Protect Our Winter (POW) have used the global focus on the current bi-annual Alpine World Skiing championships in Meribel and Courchevel to call on the International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS) to do much more is the fight against climate change.

The group, which has grown over the past two decades into the global snow-sports community’s main advocacy body in fighting the climate emergency, presented the FIS with a letter calling on the world governing body of ski and snowboard competition to do much more. Hundreds of snow sports athletes including Mikaela Shiffrin and Aleksander Aamodt Kilde are reported to have signed the letter as well as many other top racers like Italy’s Federica Brignone and Marta Bassino and previous Freeride World Tour champions Arianna Tricomi (ITA) and Xavier de le Rue (FRA).

In a media announcement, Protect Our Winters (POW) state:

“The world of competitive Snowsports is feeling the impact of climate change right now. With competitions being cancelled due to extreme weather events or lack of snow, pre-season training slopes becoming less available and increased injury rates due to poor quality, or absence of, natural snow (1) at competition sites.  A new study shows that all but one of the previous 21 host cities, Sapporo, Japan, will be too warm and dry to host a safe, fair Winter Games by 2080 if we continue on the current emissions path.”

“FIS (Féderation Internationale de Ski) is the international ski federation and thus a globally active organisation. FIS has come a long way since the presidential position was held by a climate denier. However, many feel its action on climate are too slow and too limited to match the scale of the issue, and that the actions it has taken are both overly reliant on offsets and lack the required transparency to be a leader on climate action. Questions have been raised around Mr Eliasch’s joint role as both FIS President and co-chair of Cool Earth (the organisation FIS has partnered with) as to the transparency and ease of public access to information of how its offsets are calculated.”

In the POW letter to the FIS, rising Austrian skiing star, FIS athlete, and Protect Our Winters Ambassador Julian Schütter, demands on behalf of athlete signatories that:

● FIS representatives must commit to reaching net-zero for all of FIS operations and events by 2035 or prior.

● FIS has to create a sustainability strategy of how to achieve the 50% emissions reduction by 2030, as committed to through the UN Sports for Climate Action framework and present it to the public before the start of 2024 season.

● FIS has to install a sustainability department that ensures that sustainability becomes a key aspect of all governance processes and operations, which must be controlled and certified by an independent organization.

● Full transparency is needed to back up FIS‘ role as a much needed pioneer.

You can read the whole letter. Headed “our sport is endangered”, which also calls for the racing season to start later when there’s a higher chance of natural snowfall to avoid a repeat of the start of this winter when most of the planned October and early November planned competitions had to be cancelled due to lack of natural snow and temperatures too warm to make adequate snow cover by machine.  with the list of signatories is here:

The letter will be delivered to FIS at a press conference in Courchevel following the Men’s Downhill Finals, at 4pm 12th February.

“Skiing is so much fun for me that in 40 years I still want to be waving in deep powder snow. Unfortunately, however, climate change stands in my way. With this campaign, I am using my circle of influence, my influence as a ski racer. In doing so, I hope to inspire others to use the influence on their environment, no matter where or how big their circle is,” said Julian Schütter.