Winterlude 2014 Program Unveiled, Jan. 31 to Feb. 17

Ice Sculptures at Winterlude

Ice Sculptures at Winterlude

The countdown to Winterlude 2014 is officially on, with the lineup for the 36th edition of the winter festival being announced this morning at a press conference.

This winter’s Winterlude 2014 activities will take place from January 31st to February 17th at Crystal Garden in Confederation Park, at Snowflake Kingdom in Jacques-Cartier Park, on the Rideau Canal Skateway, plus a number of other smaller venues around Ottawa and Gatineau.

Snowflake Kingdom in Jacques-Cartier Park is the site of North America’s biggest snow playground, and and where visitors will find the Ice Hog family, Winterlude’s official mascots. Snowflake Kingdom provides icy fun for the whole family: Continue reading

The End of Skiing Is Nigh

Does global warming spell the end of snow? That’s what’s being proposed by Porter Fox, a longtime Powder magazine editor and writer, in his new and soon-to-be-published-if-kickstarter-campaign-works-out book, Deep.

Deep Kickstarter Campaign photo by Craig Wolfrom

Deep Kickstarter Campaign photo by Craig Wolfrom

According to Fox, by mid-century we’re going to start seeing some major changes on the ski scene in North America:

  • More than half of the Northeast’s 103 ski resorts will have to close due to rising temperatures.
  • Two-thirds of Europe’s ski resorts will likely no longer be snow-reliable in 50-70 years.
  • The Western U.S. could lose 25-100% of its snowpack by 2100 (effectively ending skiing at resorts like Park City and relegating ski operations at Aspen to the top quarter of the mountain)

He’s spent the past year and a bit chatting up scientists and snow experts of varying degrees, and uses stats like these to back up his predictions:

  • The Northern Hemisphere has lost 1 million square miles of spring snow cover in the last 45 years.
  • The rate of winter warming in the U.S. has tripled since 1970.
  • The Alps have lost half of their glacial ice since the late 1800s.

Sounds pretty dire.

The book begins with an in-depth chronology of the history and culture of skiing, mountain communities and snow sports, dating back to the first known skiers 8,000 years ago. It then follows the narrative of the tragic Tunnel Creek avalanche while documenting the most celebrated mountain ranges of North America.

Fox simultaneously gathers facts and observations from leading scientists, snow experts, avalanche forecasters, ski patrollers and old-timers living in the Rockies and Alps – who have seen the change with their own eyes.

The second half of the book maps a path to mitigate climate change, reduce human impact on our planet, repair the water cycle and save snow.

If you want to see this book in print, lucky you: Fox is currently trying to raise $25,000 to publish the book, and with one week left he’s got less than $2,000 to go, so why not check out his Kickstarter campaign page and donate few bucks? $35 will get you a free hard-copy when the book is out!