This looks way worse for you than it actually is, or that's what I'm told. Erica Aarons photo.
Money doesn’t grow on trees, but let’s be honest, neither does PBR and ramen. In general, skiers and snowboarders are on limited budgets. Often times we work service industry jobs that barely pay the rent, just so we can get a discounted pass to ski all day and bus or bartend all night. The quality of our food is generally pretty low on the totem pole of priorities.
Whether you’re in it for the blower pow days, the empty park laps, or the earn your turns skin, most of us would prioritize a good day on the hill over a homegrown salad or veggies. But those two seem unrelated, right? Wrong. Mark Bittman from the New York Times spoke at the SHIFT Festival in JH last week to enlighten all of us skids on just exactly why and how our food is affecting our pow days.
Everything is Connected, Whether We Like It or Not...
The slice a day, nachos for dinner, and beer as water diet is not just preventing you from getting into ski shape, it’s diminishing the quality of your winters and the health of our environment. Bittman claims "our food system cannot endure. It's a major, if not leading, contributor to global warming, and it's wrecking our bodies." Our diet, the agricultural industry, and our environment are inherently linked and codependent, and it's not coincidental.
Wikimedia Commons photo.
The Associated Press recently instructed its journalists to swap out the word "skeptic" when it comes to people who disregard climate change, to "people who reject mainstream science." With over 90% of peer reviewed scientists in agreement that climate change is rapidly increasing due to the affects of humans, it should hit home to those of us in mountain towns who will see it first.
What does this have to do with food?
When we think about unsustainable practices, we think of Hummers, plastic bags, wasted water bottles, etc. but we wouldn't think of the hamburger we eat at lunch and the steak we eat for dinner as causes of climate change. Yet the agricultural industry, particularly tropical deforestation for farming, industrial livestock, and chemical fertilizers, produce twice as many greenhouse gasses as the popular target, transportation.
So why do we ignore it?
Because most people don't know. This closed system between food, health, and environment can be fixed. Mark claims "diet is health, diet is about what we grow, diet is about environmental impact, and each one of those things comes back to diet, it's a closed system," so if we fix one, we can fix them all. But without the budget to buy organic foods and fancy local meals, how can we participate?
TGR Co-Founder enjoying what's at stake.
If we literally define food, it means "any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb, in order to maintain life and growth" and if we look at the side affects of eating processed meats, refined sugars, junk food, etc, you will see that they don't exactly line up. Diabetes, obesity and the like aren't necessarily congruent with life and growth. So not only is this food bad for you, it's bad for the environment.
What Can I Do?
Prioritizing the quality of our food, meaning buying food that fits the definition of the word itself, is the first step. If we eliminate "non foods" out of your diet we can help start the process of slowing down climate change. The second is to eat more veggies and plant products than you did yesterday, and the month before that, and even the year before that. By eliminating "non foods" like sugar laden energy bars, processed hot dogs, and chemical energy drinks, we can afford to eat better foods, from producers who are doing things right.
So, even though I'll probably have pizza for dinner, and I'll definitely drink a PBR or two tonight, this is food for thought. Our diets are directly affecting our mountains and it's on such a large scale that it's hard to trace how and why. But, next time you are in the grocery store, think about it.
SLC, home to the Collinson's and some of the best pow in the world, looks like this on a regular basis due to massive amounts of smog. Wikimedia Commons photo.
There’s a few mountains out there whose shape just screams “SKI ME.” Among those is one that stands deep in Pakistan’s Karakoram range, Laila Peak, a hauntingly beautiful spear of rock whose Northwest Face is a perfect 45-degree ramp of snow that drops nearly 5000 feet to the glaciers below. Not to mention that the face hangs over an equally sized cliff that requires a potentially deadly traverse to navigate. The peak saw its first summit ski descent in 2018 by a team of French skiers.
Lonnie, taking that next stoked-out step. | Ikon Pass photo. Ikon Pass holder, professional snowboarder and rock climber, Lonnie Kauk grew up seeking magic lines throughout his native Yosemite Valley and surrounding mountains. From early turns as a 2-year-old with his grandfather to scoring a pass at Mammoth Mountain – and now an Ikon Pass for the 21/22 season – Lonnie continuously embraces one step of stoke after the next. The Ikon Pass crew sat down with Lonnie to discuss his journey
Tim Petrick has had a pretty epic ski career so far. From ski instruction, to the PSIA Demo Team, to Powder Magazine, to Aspen, to K2, to Booth Creek, to K2, to Rossignol, to K2, to Silverton… You get the idea, Tim has done it just about all and most of it at the corporate executive level. But Petrick is not your typical industry exec, he's a ski bum at heart and this podcast is a testament to how much this dude loves to ski. Want more Powell Movement? Check out all the episodes here. Tim