VIDEO: Rock Skiing the California Drought

No snow, a lot of problems

Happy Earth Day, skiers. Let’s celebrate with a big dose of reality, shall we? This morning the filmmakers at Happy United, Aero Films, and Groove Guild dropped a heavy one aimed at, well, us—skiers, just like you and me, particularly those in California.

We all love a good rock skiing edit to break the ice and add some humor to the depressing subject that is the lack of snow. And with skiers sending it off rocks, banking turns in the scree, and spitting out mouthfuls of gravel, this video may be the one to top them all. Watch it. Get a good laugh in. Gape at the lines these skiers go for without the comfort of frozen water beneath them. But once the shock and awe wears off, let the awkwardness settle in because this video is not far from the truth.

Here are a few facts for you:

On April 1st, the California Department of Water Resources measured the Sierra Nevada snowpack at only five percent of the historical average. This year was also the first time in 75 years that there was literally no snow at the site where researchers take measurements. Keep in mind that the Sierra snowpack is a reserve so vital that it typically makes up a third of the state’s water.

This is not just a problem for California skiers and water drinkers. If you snack on almonds, eat beef, or drink milk, you should pay attention too (yes, all your food comes from somewhere).

This is the fourth bad winter in a row in California. The water years of 2012-2014 are the consecutive three driest on record with each year producing record warmth. California skiers have given up saying it can’t get worse because, well, it’s gotten worse every year.

But we are still skiing on the little snow we have. Mammoth hot laps were ripe last weekend with slushy bumps all day long. Californians are the kings and queens of spring skiing, but usually the days of skiing in nothing but a flannel come two months later. The mountains just beyond the ski resort boundary currently look exactly like the terrain in this video.

So there you have it, a harsh reality. What can you do? Well, check out Protect Our Winters. They might have an idea or two.