One Ski Town at a Time…

By Bruce Kasanoff

119bWhy would a Park City entrepreneur go to Brazil to learn about climate change?

In the case of Bryn Carey, president of Ski Butlers, he wanted to connect with other like-minded people and find a path to actual progress, rather than just talk.

In 2014, Carey and his wife went to Brazil to attend leadership training offered by The Climate Reality Project, founded by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore in 2007. In 2015, Carey returned as a mentor to more than a dozen snow sports leaders he had urged to attend the meeting. A critical topic was the sea-level rise, which affects glaciers and snow.

The main condition for attending this training program is that within one year you must perform ten “Acts of Leadership”. These can include organizing an event in your area, meeting with government leaders, writing a blog or article, or giving a presentation about the effects of climate change.

Carey developed a presentation for the Park City Lodging Association that he has since shared with other organizations. He became active in “I am Pro Snow,” an initiative started by skiers and snowboarders who are seeking to create 100% renewable energy plans in mountain owns across the world by 2020.

Carey co-authored a letter to the United Nations which was presented at the Paris 2015 Climate Conference. He garnered 1,500 signatures of people in the industry. In addition, he created a page on Ski Butlers’ website (skibutlers.com/climatechange) that provides information about climate change. Carey is highly focused on the goal of each state moving toward 100% renewable energy. Park City has already created a plan to be “net zero” in municipal operations by 2022, and community-wide by 2032.

According to Carey, Salt Lake City quickly adopted the same goal as Park City — proof, he says, that shows this plan is working.

Ski towns have a unique opportunity to spur proactive action on climate change because they attract successful people from all over the world. Carey says, “We need to market the idea to people when they come here. Ski towns are so important to the goal of creating 100% renewable energy plans.

“We already have all the technology necessary to go 100% renewable. Instead of saying we can’t do things, we should do everything possible.” For example, a ski town like Park City has a high demand for heated driveways, which seems wasteful. But Carey has learned it’s possible to operate a heated driveway solely from solar power.

One of the more unexpected lessons Carey learned along the way was that the ski and snowboard industries have been a bit slow in taking action to deal with climate change threats. While that’s starting to change, there is plenty of room for additional progress.

So what can we do? Wherever you live, Carey urges you to work with your local or regional government in support of a plan for 100% renewable energy. If you love winter sports, it’s the least you can do to help ensure our planet has snow for centuries to come.

To learn more, visit The Climate Reality Project at climaterealityproject.org.