Park City will learn about protecting winter at Main Street event |

Park City will learn about protecting winter at Main Street event

This winter has yet to start, but people at an event scheduled this week want to ensure that the snow season is protected into the future.

As Park City grapples with what a mountain community can accomplish in combating climate change, a discussion is planned on Wednesday, Sept. 9 about a topic many in the area see as critical to Park City’s future.

A group known as the Alpine Collective will present a discussion on Main Street dubbed Protect Our Winter. It is scheduled from 7 p.m. until approximately 8 p.m. at OP Rockwell, a live-music venue at 268 Main St. The cost is $10 per person. All of the proceeds will benefit the Alpine Collective, a not-for-profit organization. The $10 admission fee also enters someone into a raffle for skiing gear.

Scott Thomson, a co-owner of OP Rockwell, is involved with the Alpine Collective. He said in an interview he wants the event on Wednesday to launch a series of similar issue-oriented discussions.

Thomson, a longtime skier, said he has lived in mountain communities and wants the snow protected from climate change.

"I moved here for the winters," he said, adding, "I grew up ski racing."

There is fear that a changing climate will someday impact the ski industry that drives the Park City economy. There have been predictions that climate change could eventually shorten the ski season in Park City and degrade the quality of the snow. There could be midwinter rain in Park City rather than snow, some have predicted. The impacts on the economy could reach Main Street, Thomson said.

"It’s, frankly, loss of revenue. It’s not being able to survive," he said.

The event will feature two speakers. One is Chris Steinkamp, the executive director of Protect Our Winters, a not-for-profit organization based in Pacific Palisades, Calif. The other is professional skier Caroline Gleich.

City Hall and the wider Park City community have in recent years taken steps to address climate change. The municipal government, as an example, has a wide-ranging cleaner-burning energy program that provides power to many facilities. The mountain resorts have also adopted energy programs based on more environmentally friendly fuels.

The Alpine Collective on its website outlines the impact of a changing climate, indicating that the "last decade has been the hottest on record." It cites a 2008 study predicting that the ski season in the Northeast will be fewer than 100 days by 2039 and notes the economic impact of snow sports.

The discussion on Wednesday is scheduled shortly after City Hall joined an environmental initiative with similar goals. The mayor and Park City Council spent little time on the topic before they agreed to City Hall’s involvement in the I Am Pro Snow initiative. Al Gore, the former vice president and a well-known environmental activist, is one of the figures with the I Am Pro Snow initiative.

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