From Wooden Skis to Climate Change: A Look at the Evolution of Skiing in North America

Delve into the ski bum lifestyle with "Powder Days" as Fox explores the quirks of ski culture, from duct-taped gear to ramen dinners. Embrace the challenges and camaraderie of the mountain - a world like no other!

From Wooden Skis to Climate Change: A Look at the Evolution of Skiing in North America
Photo by Nicole Geri / Unsplash

Skiing and snowboarding are beloved winter sports enjoyed by many, but have you ever stopped to consider the quirks and idiosyncrasies of the ski bum lifestyle? In his book "Powder Days: Ski Bums, Ski Towns and the Future of Chasing Snow", author Porter Fox takes a deep dive into the fascinating world of ski culture and the unique characters who inhabit it.

Picture this: you're cruising down the mountain, fresh powder spraying in your wake, feeling like a total badass. Then you see them - the ski bums. These guys are the real deal, decked out in decades-old gear and sporting a devil-may-care attitude that can only be earned after years of living the ski bum lifestyle. They'll be the ones ripping down the mountain on wooden skis, or carving turns on a snowboard held together with duct tape. But hey, if it works, it works!

Ski towns are another world entirely, with their own set of rules and customs. Forget about your fancy coffee shops and organic juice bars - in a ski town, the only thing that matters is where you can get the best après ski beer. And let's not forget about the ski bums themselves, who seem to exist in a perpetual state of ski-induced bliss. They'll be the ones sleeping in their cars in the resort parking lot, subsisting on ramen noodles and hot cocoa. But who needs a fancy hotel room when you have the great outdoors?

Of course, skiing and snowboarding aren't without their challenges. There's the constant struggle to keep your goggles from fogging up, the battle to keep your fingers and toes warm in sub-zero temperatures, and let's not forget about the dreaded ski lift malfunction. And who hasn't experienced the humiliation of falling off the lift in front of a crowd of onlookers? But for those who truly love skiing and snowboarding, these challenges are just part of the fun.

Despite the challenges, skiing and snowboarding remain some of the most exhilarating and rewarding winter sports out there. And for those who embrace the ski bum lifestyle, there's no greater joy than the freedom of the mountain and the camaraderie of fellow ski bums. So the next time you hit the slopes, take a moment to appreciate the quirky, colourful world of skiing and snowboarding - it's a world like no other.


In her book "Powder Days: Ski Bums, Ski Towns and the Future of Chasing Snow", author and journalist Porter Fox explore the culture and lifestyle of skiing, as well as the impacts of climate change on the winter sports industry. Fox draws on his own experiences as a ski bum and interviews industry experts and environmentalists to offer insights on the future of skiing and snowboarding.

The book begins with a nostalgic look at the origins of skiing in the early 20th century when it was primarily a European pastime for the wealthy. Fox then shifts his focus to the rise of skiing in North America, where it evolved into a sport accessible to the masses. He explores the culture of ski towns, where the ski bum lifestyle has become an iconic part of the skiing experience.

However, the book also highlights the challenges facing the skiing industry in the face of climate change. Fox notes that warmer temperatures and changing precipitation patterns are reducing the length of ski seasons and affecting the quality of snow. He cites examples of ski resorts that have struggled to stay open in recent years due to lack of snow and notes that many resorts have had to rely on artificial snowmaking to compensate for the lack of natural snow.

Fox also examines the environmental impacts of ski resorts, including habitat destruction, water consumption, and carbon emissions from transportation and energy use. He discusses efforts by some ski resorts to reduce their environmental impact, such as using renewable energy sources and implementing conservation measures.

The book concludes with a discussion of the future of skiing and snowboarding. Fox notes that while climate change poses significant challenges for the industry, there are also opportunities for innovation and adaptation. He highlights the importance of reducing carbon emissions and transitioning to renewable energy sources, as well as developing new technologies and practices to reduce water consumption and waste.

Overall, "Powder Days" offers an insightful look at the culture of skiing and snowboarding, as well as the challenges and opportunities facing the industry in the context of climate change. It is a thought-provoking read for anyone interested in winter sports, environmentalism, or the intersection of culture and sustainability.


There is an interesting fact about "Powder Days: Ski Bums, Ski Towns and the Future of Chasing Snow"! Author Porter Fox spent five years travelling around North America to research and write the book. During that time, he visited more than 40 ski resorts and interviewed dozens of ski industry experts, environmentalists, and ski bums. Fox's dedication to the project was so strong that he even moved his family to a ski town in Vermont for winter to fully immerse himself in the ski bum lifestyle and gain a deeper understanding of the culture. Overall, Fox's dedication and passion for the topic shine through in the book, making it an engaging and informative read for anyone interested in skiing, snowboarding, and the impact of climate change on winter sports.