Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Recycle, Reimagine for a Sustainable Snow Season

Nature won’t be here forever if we don’t all take some time to protect it.

The winter season is a magical time, my favorite of the year. The peaks and hills get covered in a fresh coat of white providing a palate for all of us artists to use our minds and imaginations to draw our own lines on the mountains. But they won’t be here forever if we don’t all take some time to protect them.

My dad is an environmental scientist, and I grew up on the beach in Southern California, but I was always drawn to the mountains—my name is Forrest, obviously. It's our duty and our job to help protect the places we love to go to—the oceans and the mountains. I got started with the nonprofit Protect Our Winters in order to do that. We recently got back from a trip to talk with senators on Capitol Hill and the White House to represent the winter sports community in discussing how climate change is impacting mountain communities. It's all about getting educated ourselves so we can educate others. It starts with these five: Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Recycle, Reimagine. Below are some additional ways you can be part of the solution:


There are many environmentally friendly brands in the snow industry. Look into how and where your products are made and support companies that care about the environment.


We have an obligation and stewardship to help sustain the places we enjoy. Being in nature is the first step to better understanding what we need to protect. The mountains and oceans provide us with everything. It’s time to give back.


Support issues that are important to you nationally and locally. There are a lot of issues out there in relation to our mountains that will affect the ways we’ll be able to enjoy winter in the future. Vote for the candidates who protect the environment. Find out more at the League of Conservation Voters.


We have an obligation and stewardship to help sustain the places we enjoy. Being in nature is the first step to better understanding what we need to protect. The mountains and oceans provide us with everything. It’s time to give back.


Go to resorts like Squaw Valley and Mammoth that support climate change advocacy and renewable energies like wind and solar. Look for resorts that focus on reducing emissions, protecting wildlife habitats, and that care about water quality. If they don’t, write a letter and tell them they should. Find the best green resorts here.


Save on gas money, meet new friends, and reduce your carbon emissions.


Hiking is a great way to earn your turns. Splitboards and alpine touring skis are awesome, so hike up the mountain in order to reduce your carbon footprint. It may be hard work, but once you ride down, it will all be worth it. Be sure to get educated in the process by taking an avalanche class.


Get vocal about what you believe in and engage your friends, family, coworkers, etc.


Water is free—bring a water container with you so you don’t have to buy one. Use a thermos for hot tea or soup and a packable or collapsible mug for coffee or hot cocoa. Also: buy used skis or a snowboard. There’s a lot of good gear out there that needs a home.


Support your local snowboard, outdoor, and ski shops. Eat at local restaurants or get food from farmers' markets.

A version of this feature originally appeared in The Drift, a celebration of snow, by Patagonia and The Usual.

Illustrations by Stefan Knecht

via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

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