Jamie Anderson uses world champs podium to denounce FIS president

Ben Ramsey
The Park Record
From left, Silje Norendal, of Norway, Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, of New Zealand, and Jamie Anderson, of the United States, hold their trophies at a medal ceremony at Park City Mountain on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019. Organizers cancelled the FIS World Championship slopestyle finals Sunday, and the results from qualifying on Saturday were considered the final results. (Christopher Samuels/Park Record)
Christopher Samuels/Park Record

PARK CITY, Utah — Jamie Anderson, one of the most decorated female snowboarders in history, added another prestigious medal to her collection Sunday. She was awarded bronze in a weather-shortened slopestyle competition at the FIS World Championships.

But her successful career wasn’t her priority.

“I did it for POW today,” she said, referring to the environmental nonprofit Protect Our Winters, which advocates for action on climate change within the winter sports community.

The Lake Tahoe native said she felt compelled to speak out after controversial comments from the head of the sport’s international governing body. FIS President Gian-Franco Kasper recently told Swiss news organization Tages Anzeiger that there is no proof of climate change, backing his claim by citing cold temperatures during last year’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Kasper, who also spoke favorably of dictators in the interview, has since apologized for his remarks, saying they weren’t meant to be taken literally.

“I feel really sad about all that drama coming out,” Anderson said. “It definitely made me consider dropping out of this event, but I decided to use my platform to speak up for our global community of snowboarders and shine a spotlight on how important our environment is, especially as snow athletes. It just breaks my heart that someone in leadership of such a big foundation is really being immature about a real scientific problem that has been affecting all of our lives all over the world.”

Anderson said she was hoping for “a little bit of change.”

She did not specify whether she was calling for Kasper to step down. However, Protect Our Winters has demanded his resignation.

Anderson said she has been a longtime member of POW, joining soon after it was founded by prominent snowboarder and climate advocate Jeremy Jones.

“I think we should all take a step back and have a little appreciation because our natural resources are the most precious thing we have,” she said. “Without it, none of us are going to be living a good life.”

Anderson said she recognized she is a contributor to climate change, considering her frequent travel, but said she tries to limit her impact.

“And I think all of us have that choice with the brands we support, the groceries we buy,” she said, adding that it’s important to support clean industries because “things are getting crazy now.”

“I believe there’s a bright future,” she said. “Especially if we collectively come together and make positive choices everyday.”

Anderson, who has won more than a dozen Olympic and X Games medals over the course of her illustrious career, earned the bronze Sunday after the slopestyle finals were canceled due to wind. Per FIS rules, medals were awarded based on Saturday’s qualifying round.

Anderson was joined on the podium by gold medalist Zoi Sadowski-Synnott of New Zealand and Norway’s Silje Norendal. Americans Chris Corning and Judd Henkes took gold and bronze, respectively, in the men’s competition, while Canada’s Mark McMorris earned silver.