. employ approximately 160,000 people and generate approximately $12.2 billion in annual revenue.

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) calculates that visitors to U.S. ski areas spent $5.8 billion at those resorts over the course of the 2011/2012 season, the press release states.

“The past ski season was a banner year for our guests and for our resort, but we can’t gamble on the weather in an uncertain climate,” Jerry Blann, president of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming is quoted as saying in the press release. "We have to take action.

“Resorts have made tremendous efforts to raise awareness on the issue of climate change and to adjust our operations to reduce carbon emissions and manage resources efficiently,” Blann said. "We need Washington to take those strategies seriously through stronger policies.”

According to snowfall analysis on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this season is starting out with record amounts of snow fall in the the U.S.

"During October, the wetter and cooler than average conditions across the Central and Northern Rockies and Northern Plains were associated with above-average snow,” the website states.

"According to data from the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the monthly snow cover extent across the contiguous U.S. during October was 132,000 square miles,” the web site states. "This was more than 60,000 square miles above the 1981-2010 average and the fifth largest October snow cover extent in the 46-year period of record.

"During the month, above-average snow cover was observed across the Central and Northern Rockies and the Northern Plains,” the website states.

Rutgers' statistics show a decline in snow level in Alaska, with October being the ninth smallest snowfall amounts in that state on record.