Steamboat’s Olympic snowboarding siblings speak for protecting winters
Special to The Steamboat Today
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — After an eventful winter competition season, including an Olympic bronze medal win in women’s snowboard halfpipe, Steamboat Springs’ world-class snowboarding siblings Arielle and Taylor Gold are coming home to share their stories.
The Golds are planning a day of local school visits and public education about taking actions today for a better tomorrow as ambassadors for Protect Our Winters — POW.
“I am looking forward to speaking in my hometown about an issue that affects us all — climate change,” Arielle Gold said. “I am a POW Rider’s Alliance member because everything that I love to do in life is based around being outdoors.”
Both Arielle and Taylor, who grew up in Steamboat and learned to ski and ride here, actively participate in the 100-member Rider’s Alliance for nonprofit POW headquartered in Boulder. POW and Yampa Valley Sustainability Council are partnering for a family-oriented “Hot Planet/Cool Athletes” presentation at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Bud Werner Memorial Library’s Library Hall.
The siblings will talk about their experiences with climate change when competing around the world, why they care about protecting winter snow and ways that citizens of all ages can make a difference.
“I have always wanted to find ways to help reduce my environmental impact, and POW has been a great resource in connecting me with a group of like-minded and awesome people,” said Arielle, 21. “Through POW, I’ve been able to get more involved than ever, helping work on a variety of conservation initiatives and speaking at schools so that I can use whatever influence I have as a professional athlete to make a positive impact in every way possible.”
Older brother Taylor Gold, 24, inspired his sister to take up snowboarding when she was 7. The athletes have since traveled the globe competing against the world’s best.
“Ever since I was little, I have been playing in the mountains, and in that time, I’ve watched the snow slowly disappear,” said Taylor, who competed for the U.S. in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, but sat out the 2018 Olympics due to injuries. “I’m excited to be part of an organization like POW that is pushing back against climate change and keeping us all out on the hill.”
Founded by Massachusetts-born professional snowboarder Jeremy Jones, POW works to educate and empower youth to be future environmental leaders. POW has reached 60,000 students since 2011 by focusing on athletes’ personal experiences in the outdoors while providing an overview of climate science.
POW school assembly coordinator Jake Black, a professional snowboarder who lives in Aspen, visited Steamboat in late March to speak with students and teachers at Emerald Mountain School. Black talked about the importance of addressing climate change for the economic health of Colorado mountain resort communities, something that comes natural to him since his mom works as a ski instructor and his dad as a fly-fishing guide.
Black and the students called Congressman Scott Tipton’s office to ask the Colorado legislator to support more clean energy.
Emerald educator Cindy Ruzicka called the POW program “incredibly inspiring.”
“The 100-plus athletes who volunteer their time speaking about climate change leverage their status to motivate kids to take a risk and show they care about the future of our winters and our planet,” Ruzicka said.
“I especially appreciated how the POW program challenges each student to take action and either write or call their state and national representatives in order to get their ideas represented in the political process,” Ruzicka continues. “POW actively encourages upcoming, future voters to recognize that voting is a powerful tool for change, especially in regard to legislation surrounding climate change.”
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