Going green on the hill

Spring conditions are here! As the snow starts to melt back into the earth, one wonders what is melting in with it.

One of the unsightly parts of spring is the amount of garbage left behind under the chair lifts or in the parking lots. But litter isn’t the only waste out there. Even your ski wax can leave harmful chemicals behind to seep into the ground.

Ken Avery, founder of Green Wax, has created an environmentally friendly ski wax free of harmful perfluorochemicals (PFCs). PFCs work effectively in ski wax because they resist heat and water. However, the manmade chemicals are also extremely resistant to breakdown in the environment.

One snowboard or pair of skis, freshly waxed, probably doesn’t make a huge difference, but when you add up all the skiers and snowboarders shredding the slopes, a fair amount of these chemicals are left behind to enter the water table.

Green Wax is made from all natural materials. Avery says the product seemed like a logical thing for people who love being outside on the slopes to have.

“It all started with the question, ‘Where does your wax go when it rubs off?’” he said.

The wax can be melted on or rubbed on. While a couple of reviewers noted that the wax didn’t scrape off as nicely as regular ski wax, and seemed to rub off faster, the fact that the wax is diverting harmful chemicals from ending up in the ground makes it an important move for the ski industry.

Green Wax isn’t the only company making environmentally friendly products. You can also find green ski wax produced by Purl, Beaverwax and Enviro Mountain Sports.

Chemicals can also seep into the ground from garbage left on the hill. While Sun Peaks resort staff work hard throughout the season to pick up all the garbage hidden under the snow, once heat is on the trash it begins to leak chemicals. These chemicals end up in the ground and could harm bug life as well as grazers who eat the grass on the ski hill during the summer.

Jamie Tattersfield, mountain operations manager for Sun Peaks Resort Corporation, said all employees are asked to pick up any trash they see on the mountain.

“In general, I think our guests are very appreciative of the clean nature of our mountain environment, but there are a minority that have to make their mark by dumping trash wherever,” he said.

Sun Peaks’ annual Trash Bash is a great way to help clean up the resort. While dates haven’t been confirmed for this year, this community event is another testament to Sun Peaks’ willingness to take action on keeping a clean and environmentally friendly resort.

Next time you head up the chairlift, consider what you need and don’t need. While it’s essential to have some sort of refreshment while working out on the slopes consider a reusable, collapsible water container, or put containers in recycling when you’re done with them.

There are numerous ways to green your skiing experience, and most of it won’t cost you anything. By being environmentally responsible on the mountain, you are preserving it for future generations, and the mountain’s summer inhabitants.

For more information, visit www.greenskiwax.com.

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