Protect Our Winters (POW) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Founded by professional snowboarder Jeremy Jones in 2007, POW turns passionate outdoor people into effective climate advocates. POW leads a community of athletes, thought pioneers and forward-thinking business leaders to affect systemic political solutions to climate change.
The past decade has been the warmest on record. 2016 was the hottest year ever recorded and 2017 is already on track top it. Meanwhile, the northern hemisphere has already lost a million square miles of spring snowpack since 1970—an area three times the size of Texas. Snow levels are rising in elevation and winters are shorter. Climate change is already affecting winter.
By 2007, pro snowboarder Jeremy Jones found that more and more resorts he’d always counted on for good riding were closed due to lack of snow. Something was clearly going on, and he felt the need to act. But he couldn’t find any organizations focused on mobilizing the snowsports community on climate—there was a gap between the impacts that climate change was already having on our mountains, and any organized action being taken to address it. And so Jeremy founded Protect Our Winters.
Soon afterwards, we brought on other concerned pro athletes, individuals, resorts and winter sports companies. Since then, Protect Our Winters has grown from a kernel of an idea into a worldwide network of over 130,000 supporters – a social movement on climate, designed to activate a passionate community and create the political will for meaningful action by state and federal policymakers.
And, while POW’s earliest supporters were renowned athletes and respected corporations, the movement quickly grew to include the wider outdoor sports community as their playgrounds and livelihoods also depend on healthy winters.
This was the perfect group to give a national voice to outdoor sports, an industry that supports 7.6 million+ jobs and creates $887 billion in economic revenue. While the fossil fuel lobby may outspend environmentalists 20-1 in Washington, we share a passion that crosses party lines, a unique perspective that de-politicizes any climate discussion, and an industry with an economic impact that can’t be ignored.
Our key formula for engaging 60 million+ outdoor sports enthusiasts globally: relevance and authenticity. Though we can dress up for meetings, in the end we are pro athletes, dirtbags and diehards; for us, winter is not just a passion, but a way of life.
Right now, we have the luxury of worrying about how climate change might impact the outdoor industry. Right now, we get to help dictate the outcome rather than react to a foregone conclusion. If we sit on our hands for the next two decades, we won’t be worried about powder days, tourism or having fun. We’ll be worried about the stability of our environment, our jobs and our economy.
We All Need Winter.