The other night, on Netflix, we watched “David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet.” Sir David, 94 (93 when he narrated the film), is the British naturalist/broadcaster who has been filming and educating the broader public about the natural world since the 1950s. 

“A Life on Our Planet” is an incredibly beautiful visual statement. Sir David talks  about and shows an abundance of lifeforms and discusses how accelerated natural resource destruction is rapidly leading to an ecosystem that, eventually, will no longer sustain human life. 

Referring to the film as a “witness statement,” he presents both beauty and destruction and, with calm and reassurance, explains what we can do to bring Earth back to a state that will sustain all animal life – humans included – for future generations.

Why am I calling this important film to your attention?

As people of a certain age, who love being outdoors, I expect you appreciate the fragility of our ecosystem. Overactive smokestacks. Rainforest destruction. Increasingly violent storms. Dying coral reefs. Depleted ocean life. Melting glaciers. Diminishing polar caps. These and other harbingers don’t bode well for the future.

I know many among us whose interest in short term pleasures limit their thinking to their own lifespans. We lived through what we were handed. Future generations will do the same.

I view it differently. We live longer and better because of industrial progress. But nature and humankind is now out of balance. The relationship must be adjusted in order for life on Earth to be protected.

As skiers we’re beginning to experience the results. Fifteen or 20 years ago I read a study indicating that by 2030, natural snow in Park City would allow only the top half of the mountain to be skied. I think it will take longer. Another sign of unreliable conditions: snow making everywhere. including at the top of Sun Valley.

We don’t need to worry about skiing during our lifetimes. And our children probably will be fine. It’s the future generations we need to think about.

John Donne published “No man is an island,” in 1624. Over the years I’ve come to understand it as a meditation on our interconnectedness, both as humans and as pixels in the larger picture. It’s reproduced below. But for those who remember the poem, it’s important to recall the final words: “…never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

No man is an island entire of itself; every man 

is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; 

if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe 

is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as 

well as any manner of thy friends or of thine 

own were; any man’s death diminishes me, 

because I am involved in mankind. 

And therefore never send to know for whom 

the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. 

Don’t Be The Reason We Can’t Have A Season

A lift line, last week, in Cervina, Italy. Not too much social distancing.

“Don’t be the reason we can’t have a season,” is the guidance from Paul Pinchbeck, head of the Canadian Ski Council. Last week, he and other ski industry representatives participated in a Zoom media briefing organized by the North American Snowsports Journalists Association. That clever rhyme captures a sense throughout the industry that responsible behavior — social distancing, wearing masks, etc. — will help areas remain open. Irresponsible behavior already has forced Cervina, in Italy, to close. That decision was quickly followed by Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte announcing that all of the nation’s ski areas, as well as gyms, pools and movie theaters would be closed until Nov. 14. 

Among other US locations, concerns about complying with public health regulations are surfacing in Summit County, Colorado. Alan Henceroth, Arapahoe Basin’s COO, recently blogged about the sharp increase in cases across the county. He attributes them to “…socialization – an evening party, drinks after work, hanging too close with too many people. Many of the transmissions have occurred in the late evening, after partying, when peoples’ guards are down.” He warns that if it doesn’t get better, among other things, it will hamper the ability to ski.

Some states have a more laissez faire attitude and, most likely won’t do anything to close their areas. Utah, I expect, is one. But, as this week’s Question For You asks, what will happen if an area’s core operating group catches the ‘rona? 

Certainly, après ski carousing does not apply to senior skiers ;>)

P.S. Wednesday, in an effort to halt Covid, France and Germany announced ski resorts would be closed until the beginning of December. 


That, according to the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) was the number of ski areas last season, in the United States. Of the 37 states with areas, New York has the most (51). Next is Michigan (40), followed by Colorado and Wisconsin (31, each).  Click here to see entire state-by-state list of areas.

James Taylor: American Standard

Like many of you,, I started lsitening to James Taylor in the later 60s and kept on listening for the next decade or so. His style always brings back long winter drives to Killington and Stowe and sweaty summers as a single in Manhattan. Earlier this year, he released his American Standard album. Not to be confused with the plumbing fixture company, American Standards (aka The American Songbook) usually is interpreted as popular tunes from the 1920s through the 1950s. Think Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Tony Bennet, and the many others from that rich and wonderful musical era. Now James Taylor applies his special genius to the genre. It’s wonderful listening. Click on the image above to hear and learn more.  


Peak Obsession Trailer

Jeremy Jones is the founder of Jones Snowboards and creator of some very interesting film projects. In this half-hour film, he documents a few of the ascents/descents  he is attempting in his quest to climb and ride each of the lines in 50 lines chronicled in the book, “The Fifty Classic Ski Descents of North America“.

A Friend…

I have a skier friend experiencing debilitating side effects from a chemotherapy-related process to boost her bone marrow. She’s a fine skier with a great mind and intelligent sense of humor. She emailed to describe what she’s going through. It’s not pleasant, but she’s among a handful of people I know who has the grit to get through it. Her experience is a sharp reminder of how fortunate it is simply to get through our days in comfort and good health and to appreciate what we have…as long as we have it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *