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Why The Ski Bum Diet Is Bad For More Than Just You

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.

RELATED: How Angel Collinson Skis With a Purpose

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. 

RELATED: Why TGR Cares About Climate Change

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. 

I’m worried, “farming, industrial livestock, and chemical fertilizers, produce twice as many greenhouses”.  What are we going to do with so many green houses? I know what we’ll do in Colorado, but what about everyone else?

“Farming practices like this is bad for more than just your air quality.” 

You mean, farming practices like cutting wheat?  We need to quit harvesting wheat? 

I wish there was more than wikipedia and BS speculation in this article.  Linking our food to climate change is an intriguing and exciting idea, especially amongst americans with all our processed nonsense “food” and how normal we find it.  Loosely linking climate change to big cooperate and industrial farming and livestock is old sad over done story.

Wanna grow a garden, fine.

But don’t bring us the BS that organic farming is better for the environment, because it’s NOT!

This article suggests that winter resort workers eat poorly because of lifestyle choice, but unfortunately, leaves out one HUGE factor that plays into winter resort workers’ diet choices: the employer. Does the decision to eat poorly come with the lifestyle choice, or do we eat this way because we don’t have the time and money needed for the bandwidth to make conscious eating choices. Is it lifestyle choice, or is it working a minimum wage job in a remote location where the food options that fit our time schedule and budget are quick serve comfort foods from FSA? With 2 -3 hours of our free time each day going to commuting, no wonder we opt for Dominos Pizza and a six pack of beer to fill our stomach and take the edge off a stressful, long day. While we always can use a reminder to WHY we should eat well, I think the bigger topic to tackle is the way winter resort employers trap employees into a cycle of not being able to take care of ourselves.

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