The End of Snow
A scientist dredges up 10,000-year-old silt from the bottom of an alpine lake. A lovable hermit known as the Snow Guardian, meticulously records weather data at his remote Colorado cabin. A Wyoming rancher raises cattle sustainably with water conservation in mind. By analyzing the data from these different sources, climate scientist and skier Jane Zelikova hopes to better understand the dwindling Western snowpack and how people can adapt to a future without snow. And because the Rocky Mountain West depends on snow for recreation, water and food — and is increasingly plagued by wildfires and droughts — this important research comes not a moment too soon.
If you’re determined to summit and ski remote Mont Forel, the second-highest peak in Greenland, knowing that the aircraft-fueled expedition will pump carbon into the atmosphere, you might mitigate the guilty pleasure by bringing along a climate scientist. This renders Guilt Trip into a perfect Mountainfilm package, offering a dose of adrenaline and wonder at the staggering beauty of the natural world, but not without with the science of climate change, seasoned with guilt over our own contribution to making April in Greenland downright hot. That the balmy weather and rapidly melting ice partially thwart both scientific research and adventure travel is a bitter irony lost on no one.
Eons ago, the San Miguel River carved the Telluride valley. At the beginning of the 20th century, this town’s mining community, frustrated by the river’s vagaries, straightened its natural path. In the fall of 2016, the river was returned to its original course, an effort that required imagination, foresight and a lot of heavy machinery. The Meander tells the story of the San Miguel and the herculean effort made to restore the river’s original flow, which, in turn, has generated environmental benefits for the Valley Floor's ecosystem and also created a carbon sink at the town’s doorstep.
2017 Presentation: The Future of Skiing
Telluride has fueled its culture and economy by being a ski town for more than four decades, but what would happen if there was no snow? This year, the resort had a big snow year, but only after it opened late because of warm temperatures. It also experienced repeated instances of winter rain — something that used to be extremely rare. The concept of a ski area whose snow has vanished is explored in the film Samuel in the Clouds (page 40), which looks at Chalcataya in Bolivia, formerly the world’s highest ski resort, rendered dusty and barren when a glacier melted in 2009. The Future of Skiing will examine the bleak consequences posed to the sport by climate change and attempt to understand what can be done. We’ve assembled a dynamic and influential lineup of speakers that includes Auden Schendler from Aspen Ski Company and the snow sports advocacy group Protect Our Winters, Telluride Ski Resort CEO Bill Jensen, OpenSnow climatologist Joel Gratz, head of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office Luis Benitez, pro skier and activist Angel Collinson, pro skier Chris Davenport and pro snowboarder Jeremy Jones, who founded Protect Our Winters. Skiers have not often been known as advocates, but it’s up to this vibrant community to better understand the issues and work toward a solution — so we can all continue to shred.
In Person: Auden SchendlerBill JensenJoel GratzAngel CollinsonJeremy Jones