The next great war

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a pair of local events focused on climate change. In Tupper Lake, The Wild Center hosted the second annual, Youth Climate Summit, an event that drew students from a wide range of high schools and colleges from across the Adirondacks and New York state to tackle the issue of climate change.

On Friday, I joined an interesting consortium of concerned individuals at the Whiteface Mountain Ski Area for Wintergreen: A conversation about the future of winter recreation, sports and culture in the Adirondacks.

A highlight at both events was the participation of a delegation visiting from Finland. The Finns, similar to Adirondackers, are a culture that comes from a land of ice and snow. As such, the Finns are experiencing many of the same issues that we must confront, including the economics of retaining their winter pleasures.

Ted Blazer, CEO of the Olympic Regional Development Authority in Lake Placid, detailed the energy costs involved in making snow for the ski centers and for keeping ice on the refrigerated bobsled track, which has become essentially a "track in a tube", shielded from the sun.

The Finns have developed a similar "winter respite" so that the country's population will be able to enjoy Nordic skiing, even when Mother Nature can no longer cooperate.

Mikko Myllykoski, a director at The Finnish Science Center at Heureka, captured the audience with a presentation about the resort of Vuokatti, home to the longest ski-tunnel in Europe, which operates throughout the year. Thousands of skiers use its 1,210-meter route for training and pleasure.

Although there remain a fair number of global warming skeptics out there, any doubters are welcome to visit me in hunting camp, where t-shirts and cotton pants have replaced the long johns and Malone woolies of the past. It appears Adirondack hunters will experience another complete deer season, without a decent week of tracking snow.

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