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The future of winter sports going downhill

March 02 2023 - News Release News Editorial

Badvertising and the New Weather Sweden thinktank have released a new report that demonstrates how the sustainability of winter sport may be under threat from some of the sponsors within the sector.

The future of winter sports going downhill

Badvertising is a campaign to stop adverts and sponsorships that are fuelling the climate emergency.

The report is titled ‘The Snow Thieves – How High-Carbon Sponsors are Melting Winter Sports’ and has identified a minimum of 107 high-carbon sponsorship deals within winter sports. 

One example focused on two of the sponsors of Sweden’s Vasaloppet ski race, car manufacturer Volvo and energy firm Preem, which are said to have accounted for the collective loss of 210 square kilometres of snow cover – the area of snow equivalent to 233 Vasaloppet ski races. 

The report predicted that without deep and immediate cuts to emissions, the future of winter sport is already in doubt. Winters could be as short as 31 days by the end of the century, the report said. 

Commenting on the report, Britain’s most decorated Winter Olympian Lizzy Yarnold, said: “At their best winter sports are a celebration of people enjoying some of the most awesome landscapes on Earth. But the impact of climate pollution is now melting the snow and ice which these sports depend on. Having high carbon sponsors is like winter sport nailing the lid on its own coffin, and it needs to stop.”

"Having high carbon sponsors is like winter sport nailing the lid on its own coffin, and it needs to stop.” Britain’s most decorated Winter Olympian Lizzy Yarnold

The increase in temperature will also have an effect on the European skiing tourism market, with the average warming of two degrees set to lead to a loss of 10.1 million guest nights per winter season.

Other findings in the report include the global heating linked to greenhouse gas emissions and its impact on snow cover in the northern hemisphere, which shrinks by an additional estimate of 90,600 square kilometres each year.

The report has been released just days after hundreds of winter sport athletes added their names to an open letter criticising the perceived inaction of the International Ski Federation (FIS) on climate issues.

Image: Daniel Frank on Unsplash

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