NSAA Rebuttal To Powder Magazine


Powder Magazine recently published an article by Porter Fox titled “Campaign Donations Link Ski Industry Leaders to Climate Change Deniers”. In it, Fox outlines how the big players in the ski industry are donating huge amounts of money to political leaders that deny climate change and block climate change legislation. Below is a letter to the editor of Powder Magazine from the Director of Public Policy at the National Ski Areas Association. 

Powder Editorial Office
2052 Corte Del Nogal Suite 100
Carlsbad, CA 92011

Dear Editor:

I write in response to Porter Fox’s November 3 article, “Campaign Donations Link Ski Industry Leaders to Climate Change Deniers.”  The article reflects Mr. Fox’s  naiveté about how climate change will be solved, how Washington works, and the fact that the ski industry, like every other industry, is not “single-issue” in its approach to advocacy.

First, climate change will only be solved with Republicans at the table.  Former Republican Congressman and renowned climate advocate, Bob Inglis, told the ski industry this when he spoke at our Savannah Convention in 2013. He asked Democrats in the audience to raise their hands at the beginning of his speech, and then told them “you Birkenstock-wearing Democrats are not going to be the ones who solve climate—It will be Republicans who solve climate change.” Inglis, the Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) and other leaders on climate change solutions know what Mr. Fox doesn’t seem to grasp: vilifying Republicans is not going to solve climate change. Only a bi-partisan, market-based approach will solve climate change.  While Mr. Fox praises Auden Schendler and POW for countless visits to Washington to meet with White House officials and Democrats on the Hill, that approach—with all due respect— doesn’t move the needle on passing climate change legislation. It may result in some great photo opps, but it is simply preaching to the choir.

The ski industry, like most industries, donates to both Republicans and Democrats.   This comes as no surprise to anyone who understands how Washington works and the complexity of regulatory issues that industries face.  Whole Foods and Starbucks are both leaders on climate change and contribute to Republicans as well as Democrats. In fact, the food and beverage industry’s total political contributions have gone 69% to Republicans since 1990.  Patagonia and sustainability are virtually synonymous, yet Patagonia it is a manufacturer and a member of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).  In the 2016 cycle, 98% of NAM’s political contributions went to Republicans and 2% went to Democrats.PowdeMagazine’s owner, TEN, is a member of Magazine Publishers of America (MPA). In 2016, 77% of MPA’s political donations went to Republicans.  Industries make donations to elected officials who help with the myriad of regulatory issues that challenge them on a daily basis. Industry political donations are also very practical, in that they reflect who is in control of Congress (right now Republicans!).

The ski industry is proud to have friends on both sides of the aisle in Washington.  There is nothing partisan about problem solving or opening up opportunities for growth and success for the ski industry.  Mr. Fox singles out Republicans like Sen. Barrasso, Rep. Bishop, Rep. McClintock and Rep. Tipton, all of whom have been instrumental in supporting key ski industry initiatives such as year-round activities and protection of water rights. Four-season activities and water rights protection are two critical components of climate adaptation for the ski industry.  We should be thanking these members of Congress, not attacking them.

In addition to strong, bi-partisan alliances, it will take a great deal of respect to solve climate change.  Attacking individuals within the ski industry, similar to attacking Republicans, is not helpful to the cause. It is actually a step backwards. We will need all hands on deck to be effective in addressing this issue. Let’s work together in a collaborative and respectful manner in our quest to solve climate change.


Geraldine Link