Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. (Jackson Hole Ski Atlas)

In a letter to employees, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s Jay Kemmerer mentions that the resort has many climate-forward initiatives including a past donation to Protect Our Winters. While we recognize this as a local issue, we feel that mention invited us to the conversation. 

By powering the resort through wind power and using biofuels in some vehicles, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is doing the right thing. Resorts worldwide are working to address their carbon footprint starting right on their own slopes. At POW, we support every effort to implement clean energy solutions at home or in the industry. 

In his letter, Kemmerer calls for JHMR employees to be “united in their common goal” of “protecting the environment.” The discordance between his actions and his stated common goal is that while reducing corporate impact is important, that alone won’t be enough to address the worst impacts of global warming. Particularly in the Mountain West, where there are more than nearly 80 active large fires, which have already burned nearly 5 million acres this year. The latest International Energy Agency report offers hope in that if we act immediately and decisively, cutting global emissions in half by 2030 and reaching net zero by the middle of this century, we can moderate the rise in temperatures. To get there, we need decisive, cross-partisan political leadership.  

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Rep. Jim Jordan, who appeared at Kemmerer’s fundraiser — an event that has spurred protests and led Patagonia to withdraw its merchandise from JHMR —  are doing all they can to stand in the way of affordable, renewable energy and clean transportation, while voting for more fossil fuel production and subsidies. Taylor Greene, in complete climate change denial, has made absurd comments ranging from space lasers causing the Paradise, California fires to asking how much money people in the Ice Age spent to warm up the Earth. According to the League of Conservation Voters, Jordan votes against climate and the environment 97% of the time. For clean air to hike in, clean water to fish from and snow to ski on, we need climate leadership on both sides of the aisle.

There are 50 million people that Protect Our Winters calls the Outdoor State. The people who base their lifestyles around the outdoors from August nights spent under starry skies to powder days throughout the winter.

Beyond lifestyle, climate affects the country’s $887 billion dollar outdoor recreation industry. In Wyoming alone, climate dependent outdoor recreation supports 21,344 jobs or 5.2% of all jobs in the state. An analysis by Outdoorsy places Wyoming as the third most-dependent state on outdoor recreation. And within that figure snow sports contribute the most to Wyoming’s outdoor economy with the state’s primary winter attraction being Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, the largest private employer in the region.

Nowhere is the imminent risk of climate change more clear and potentially dire than in towns based around an outdoor economy. And perhaps none are as remote and fully dependent on an outdoor way of life and outdoor tourism as the Jackson region. That is what makes Kemmerer’s direct support for politicians who actively work against climate action so confounding and the frustration of business partners and employees so understandable. 

We need to elect leadership at every level and in every branch of government that will support policies founded on the best available science and technology, spur American innovation and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. That is why while we at Protect Our Winters recognize Jackson Hole’s investment in things like renewable energy for the resort, we fully support the employees and community members who see financial support of climate-denying, extreme-fringe politicians as incongruent with Kemmerer’s stated goal.

Whether we are conservatives, liberals or independents, we must stop sending anti-climate candidates to Washington, D.C. and state capitals, and start supporting leaders, regardless of party affiliation, who have the vision and grit to meet these challenges with the urgency this moment demands. No one has more to gain from a successful climate effort than our ski resorts and mountain communities.

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The power of being the chairman and owner of the largest mountain resort in the state gives Kemmerer the freedom to have a significant impact on our national politics. If he means what he says in regards to protecting the environment, that freedom is inextricably laden with a responsibility to those who live there, work there and to the mountain itself. Protect Our Winters calls on Jay Kemmerer to personally meet with members of his community and JHMR employees whose lifestyles and livelihoods are at stake in a changing climate. This could open the door to a conversation that can help align his actions with his stated goal and to find ways that he can be a partner on this issue instead of an adversary.  

In his email, Kemmerer states that he “loves this country with all his heart.” America is built on the land itself and the land is our common ground. Mitigating the ravages of a warming world on the land goes hand-in-hand with a love of country and the freedoms outdoor playgrounds like Jackson Hole provide us.

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5 Comments

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  1. Yawwwwwn…
    Limousine liberals and their windmill-tilting pontificatiions. The planet laughs at these insignificant creatures.
    Carbon is life. It is not a pollutant.
    Volcanic activity is a problem.
    Solar cycles are a problem.
    HAARP arrays and aerial spraying of aluminum are the man-made problems.
    Stupid celebrity narcissists taking private jets to meetings to discuss how to ruin our lives is a problem.
    Dysfunctional alternative energy scams run by Democrat donors are a problem.
    Individuals meeting to talk about possible actions to promote liberty and election integrity is not a problem.

  2. I am a 61-year-old white male. I’ve been skiing since I was a little kid. I’ve been tele-ing since the early 80s, lift served skiing, back country skiing, tree skiing, bumps, I love skiing.

    The idea of skiing going “green” is just absolute nonsense. The amount of energy and resources required to run a ski area is completely contradictory to conservation in general. Energy for snow-making, contamination to water from over worked area septic systems and secondary treatment plants, traffic to and from ski areas, habitat destruction, the list goes on and we are all familiar with it.

    I’m a New England skier so I grew up on ice and hard pack and learned both on and off piste how to handle nearly everything. That said, I’m not a threat to any Red Bull sponsored skier lol.

    The truly saddening part about skiing is the death of small areas where kids could come from cities and suburban areas to learn to ski, socialize with kids from different socio-economic groups, and make life long friends as well as learn some life lessons.

    Skiing was always expensive, but now, it’s just for rich people now. (Save for dedicated “dirtbags” and locals. (who are being priced out of existence) Yvon Chouinard is probably most qualified to be called the patron saint of dirtbags) You can lie to yourself but it is only those of us with the means who can afford to do this now. It’s an elitist sport.

    There is a touch of fall in the air today in New England. Women’s World Cup tickets at Killington would have gone on sale the day before yesterday if not for Covid. I am without a doubt anticipating ski season but I will be spending more and more time earning my turns. I just can’t in good conscience do otherwise.

    I will eat and shop at the same businesses I always have on my way to ski. My money will go there, where it will have more impact.

    See you this winter, most likely in the trees if mother nature has it in her good grace to provide us with such beauty.

  3. Let me put aside the politics and examine if POW should be finger waving.

    POW is part of the effort to greenwash industrial tourism. Mario knows industrial tourism is all about wasting natural resources for pleasure. Companies like the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort hide behind POW logos in their green marketing.

    Ask Aspen Ski Corp’s director of sustainability about the greening of corporate America. He’ll tell you it is phony baloney.

    You can’t promote industrial tourism like POW does and claim to be helping the environment.. Doing so is like saying a coal mine which is mining of dirty coal is “green” and “sustainable” because the mine uses wind power to run air conditioning in administration offices.

    POW’s Jeremy Jones is the poster boy for dirty emissions every time he hops in a helicopter to shred.

    Please.

    1. Brilliant comment!

      In addition, the climate change discussion has to get real. Virtue signaling actions that don’t make much difference are actually extremely harmful to a society that needs to be prosperous in order to be free, and in order to develop the technologies that may actually make a significant difference in the climate change problem. I don’t have much patience for trojan horse socialism. Let’s go full speed on Gen IV nuclear and on then on fusion. Seems much more cost effective.