Spring Update on Snowriders' Transportation Campaign

In 2016, transportation overtook the power sector as the largest source of climate-change-causing carbon emissions in America. Over the past seven year, the production of electric power has decreased its annual carbon emissions while the transportation sector’s carbon footprint has continued to grow.  Part of the problem is our continued national dependence on personal cars to get us from point A to point B, despite its inefficiency and carbon footprint.

At Snowriders International, we believe that our carbon-intensive transportation sector needs fixing fast. Climate Change is increasingly threatening our sports, and air pollution caused by vehicles harms the mountain communities and natural places we love. And yet, the fact is, as skiers and snowboarders many of us rely on personal cars to get us to and from the slopes.  Often because it is the only affordable and convenient option.  

It doesn’t have to that way. Snowriders envisions a transportation system that gets people out of their cars and into sustainable, convenient and affordable transit options, not only to get around within cities, but also to get to the recreation areas we all enjoy.  The good news is that technology and demand are beginning to drive the expansion of public transit and rideshare services nation-wide. Over the past season, Snowriders has investigated and assessed the public and shared transportation options that are available to skiers heading to ski mountains near the Denver Metro Area in Colorado and Lake Tahoe, California.


Denver-area mountain recreation enthusiasts have learned to dread the weekend traffic on I-70 – the main corridor between Denver Metro Area and front-range ski resorts.  As mountain recreation enthusiasts flood out of Denver and into the mountains on weekends and holidays, highway traffic spikes causing terrible traffic jams and filling the roads with carbon-emitting idling cars.  The good news is that over the last few winter seasons, options for getting to the slopes without driving a personal car have increased in Colorado and smartphone technologies have made ridesharing and carpooling an increasingly efficient option.  Our guide, released in February with COPIRG Foundation highlights 13 shuttle or bus, and 8 rideshare options currently available to Colorado skiers.


An estimated 10 million cars visit Tahoe every year. And emissions are not the only problem associated with these cars. Vehicular traffic also forces communities and businesses to build larger and larger parking lots and is responsible for a large number of traffic accidents.  Our guide, released in March with Environment California Research and Policy Center, found seven bus or shuttle services and eight rideshare options to get skiers to the slopes from the Bay Area without their personal cars. The guide demonstrates that there are a number of options available to skiers concerned about their carbon footprint, but the cost and inconvenience of many of these highlights the needed for more work to make transportation out to Tahoe safer and more sustainable in future seasons.

Guide to Car-Free Skiing in Tahoe

Car-Free Skiing in Tahoe: Accessing Lake Tahoe from the Bay Area without Driving a Personal Car


For Immediate Release:

March 29, 2017

New guide from Snowriders International and Environment California Research and Policy Center shows fifteen public and shared transit options for skiers and boarders trying to get from the Bay Area to ski in Lake Tahoe without driving their personal car. The report highlights that public transit options to Tahoe from the Bay Area are limited, and advocates for greater investment and improved options by the beginning of next ski season. Find the guide here.



Why Skiers should Care About RGGI

Right now, on the East Coast, nine states are in the process of deciding the fate of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI, pronounced “Reggie”). If you are a skier concerned about the future of our snowy winters, particularly in the rapidly-warming Northeast, you should be paying close attention to these decisions.

Climate change is the greatest threat faced today by snow sports.  

Rising temperatures across the globe are causing shorter seasons, unpredictable storms, and troubling predictions for future winters. We need effective tools to quickly combat climate change and protect the future of skiing. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is just such a tool. Implemented in 2009, RGGI is a highly successful cap and trade program entered into by nine northeastern and mid-atlantic states in order to reduce the region’s greenhouse gas emissions. The program establishes a carbon cap and reduces it by 2.5% each year.  The revenue from the sales of the carbon allowances are invested in the clean energy economy. In this way, RGGI both reduces carbon emissions in the region and invests capital into clean energy alternatives.

Since its initiation, RGGI has successfully:

  • Slashed global warming pollution from power plants in HALF

  • Invested over $2.5 Billion in renewable energy

  • Created $5.7 Billion in health benefits including preventing 600 premature deaths, 9,000 asthma attacks and 43,000 missed days of work.

  • Created $3 Billion in economic benefits including creating more than 30,000 job years.

With 2016 reported as the hottest year on record, we need to strengthen and proliferate tools like RGGI and we can’t afford to see them weakened or rolled back.


Why Skiers need to Speak Up:

Among the nine member-states, are Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont - all big ski states, and states where skiers are feeling the impacts of climate change particularly acutely.  Folks who ski or board in the Northeast know that the changing climate has caused event cancellations, early closures, and warm winters punctuated by massive destructive storms in recent years.  Winters in this region are becoming even more fragile than most, but it’s not clear that all the governors involved have gotten the memo.

At the end of the review period, it will mostly be up to the governors’ offices to decide upon the new terms of the program - where to place the carbon cap and how quickly to reduce it - or to decide whether they wish to withdraw entirely.  With the exception of Charlie Baker, governor of Massachusetts, who came out in August in favor of a strong RGGI, most governors are keeping their thoughts on the matter very close to the chest, and the governor of New Hampshire, Chris Sununu, has gone so far as to say he will consider pulling out of the program if other states are considering doing the same.

Skiers, snowboarders and the ski industry are a powerful voice in New Hampshire, and much of the region.  Ski industry business and seasonal tourism are important components in the regional economy and we know that clean air and snow-covered mountains are part of what makes this part of the country so special.  It’s important that we use our voices to advocate for the resources we value, so that is exactly what Snowriders is doing.


Here’s What We’re Doing to Support and Strengthen RGGI:

Snowriders is working with coalition partner, Environment New Hampshire, to highlight the widely shared benefits of the program and demonstrate its broad popular support throughout New Hampshire and the rest of the region. We are calling on the governors of many of the RGGI states to not only renew the program, but to support doubling RGGI’s strength through 2030 in order to scale back carbon emissions at an adequate rate to effectively combat climate change.  On February 22, the coalition released a letter with over 500 organization, elected officials, businesses, health professionals and academics urging governors to double the strength of RGGI through 2030 and address existing loopholes.  As the period of review stretches on, we are continuing to work with skiers and snowboarders in the region to demonstrate their support for a more robust RGGI in order to protect the winter resources that we value so highly.

Help support Snowriders’ work on RGGI, and beyond. Join Snowriders today!

Climate Change means More Storms but Less Powder

According to Cornell University: “While the severity of … extreme snowfalls is likely to increase, the number of days per year with snow on the ground is likely to decrease.”

Climate science is complex, making it difficult to predict the precise impacts that the warming climate will have on weather in any given region. One thing scientists seem to agree on across the board, however, is that the intensity of storms - from hurricanes to blizzards - is increasing.

A greater percentage of total precipitation is falling in the heaviest storms each year.

This means that the biggest storms are becoming more intense and more frequent.  Any skier could easily provide anecdotal evidence for this trend - whether is be the 4 feet of snow just received by areas of the Northeast last weekend, or the storm earlier this season that closed all Wyoming roads and forced Jackson Hole to shut down for almost a week.



Big storms are costing communities money in lost business, as well as plowing and repair costs.

These storms are also leading to injuries and even deaths.  According the National Centers for Environmental Information, a storm and associated cold-front that hit the East Coast in early February, 2015 had an estimated total cost of $3.1 billion and contributed to 30 deaths across 19 states!  This is just one of three winter storms in their database with an associated cost of $1.9 billion or more since 2010.

While Storm Intensity increases, total snowpack is decreasing.

Total inches of precipitation are decreasing in areas, and the snow that does fall is melting much faster.  Despite the trend of increasingly intense storms, scientists across the board have pessimistic predictions for future ski seasons.  Snowfall is predicted to decrease by as much as 70% in the Alps by 2100, and North American skiers are seeing spring come earlier and earlier each year.

More storms but less snow means shorter seasons for skiers, and expensive and unpredictable winters for local governments and ski resorts.

Help us fight back and protect the future of skiing and snowboarding. Take the Snowriders’ Pledge today!


Why you Should Ditch your Car for Your Next Ski Trip

Help Create a Flexible and Sustainable Transportation System that Works for Skiers and Snowboarders.

Most of us take for granted that getting to the ski slopes in the winter includes a significant journey by car. As we head into the mountains on weekends and holidays, traffic spikes along major ski corridors like I-70 in Colorado or I-80 on the way to Tahoe, causing terrible traffic jams and adding hours onto commutes. The exhaust from so many idling cars greatly increases air pollution, endangering public health and contributing to climate change,  which threatens the beautiful outdoor places we are traveling to enjoy.

But, it doesn't need to be this way!

At Snowriders, we believe that our trip to the slopes shouldn’t endanger the mountains and snow that we love.  For years, personal cars have remained the only convenient way to access the mountains in most areas of the country.  Snowriders International, however, believes that a flexible and modern transportation system that gets us where we need to go without harming the natural places that we love, is not only possible but necessary. We’re working with skiers and snowboarders across the country to demand better and more varied public and shared transportation options that can allow us to enjoy the mountains while also protecting them.


Options are already growing nationwide, but more work is necessary.  The key to making a personal-car-free transportation system work is offering enough convenient options. A 2013 study by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) found that young people demand transportation systems with many options and desire the ability to pick between choices depending upon the practical needs of their trip.

Want to get to the mountain early enough for first chair? You need an option that gets on the road in the wee hours of the morning.

Need to head back early? You'll want transportation with multiple or flexible departure times.

Want to play Angry Birds, or get a little work done on the drive? A public transit option would be perfect.  

As shuttle, bus, rideshare and train options proliferate, skiers are beginning to get a taste of what car-free skiing can offer.  The more people demand and take advantage of these options, the more will appear. So before you jump in your car for your next weekend adventure, consider the public and shared transportation options available in your region, and take this simple action to protect the mountains we love.

Improve Your MPGs on the way to the Slopes

Want to make your ride to the mountain more environmentally friendly?

Consider these tips:

1) Carpool!

Here’s an obvious one. Grab a few of your friends, or sign up for a local online rideshare board and fill as many seats as you can in your car. This is not only more fun, but you can also split gas money and each one of you is contributing that much less pollution to the environment than if you had each driven up alone.

2) Drive at non-peak times

Idling in traffic is incredibly inefficient, and if you live along a popular ski corridor, you know to expect a whole lot of traffic at around 7am on a winter Saturday.  Head up the night before when the traffic is lighter. You’ll use less gas and be less frustrated.  And if you do find yourself in a terrible traffic jam, consider pulling off and parking somewhere for a while until it clears rather than inching forward for hours on the freeway.

3) Reconsider the car you’re driving

This is important for both fuel efficiency and safety. If your route to the mountains involves any snowy passes or icy roads, it’s probably not the best place for your 1960s VW Beetle, no matter how cute it looks with the little roof rack. Driving a car with insufficient traction is dangerous to yourself and others.  Older cars are also less efficient than their newer counterparts by a significant margin. If you drive a particularly old, small, or gas-guzzly car, you might consider replacing it with a newer more efficient model.

4) Check tire pressure regularly

Underinflated tires decrease your fuel efficiency.  In the winter, when it’s cold out, air contracts reducing tire pressure, so it’s even more important to check it regularly.

5) Park in warm places

Keeping your car in the garage the night before your day at the mountain is a good idea for fuel efficiency and many ski resorts offer indoor, or at least covered parking which may be worth the extra cost.

6) Store your ski/snowboard differently

Ski racks add significant drag to your car and can reduce your MPG more than you would think.  If you can safely secure your skis inside the car, that would be the best option. Some roof boxes and back-of-the-car racks also claim to be more efficient than a regular roof rack. Some ski mountains and ski shops have lockers so you can store your skis close to the mountain in between trips.

7) Avoid using warmers, defroster and other electronics more than necessary

Anything additional your car is doing beyond driving impacts your gas mileage, so avoid excessive use of chargers, warmers, and anything else in your car that’s electric. Probably still worth it run the radio and radiator, though!


The Growing Ways to Get from the Denver Region to the Slopes Without Your Personal Car




For years, the only real way for people to get from the Denver region up to the ski slopes has been to drive their personal car. While the number of people who carpool along the limited roads that lead to our slopes is high, relying on personal vehicles to move hundreds of thousands of people from the Front Range to the ski slopes during the winter is inefficient, unsafe, and has a negative impact on our health and the environment.

Colorado needs a transportation system that provides safe, convenient, affordable options that connect the Front Range to the ski slopes. In the short term, we need to ensure that the personal vehicles that are travelling to the slopes are maximizing carpool opportunities in each vehicle. In the long term, we need a lot more options so people can ditch their car for shuttles, vans, buses and trains.

The good news is that over the last few winter seasons, options for getting to the slopes without driving your personal car have increased and smart phone technologies have made ride sharing and carpooling an increasingly efficient option.

This guide highlights the available options that our researchers found for travelling from the Denver metro region to the ski slopes without your personal car. Currently, available options include airport shuttles, multiple vans and bus programs, rideshares, and two train lines. The costs and convenience varies widely among the options but we included every option that our researchers found that we thought the public could access. The research was done between January 31st and February 6th. We also include some of the policies that ski resorts are implementing to incentivize carpooling including providing preferred parking.



Daily Access*


Bustang West Line

Stops: Frisco, Vail, Glenwood Springs
Cost: $12-$28   

RTD ski-n-ride (Route N)

Stops: Eldora   
Cost: $4.50

Greyhound Bus   

Stops: Frisco, Vail, Glenwood Springs
Cost: $14-$32

Amtrak California Zephyr

Stops: Fraser-Winter Park, Granby, Glenwood Springs
Cost: $35-$168


Weekend access*



Stops: A-Basin, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Vail, and Winter Park
Cost: $45-$60 (round trip)

Front Range Ski Bus

Stops: Loveland Ski Area, Copper Mountain
Cost: $45 (round trip)

Amtrak Winter Park Express

Stops: Winter Park
Costs: $59 (round trip)

University of Colorado, Boulder Ski Bus Program **

Stops: Keystone, A-Basin, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, Vail -- different each weekend
Cost: $5-$15 (round trip)


Access from Denver International Airport***


Colorado Mountain Express

Stops: Breckenridge, Keystone, Copper Mountain, Frisco, Vail, Beaver Creek, Avon, Edwards, Eagle, Glenwood Springs, Aspen & Snowmass Village
Cost: $49-$120 †

Fresh Tracks Transportation

Stops: Breckenridge, Keystone, Copper Mountain, Frisco and Silverthorn/Dillon
Cost: $63††

Peak 1 Express

Stops: Breckenridge and Summit County & Vail Valley
Cost: $44-$99††

Powderhound Transportation‡   

Stops: Aspen Snowmass, Beaver Creak, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Keystone, Steamboat, Vail, Winter Park
Cost: $249-$299‡

Summit Express

Stops: Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Keystone, Frisco, Dillon/Silverthorn
Costs: $65††


Ride Share Options*



SkiCarpool is a nonprofit organization that facilitates carpooling to Colorado resorts using an active rideboard on their website

Carpool World

International ridesharing website with an active ride-board of people driving from Denver Metro Area to the mountains.

WaytoGo SkiPool Program   

Between December 2014 and March 2015, members of a vanpool through the Way to Go program received one free rideshare trip to the mountains per week.  Way to Go members should contact DRCOG to see if SkiPool options are still available.

Craigslist Rideshare

General resource board where individuals can post requests and find people to carpool with.   


Mountains with Carpool Incentives *


Arapahoe Basin

Limited priority parking for a car of three or more.  Discount tickets with a car of four or more.

Copper Mountain Resort

Priority parking for carpools of four or more,

Breckenridge Ski Resort

$5 discount on parking with car of four or more.

Keystone Resort

Priority parking for carpools of four or more.

* Information subject to change by the organizations and companies that run the service. Check website for latest information.       
** only available to students and alumni
*** Only shared shuttle options presented unless otherwise noted
† Discounts for children   
 ††Discounts for 3+ people and kids   

SnowStang Pilot Bus Program: Good News for Colorado Skiers

Good News For Colorado Skiers: CDOT Announces "SnowStang" Pilot Bus Program with Service to Front Range Ski Resorts

Snowriders International praises the announcement from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) last week of the pilot “SnowStang” bus program, a bus that will offer round-trip service from Denver to the Arapahoe Basin, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Vail, and Winter Park ski areas on February 11th and 25th. The bus will travel along the I-70 corridor, which is notorious among Denver-area mountain recreationists for its extreme traffic on winter weekends, and offers the appealing option to kick back and relax in a comfortable coach bus, rather than brave the traffic oneself.  Although SnowStang is only operating for two days this winter, Snowriders hopes to see it funded as a regular CDOT route in years to come. “We believe there is a great need for smarter transportation options from the Denver metro area to the mountains,” says Lucie Coleman, an organizer with Snowriders International.  “A public bus system, like the SnowStang program, is a big step in the right direction in providing the more efficient and environmentally friendly transportation solutions that skiers and snowboarders are demanding.”

As mountain recreation enthusiasts flood out of Denver and into the mountains on weekends and holidays, highway traffic usually spikes causing terrible traffic jams, adding hours onto commutes, costing mountain communities hundreds of millions of dollars a year, and having big impacts on the environment. Idling cars greatly increase air pollution, threatening public health and contributing to climate change.  What’s more, between 2001 and 2009 – the most recent data available – the average number of miles driven by 16 to 34-year-olds dropped by 23 percent.  This is the main demographic heading out of Denver each weekend to ski and board. Mountain travelers are demanding 21st century transportation options like rideshares, bus, and rail that allows them to save money, make new friends, reduce traffic, and reduce their impact on the environment. America should not just accommodate skiers’ and boarders’ desire to drive less, but actively encourage it. Cities across the nation are leading the way by expanding public transportation options, and building new public transportation infrastructure. We are happy to see the Colorado Department of Transportation is part of this trend.

As there are increasingly more of these options for Coloradans can take advantage of, Snowriders will continue to push for greater levels of public funding, to continue to make mountain access in Colorado, and throughout the country, more affordable, efficient and green.  We believe that efficient public transportation systems like rail and clean buses will make mountain transportation’s future better for everyone, not just skiers.

Paris Climate Agreement Statement

For Immediate Release:
Saturday, December 12, 2015

Historic agreement great news for the future of mountains, snow, and the planet

Paris, France – Today, world leaders have accepted a final agreement to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius, a level scientists say is critical to avoid the worst impacts of climate change such such as the end of healthy snowpack and ice cycles – a death sentence for cold, frontline communities. Snowriders International director Philip Huffeldt issued the following statement applauding the historic agreement:

“The end of a healthy snowpack, the end of ice, the end of healthy mountains is a real possibility unless we act boldly and swiftly to cut global warming pollution and transition to 100 percent clean energy. That’s why this climate deal is amazing news for mountain communities, Arctic communities, public health, and the planet.

“Snow and mountain communities understand what’s at stake better than most as much is already melting away. We’ve seen an avalanche of support from snow and mountain communities worldwide for a strong Paris agreement, while professional athletes, businesses, ski areas, governments, organizations and citizens from across the U.S. are standing behind the Clean Power Plan, the largest step our country has ever taken to act on climate.

“This landmark agreement gives me hope that we’ll be able to pass on a safer climate to our children and grandchildren, and that they’ll know what it means to enjoy the wonder and beauty of snow."

To learn more and take action, visit Snowriders International’s website www.snowridersinternational.org.


Snowriders International is an organization of skiers, boarders, and mountain recreation enthusiasts.  We are dedicated to the promotion of winter sports and protection of the environment across the globe through service, education, research, and advocacy.



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