Short seasons |

Short seasons

Steve Benson

It’s true, this has been one of the best winters in years.But it’s also been one of the warmest, and while not over yet, short.The past two months – ever since the huge January dumps – have been like one long, extended spring. What snow did fall in town has been more representative of the slop you’d find in the moisture-rich ranges of the Pacific Northwest, not a Colorado mountain town at 8,000 feet.All this has me thinking about Auden Schendler, the Aspen Skiing Co.’s director of environmental affairs. Schendler and the Skico are environmental leaders in the ski industry. Over the years the company has received an assortment of awards and international recognition for their progressive actions.But Schendler doesn’t really care about the awards. What he cares about is curbing our rapidly changing climate, which could dramatically alter our lives in the not-so-distant future. Global warming and climate change is expected to contribute to more frequent drought, increased wildfires, water shortage in the West and perhaps most importantly (since this is a ski town) shorter and warmer winters.Last summer, Schendler stressed that climate change is not a myth.”You’re not dealing with wacko tree huggers anymore – you’re dealing with scientists … there is no debate,” he said.Storms could be more intense, but also more infrequent. Rain may become a common occurrence in midwinter, not just a strange fluke, as it was labeled in January when unfrozen drops fell in town.What’s even more concerning is that not many Americans seem to care.According to a Gallup poll conducted nearly a year ago, about 47 percent of Americans said they worry “only a little” or “not at all” about global warming.Unless half of our countrymen – and our so-called leaders – wake up, we better get used to short ski seasons.

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