Snowboarder Danny Davis stumps for Bernie Sanders at the Burton US Open | AspenTimes.com
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Snowboarder Danny Davis stumps for Bernie Sanders at the Burton US Open

John LaConte
Vail Daily

It’s true: The “Bernie Bro” slur ignores the many female and minority supporters who have helped Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign earn 5 million individual donations, the most of any presidential candidate.

But when you see professional snowboarder Danny Davis wearing a hoodie with a large Bernie Sanders patch on the back, few other terms come to mind.

Davis is supporting Sanders with pride at the Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships this week, drawing a connection between Vermont and Vail that began when Burton moved the longest-running competition in snowboarding from Stratton Mountain to Golden Peak in 2013.

In an interview with the Vail Daily on Wednesday, Davis said he wishes more snowboarders would use their platforms to voice their opinions.

“It actually bums me out how uninvolved I feel that our culture is,” Davis said of snowboarding. “The climate plays so hard into our world, our profession.”

Davis, however, says his support of Sanders doesn’t derive purely from the candidate’s attractive policy positions. There’s a personal connection, as Sanders’ stepson, Dave Driscoll, was Davis’ team manager at Burton.

“I met Bernie forever ago, and I’ve just always supported him,” Davis said. “It’d be like if your friend was on the Kansas City Chiefs, but you’re a Niners fan, and you’re like, ‘Well I’m kind of pulling for the Chiefs because my buddy’s on them.’”

Denali tears

Davis says he does support most of Sanders’ policy positions, as well, especially when it comes to climate change, where Sanders scores highest among environmental and political groups including Greenpeace and the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund.

While visiting Denali National Park over the summer, Davis found new motivation to speak out.

“That glacier is really receding,” he said. “That’s one of the main things I think we need to be worried about with our community of action sports, and how much time we spend outside, and the places we go. … It’s a real thing, the future of the planet, the goal of humanity, being able to survive on Earth in a few hundred years, that’s the thing we’re battling.”

Davis said that while he understands that most of his followers are interested in seeing him snowboard rather than speak about climate policy, he has moments where he really doesn’t care. He said Jeremy Jones, his neighbor in Tahoe, helps him remember that something as simple as reminding people to register to vote can make a difference.

“I think there are times when we are helpful,” Davis said.

Protect Our Winters

Davis is active in the non-profit organization Jones founded in an effort to spur legislation on climate change.

The group, known as Protect Our Winters or POW, has been a part of the Burton US Open every year that it has been in Vail.

Protect Our Winters currently has a campaign underway to support the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act, which would expand wilderness areas near Vail and protect 28,728 acres surrounding Camp Hale as the first-ever National Historic Landscape.

While Protect Our Winters has not endorsed a candidate for president, the group’s 2020 Strategic Plan calls for a similar action proposed in Sanders’ campaign strategy.

“2020 is our time to educate and engage the outdoor sports community and register new voters and get them to the polls,” according to the strategic plan.

Sanders has said repeatedly that any Democrat hoping to beat Trump will need to attract a record number of new voters.

“If we can bring young people into the political process in the numbers that I think we can, it will be extraordinary, we will defeat Trump big time,” Sanders said Monday at a CNN Town Hall.

Davis said his main goal in his own activism is also to increase voter turnout.

“To me, what it seems like is going on right now, is people don’t like anybody to vote for,” Davis said. “So they’re like ‘I’m just not going to vote.’ But my message is always we’ve got to vote.”

jlaconte@vaildaily.com


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