Pro Skiers Show Support for Clean Power Plan

Caroline Gleich and Julian Carr pressure Utah state leaders to reduce carbon emissions

Temperature inversion traps pollution from car exhaust and industrial emissions over Salt Lake City. PHOTO: Aaron Gustafson
Temperature inversion traps pollution from car exhaust and industrial emissions over Salt Lake City. PHOTO: Aaron Gustafson

In the past week, two pro skiers have taken to Utah newspapers to voice their concerns about climate change and our energy future. Caroline Gleich and Julian Carr called on younger generations to go beyond recycling and biking to work, and lead the social movement against climate change. Both members of Protect Our Winters’ Riders Alliance, Gleich and Carr urged Utah officials to embrace the Clean Power Plan, which seeks to reduce carbon emission levels by 32 percent by 2030.

The Deseret News published Gleich’s op-ed, My view: Why Utah leaders need to embrace EPA’s Clean Power Plan, on August 21, where the ski mountaineer wrote, “My support is also not just about my livelihood as a skier. It’s about improving our quality of life, cleaning up our air, and creating a state future generations will want to live in.”

Caroline Gleich joined Protect Our Winters in D.C. last winter to speak with Administrator Gina McCarthy from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on how to best fight climate change. PHOTO: Courtesy of POW
Caroline Gleich joined Protect Our Winters in D.C. last winter to speak with Administrator Gina McCarthy from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on how to best fight climate change. PHOTO: Courtesy of POW

Originally from Minnesota, Gleich has made her home in Salt Lake City, drawn by Utah’s natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities. However, Gleich says she is concerned about the state’s reputation and refers to an article published by POWDER Magazine dubbing her home town as “Smog Lake City,” which addresses Utah’s declining air quality.

“Continuing with business as usual will not lead to decreased carbon pollution and cleaner air,” she writes. “That’s why I’m disappointed to see our governor and state leaders fighting against the Clean Power Plan… it’s time for Utah leaders to embrace the challenge of change and invest in a clean energy economy, for jobs, for our health and to preserve our way of life — especially our snowy winters.”

Following Gleich’s lead, Carr, pro skier and founder of Discrete Headwear, published his own opinion piece in The Salt Lake Tribune on August 22.

“Freeskiing is about breaking free from the old rules. It’s about thinking differently and going big. We need to apply that mindset to our energy future,” writes Carr.

Carr called for young people to educate themselves on the science of climate change, and to push politicians to support eco-friendly legislation like the Clean Power Plan.

Specifically, Carr calls out Utah Gov. Gary Herbert who has indicated he won’t support the plan, despite its impact on the state’s 18,419 winter tourism jobs.

Carr, a Salt Lake City native, goes on to say he’s already seen the negative effects of mountain precipitation falling as rain instead of snow due to increasing global temperatures.

“It is immoral to allow our children, and our children’s children, to inherit a planet that we screwed up,” writes Carr. “Join me in the movement. Join me on the front lines so that, when we are old, we may still join together on the snow.”

To read more about what the Clean Power Plan means for skiers, click here.