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FIS athletes plead for climate change action

COURCHEVEL, France — On Monday, February 13, over 200 International Ski Federation (FIS) athletes signed a letter written by Austrian downhiller Julian Schütter, an ambassador for nonprofit Protect Our Winters (POW).

Among the signees were Mikaela Shiffrin, Breezy Johnson, Faye Gulini, Taylor Gold, Troy Murphy, and Ute Walker Hall. The full list of signees can be found here.

There was no immediate response from FIS.

The letter is as follows:

Our sport is endangered

Dear Mr. Eliasch, Dear FIS Council members,

As FIS athletes we are already experiencing the effects of climate change in our everyday lives and our profession. More and more often competitions have to be canceled due to extreme weather events or lack of snow. Pre-season training slopes are getting rarer and shorter every year, because glaciers are shrinking at a frightening pace. A heatwave in January brings the next lack of snow to Europe. Soon we won’t be able to produce artificial snow at some classic World Cup slopes anymore as winter temperatures rise above zero in low altitude ski resorts more frequently. The public opinion about skiing is shifting towards unjustifiability. This will also bring the industry into trouble.

Our sport is threatened existentially and urgently.

That’s why we as a winter sports community have to take the lead in the fight against climate change and make our sport climate neutral as soon as possible. To do so we need progressive organizational action. We are aware of the current sustainability efforts of FIS and rate them as insufficient.

We request the following actions by FIS:

  • FIS representatives must commit to reaching net-zero for all of FIS operations and events by 2035 or prior.
  • FIS has to create a sustainability strategy of how to achieve the 50% emissions reduction by 2030, as committed to through the UN Sports for Climate Action framework and present it to the public before the start of 2024 season.
  • FIS has to install a sustainability department that ensures that sustainability becomes a key aspect of all governance processes and operations, which must be controlled and certified by an independent organization.
  • Full transparency is needed to back up FIS‘ role as a much needed pioneer.

Attached to this letter you will find a list of actions we think are the most important and a few sources that back our statements with evidence. 

This is our most important race, let’s win it together.

Yours sincerely, FIS athletes

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