Saturday, January 20, 2007

What's Wrong With This Picture?

There is just so much wrong with this picture, which shows the desperate effort by organizers of World Cup ski races in Kitzb├╝hel, Austria, to put enough snow on the slopes for races next weekend. To prepare the famous Hahnenkamm downhill course, organizers used a fleet of helicopters to fly 105,000 cubic feet of snow from a nearby high pass, making "hundreds of trips," according to the New York Times. Meanwhile, organizers outside Cortina, Italy, flew 51 helicopter sorties to carry man-made snow up to the course for a World Cup ski race this weekend. Europe, of course, has been experiencing record warmth and a dearth of snow. For the Hahnenkamm, the snow lift was too little too late: The downhill and Super-G were canceled today.

It's not really clear if global warming has anything to do with Europe's warm winter. (Last winter was exceptionally cold and snowy.) But let's just stipulate that, on average, the climate in Europe is getting warmer. And let's stipulate that CO2 from burning fossil fuels is a major contributor to climate change. Now, does it really seem like a good idea for ski resorts and ski-racing organizations whose very existence are threatened by climate change to fly hundreds of fuel-guzzling, CO2-speweing helicopter sorties in order to hold a ski race? Sure, there is major economic disruption for local people when a race as prestigious as this is canceled. But if ski resorts are going to get serious about preventing climate change, something's gotta give. A good place to start would be deciding not to helicopter snow up and down the mountains.

1 comment:

Lou Dawson said...

Anything in the Koyoto treaty about burning heli fuel? If so, those guys are BUSTED!