We are taking a pledge for Winter. It is time to Renew our Passion.
For over 50 years Skican has curated holidays for the destination skier to beautiful mountain locales. The earliest days introduced skiers from la belle province du Quebec to the Rockies in Banff, Alberta, and the small village of Whistler, BC Today, our customers move far and wide to go downhill, cross-country, or off-piste. It fills us with joy to help you ski whatever experience you desire. Laughs, food, spills or yard sales, frostbite, chair chat, après, fireside, nap – it’s all pretty great!
In the Skican virtual office, we identify as individuals with many things, as do you – but together we LOVE winter – all of it. That’s why the news today is melting our hearts in a bad way. Climate change is having a devastating impact on our snow-covered oasis’ in True North Canada and the rest of the globe. Environment Canada data shows us that the natural snow season in this country has decreased between 2 – 5 weeks since 1950. That is a lot of days we no longer have available to ski! Our warmer winters also mean a larger reliance on snow-making operations. This technology is expensive and energy-intensive and comes with its own environmental price tag.
Karen Nasmith became President of Skican in 2015 after her father (and Skican founder) Robin retired. An engineer, urban planner, and founder of an environmental not-for-profit organization in Toronto, Karen has activism in her DNA personally and professionally. The COVID-19 pandemic gave her an opportunity to revisit and renew Skican’s role in preserving winter sport, snow, and mountain slopes. Our collective role as skiers should include knowing how to travel more thoughtfully, engaging in the climate change conversation, and taking action. Climate change is everyone’s business, and we feel as a tour operator, we should be part of the solution.
Ski season 2021 onwards
Greenhouse gases contribute to climate change and are released through almost every action we take in our modern world: driving, lighting and heating our homes, farming, shopping, eating, flying... there’s that word. As a destination-holiday creator, trips with Skican often include a flight - this is a fact. Most Skican holidays include an airline flight to an awesome place - this is a fact. And it is difficult to give up awesome as we believe the pandemic has made acutely clear.
There are several greenhouse gases contributing to climate change. These include methane, nitrous oxide, and halocarbons. Most people tend to focus on the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide (CO2 – one part carbon, two parts oxygen for all you chemistry buffs!). In the context of climate change, "carbon" is commonly used as a shorthand for carbon dioxide and the benchmark gas for offsetting flight emissions.
**Beginning April 22, 2021 Skican has partnered with Less Emissions to provide the highest quality carbon offsets to reduce the environmental impact of the air portion of our ski holidays. Through Less, Canada’s first independently audited flight offset program, we can help mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions associated with air travel.
Carbon credit (offset):
A carbon offset is a way for individuals and organizations to address their environmental impact. It helps to mitigate the emissions associated with one activity (like flying) with an activity elsewhere that avoids or reduces an equivalent amount of emissions. By investing in credible, verified offsets everyone can help compensate for the pollution associated with their travel and contribute to climate change solutions (eg. buying an offset in Toronto can help prevent the release of an equivalent emission in Calgary).
Measuring offsets and the cost:
Carbon offsetting is the purchase of carbon credits, generally in an amount equivalent to the carbon emissions that your lifestyle or business has created. Skican has partnered with LESS* Emissions by Bullfrog Power, Canada’s first independently audited flight offset program to calculate carbon production for flights purchased on behalf of Skican customers. A calculator developed by LESS determines the reduction or removal of one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) from the atmosphere.
The carbon offsetting cost is embedded in the price of a trip that includes a flight. Even with the offset included a Skican trip, our packages are competitively priced, top-shelf quality with reduced environmental impact.
* About LESS — Until alternative fuels become viable, LESS Emissions helps individuals and organizations mitigate travel emissions quickly, effectively, and with the highest quality offsets available in Canada and around the world. Less is committed to providing trustworthy methods of addressing carbon emissions with high-quality offsets. The Less Difference ensures that businesses and individuals can purchase offsets with confidence, eliminating the risks inherent in purchasing low-quality offsets.
The commensurate dollar amount of *CSA Canadian offsets is determined and redirected to a renewable energy project in Canada guaranteed by LESS. Examples of projects include the Essex-Windsor Regional Landfill Gas Capture and Destruction project.
*CSA Standard-certified Canadian projects—A global standard for voluntary GHG emissions reduction projects. Follows the United Nations' CDM methodologies and enables projects located in developed countries—and therefore outside the jurisdiction of the Gold Standard CDM certification program—to meet equivalent performance standards and deliver high-quality emissions reductions.
It is true that carbon offsetting alone will not fix the climate crisis. But it is a tool that we believe can help to move us in the right direction and support a low carbon future in travel. Moving forward, we will also be working directly with our resort, hotel, transfer, car rental partners to support and enhance environmental awareness and initiatives.
** Learn more about the 5 pillars of our sustainability plan from Karen Nasmith, President of Skican here.
Lower Impact. Respectful. Proactive. Inclusive. Unapologetic.
Note: Skican is a Bullfrog powered company and has been a virtual sales organization since 2017. Bullfrog offered a renewable electricity choice to Canadians for their homes and businesses. When customers sign up, Bullfrog ensures the electricity put on the grid on your behalf is from clean, renewable sources. You eliminate your emissions footprint (no more CO2, NOx, SOx or radioactive waste) and support the development of new renewable power projects.
Thoughtful Travel Tips:
Beyond aiding the economy, travel provides important cultural, educational, and emotional connections. The ski memories bottled just at Skican alone are making us smile and sigh these pandemic days. And we want to have the opportunity to bottle more with you! We hope you feel the same way.
We believe in thoughtful travel. When we move about this planet on foot or on skis, we partake in someone else’s home/mountain community. We feel strongly that it is important to assess and address our collective impact on how we get there and what we do on-site. Carbon offsetting is a good step, but we want to continue to build on this concept of treading lightly.
- Shop local for food and drink, get to know your new neighbours
- Remember ‘Give a hoot – don’t pollute’? Ensure you reduce and recycle, just like at home
- Leave No Trace - just like a camping trip in beautiful Algonquin park!
- Pack lightly. Less luggage = fewer emissions and fewer baggage fees!
- Try to fly direct in economy class – take-off and landing uses the most energy during a flight and a smaller seat means a smaller footprint
- Take fewer, longer holidays if you can. Slow travel sounds like a great idea after we get out of this pandemic, right?
What else can you think of to help us travel thoughtfully? We’d love to hear your ideas and join the conversation. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Programs & Organizations:
- International Air Travel Industry Sustainability Program
- Air Canada Leave Less Program
- Protect Our Winters Canada
- Climate Atlas of Canada Interactive Tool to Learn about Climate Change in Canada
- Government of Canada: Government of Canada charts course for clean growth by introducing bill to legislate net-zero emissions by 2050 - Canada.ca
Ski Industry leaders in sustainability:
- Bella Coola Heliskiing
- Aspen Snowmass Environmental Commitment
- Sun Peaks Resort Eco Initiatives
- Silver Star Resort and owner POWDR’s Play Forever commitment
- Resort Municipality of Whistler
Reports & Articles:
- David Suzuki Foundation On thin ice: Winter sports and climate-change
- On the Snow Opinion: How green can skiing be?