- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 9, 2003

Even though their contributions are relatively insignificant, ski resorts are moving ahead with programs to cut down on heat-trapping emissions spewed into the atmosphere.

Global warming has emerged as the 21st century version of Nero fiddling while Rome burns. That imagery speaks to the way a serious — perhaps life-threatening — environmental issue can become politicized and held hostage by big business. In its small way, the tiny snow sports industry is making a statement that is not echoed by the giant energy or transportation industries — or the United States, for that matter.

The day before Halloween, the Senate was poised to vote on the first major climate change legislation to come before Congress. A bill, sponsored by Sens. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and Joseph Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, proposed cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to 2000 levels by the end of this decade.

In the face of mounting evidence that planet Earth is becoming warmer, ski resorts lobbied senators to pass the bill.

The Bush administration stridently opposed the measure, saying it would be a devastating blow to American industry to incorporate the actions necessary to bring down the level of emissions. The bill was defeated 55-43.

Faced with the potential of a disappearing product — warmer global temperatures mean less snow — the ski industry developed strategies and actions months ago that could cut down on heat-trapping emissions.

Under a “Keep Winter Cool” umbrella, the National Ski Areas Association partnered with the Natural Resources Defense Council to develop measures that some ski resorts implemented to reduce heat-trapping emissions such as carbon dioxide.

Some of the actions include wind-generated electricity to run facilities, “green building” techniques, replacement of inefficient compressors, using alternate fuels in resort vehicles and promoting car pooling by employees and use of mass transit by guests.

All told, the actions by the ski resorts wouldn’t amount to much, or reduce the level of emissions to any great extent. But some action is better than no action when glaciers are receding, polar ice is melting and snow no longer falls on the mountains.

Wisp offers Six Pack — Wisp at Deep Creek Mountain Resort, McHenry, Md., is packaging six lift tickets in its $229 Wisp Six Pack in an attempt to cater to frequent visitors, families or people who ski with a group. The six tickets are transferable, and only one ticket can be used a day until March7. After that, any number of the tickets can be used on a given day.

Wisp is also planning a family-oriented New Year’s Eve celebration, the Nestea Cool Tubin’ the Night Away New Year’s Eve Party, that will include unlimited snow tubing, barbecue dinner, live entertainment, dancing, prizes and fireworks on the slopes. Tickets are available at Wisp’s Web site. Contact: 301/387-4911 or skiwisp.com.

Thanksgiving at Canaan — Canaan Valley Resort, Davis, W.Va., has put together a Thanksgiving weekend deal that most likely will include a free lift ticket. Canaan is scheduled to open for skiing Friday, Nov.28.

The package includes three nights lodging from Nov.26 or 27, three breakfasts, Thanksgiving buffet and health club privileges for $139 a person, based on double occupancy.

If the ski area opens as scheduled, each Thanksgiving package will receive a free day lift ticket and regular ski equipment rental (not snowboard). If there is no skiing during the holiday, a coupon to ski later in the season will be issued. Contact: 800/622-4121; reservations@canaanresort.com.

Clubbing in Pennsylvania — Unlimited night skiing and snowboarding at three mountains in southern Pennsylvania is available with the Night Club Card from Liberty Mountain Resort (Carroll Valley), Ski Roundtop (Lewisberry) and Whitetail (Mercersburg).

Fifteen people are needed to create a Night Club. Each member then uses his or her card individually at any of the mountains from 4 to 10 p.m. Club leaders receive a free Night Club card for every 15 members enrolled. For 40 members, the leader will receive a season pass.

Cards range from $170 for lifts only to $270 for lift, lesson and rental. The card will be valid Jan.4 to April1, or the end of the season.

Contact: Liberty 717/642-8282, skiliberty.com; Roundtop 717/432-9631, skiroundtop.com; Whitetail 717/328-9400, ski whitetail.com.

cSnow Sports appears on Sundays in The Washington Times during the winter. Contact: bclapper@washingtontimes.com.

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