Is our pastime sustainable?

Your skis are killing you, and your snowboard is killing the environment.

Bold statement or understatement? Take a minute and think about your kit and the toxins used in the creation of it. The resins in your core contains VOCs. Your wax has PFCs, the production of which requires PFOA. Clothing dyes, waterproof laminates, metal zippers and plastic buckles? Yup, more fun chemical cocktails and non- and slow degrading products leeching into your water. What about durability? A more durable product may be bad for business but good for the environment as it’s less waste making it’s way to landfills. It’s mind boggling to think of all the bad that goes into the manufacture of our good times.

Thinking outside of output from the direct manufacturing process there’s the core. That wood has to come from somewhere – and odds are good that it wasn’t sustainably grown. Was it grown locally? Every mile from the factory is additional mile of carbon spewed into the atmosphere. Your snack on the lift? That wrapper is filling landfills while you’re filling your stomach.

So why is it that an industry that is dependent on winter being cold continues to use products that contribute to global warming? Outside of Lib Tech it feels as if it’s primarily smaller companies such as Venture Snowboards and Purl Wax leading the way, whereas larger companies with much larger R&D budgets merely offer a single line of greener products. Do companies with a business predicated upon the outdoors have an ethical obligation to the consumers and the environment? As consumers will we continue to blindly (ignorance is bliss, right?) purchase product without giving a second thought to it’s environmental effect from cradle to grave, or will we rise up and voice our opinions and vote with our pocketbooks?

I’m not pretending to have any answers as the problem gets more complex the more layers of the onion you peel back. Hopefully by merely planting this seed others will think about their purchase habits and who they choose to support when it comes time to open your wallet.

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