Lack of snow worries skiers

BILL KAUFMANN, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 3:11 PM ET

CALGARY -- Horrified by snow's disappearance at their European venues, two of Canada's top Olympic skiers are vowing to do their part in halting global warming's snowballing effect.

Flanked by environmental activist David Suzuki, skiers Thomas Grandi and Sara Renner said they've committed to do their own personal emissions trading and reductions to offset the greenhouse gases produced by their frequent travels.

"In the course of the years, I've seen the winter really change and I've seen the decline in the amount of snow and warmer temperatures," said Grandi, adding some races this season have been cancelled in Europe, even those held on rapidly shrinking glaciers.

"Before there were snow pockets but now there's no snow ... skiing is only a small part of the whole picture, but it is a foreshadowing of worse things to come."

Downhill skier Grandi and his wife Renner, a cross-country skier, say they'll put their own money into green energy projects like wind and solar farms, while they've also reduced CO2 emissions in their daily lives.

Renner said some of her teammates also have come on board the carbon neutral bandwagon.

"They're really willing to have a voluntary carbon tax on their consumption," she said.

Biologist Suzuki, whose foundation is the vehicle for the skiers' efforts, hailed the athletes' commitment, calling them a model for both individuals and governments.

He said skepticism prevalent in Alberta over human contribution to climate change is archaic and ludicrous.

"Are we going to live by the perspective dominated by an economic view or one dominated by science?" he said, adding skeptics are up against a massive scientific consensus.

He noted the insurance industry has come on board emissions bandwagon and said Canadian ski resorts should be similarly concerned about their industry's future.

"If we're talking about the long-range sustainability of business, then ski resorts better be leading the way," Suzuki said.


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