Posts Tagged ‘ski’


“No snow.  No ski.” asserts the Soul Poles website.  The company, based in Utah, makes ski poles out of bamboo and knows all to well the impact that global warming is having on the levels of alpine snow. Acknowledging the fact that climate change directly influences the success of their business, Soul Poles has committed itself to being as environmentally responsible as possible.  Founded by former members of the U.S. Ski Team racers, the equipment is fashioned by hand in the United States, helping to create local jobs and and curb emissions that contribute to the rise of greenhouse gasses.

Poles are available in models suited for both skiing and trekking.  Fabricated using bamboo, recycled plastics, and recycled aluminum they are available in a natural finish or customized colors that use a low VOC water-based paint and clear coat.  Sturdy and attractive, the body of the pole is 100% biodegradable. Ranging from $110-350, Soul Poles are a fantastic alternative to non-recyclable synthetic materials.

In an effort to help the ski and snowboard industry become a little more green, Soul Poles has partnered with Recycle Utah to educate consumers on how to safely dispose of their unwanted gear.  The company is also a member of 1% for the Planet, a non-profit that contributes a portion of total revenue to environmental organizations.  Soul Poles also partners with World Cup Dreams, a group that assists winter sports athletes to achieve their goals as professional competitors, and Protect Our Winters which focuses on uniting and engaging the global snow sports community.

For those of us who enjoy snow and ocean sports, riding on a board or a pair of skis means having the health of the environment riding on our conscience. Much of the traditional equipment utilizes toxic materials in the constructing, shaping and finishing processes.  The fiberglass, epoxy resins, plastic, foam, wood,  steel and aluminum that propels us down the mountain or along the waves is difficult to recycle, nearly impossible to separate once constructed, and overly demanding on natural resources, landfill space, and energy consumption.

What is a nature-loving thrill seeker to do? Luckily, there is now an emerging organic and sustainable sports market that specializes in reducing outdoor recreation’s environmental footprint.  Blogs such as Snowboard Green, Shifting Tides and Sustainability in Action Sports post regular updates concerning the progress of the industry’s movements towards a healthier future.

From fast growing grasses such as bamboo and paulownia, to hemp, flax, and recycled hardwood, manufacturers are beginning to make more eco-friendly boards and skis from vegetable-based, sustainable materials.  Surf and snowboard companies Arbor and Venture use farmed or salvaged wood, recycled poly-ethylene fill and bamboo cores for their merchandise.  Liberty Skis also employs bamboo in its products as does German-based Grown.  Grown, along with New Zealand’s Kingswood, are the first companies to claim fully carbon neutral skis.

Some of these brands travel the extra mile by reclaiming their scraps, harnessing wind power to operate their facilities, and shipping factory direct in order to offset transportation pollution.  Even the larger, more established brands are beginning to jump on the green bandwagon.  Salomon and Volkl offer ski and snowboard lines featuring bamboo cores and snow industry giant, Head has begun a charity to protect South American rainforests to offset its carbon emissions.

For a comprehensive list of environmentally friendly winter gear, check out Stray’s guide for Winter 2010-2011.  Surfers should take a look at The Greener Blue for blog posts and links to featured products.

Through a little enlightened thinking, awareness and conservation-minded practice, it is possible to enjoy the full force of outdoors without leaving a negative impact.  Through supporting those businesses who value nature as we do, we can ensure an enriching experience within our landscapes while promoting businesses with the health of the planet in mind.  We’re on board!  Are you?

(Bambu Batu is proud to be an authorized dealer of American-made Bamboo apparel from Arbor.)