Champion athletes ask President Obama to save winters

May 17, 2013

Last month, a non-profit group comprising athletes who make a living through winter sports sent a letter to President Obama asking him to take action on climate change.

Two-time world freestyle ski champion and Jackson resident, Kit DesLauriers is part of the group, called Protect Our Winters. She says she has been skiing for over 30 years, including down the highest peaks of every continent, and that the changes she has seen are alarming.

In my circle, it’s undisputed that things are changing rapidly,” says DesLauriers, “In the time I’ve been spending so actively in the mountains, I’ve been seeing winter coming later, I’ve been seeing the way we used to celebrate the first big snowfalls earlier in October and actually really skiing, like skiing the whole mountain by Thanksgiving, that’s shifted almost a whole month to where we’re excited to be skiing the whole mountain by Christmas.” 

Credit Kit DesLauriers

Over the past two years, her travels have taken her to the Arctic where she says she was alarmed by what she saw.

“I viewed 19 different polar bears at one time and they had all arrived on the coast of the Beaufort Sea by swimming over 300 miles to get there. Which is an unprecedented expanse of open water without any ice for them to rest on,” explains DesLauriers.

DesLauriers says winters, wildlife and tourism are vital to Wyoming, and she hopes that legislators will take measures to support clean air. 

The letter to President Obama was signed by 75 Olympic medalists and other winter sports athletes, including White House “Champion of Change” award recipients and pro-snowboarder Jeremy Jones.