Going green in the snow

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Some Minnesotans wait for June and July’s warmer days, but many of us like to play in the snow. We have plenty of cross country and snowshoe trails, along with a lot of great ice fishing lakes. Depending on which part of the state you live, some of these places take a little bit of a drive.

This brings up an interesting issue of being green while you’re playing in the white stuff. Our partners at the Center for American Progress (CAP) recently explored this issue.

“The winter sports industry is in an awkward position: Large ski and snowboard resorts use large amounts of energy and release high levels of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in order to keep their resorts running smoothly, yet those same actions come back to haunt them.”

While Minnesota isn’t known for major ski resorts, we have a robust winter tourism industry. Here are three strategies CAP suggests for greening your winter recreation:

Green gear – Ski and board clothes, too, come from sustainable sources. Check out these companies that use organic cotton: Klattermusen and Mountain Equipment Co-op. If you are into fashion of the future, this solar-powered LED ski jacket could come in handy when it hits the market.

Green resorts – Make sure to do your research about the environmentally friendly practices of resorts on your list… For a full list of the top seven green ski destinations in the United States, see here.

Green transportation – If you’re headed to one of the recreational areas in Twin Cities, think about public transportation. For longer trips, try to carpool.

It’s tough to think about global warming on some of Minnesota’s five and 10 degree days but between greater dependence on cars and heating sources, these are the times when we are potentially doing some serious harm to the environment.