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.