Skico to push climate change message to guests |

Skico to push climate change message to guests

Gabe Rodriguez makes the most out of a late-season powder day last April on Aspen Mountain. Skico officials said Tuesday it has plans to educate guests about climate change this winter.
Jeremy Wallace/The Aspen Times |

Aspen has warmed two degrees in the past 25 years and now has 30 more frost-free days per year than it did in 1980, according to Aspen Skiing Co. officials.

Those statistics and others mean climate change is real, and Skico officials told Pitkin County commissioners Tuesday that they want to be at the forefront of both educating people about it and trying to do something to counteract it.

“I’m optimistic that we can solve climate change,” said Auden Schendler, vice president of sustainability.

To that end, Skico is investigating “how to start a conversation with our guests about climate change,” he said.

One of the things the company has developed is a card detailing the extent of climate change that will be distributed to guests and hotels, Schendler said. The card will urge people to contact elected officials about climate change.

The company also will post a sign with similar information atop Aspen Mountain, and every employee’s uniform will feature the logo “POW,” which stands for Protect Our Winters and is the social media movement for the snow industry, Schendler said.

Company officials believe that opposition to climate change is decreasing, as evidenced by Canada’s recent election of a liberal prime minister whose party champions climate change and Pope Francis’ recent plea to nations to stop abusing the environment, he said. In addition, other ski industry companies such as Vail Resorts and Ski Utah that have traditionally been more conservative in their response to climate change have stepped up efforts to combat it, Schendler told commissioners.

In other Skico news, Mike Kaplan, the company’s president and CEO, told commissioners that yet another forecast is calling for a major snow year this season. This time it’s Accuweather, which predicts 200 percent of average snowfall in November and December and average numbers in January, he said.

“We’re just gonna go with that one,” he said. “It’s gonna be a great year.”

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