In a global climate crisis, we must let go of Harris Hill Ski Jump

BELLOWS FALLS — The Harris Hill Ski Jump Competition needs to become a fond memory of the past - a memory of Vermont when we had enough snow in the winter to cover the jump and the target zone. When people had to bundle up to be spectators, oohing and ahhing at the amazing feat of those bold athletes flying through the air at 60 mph and managing to land safely.

In this time of a global climate crisis, making snow for a dying sport should be weighed against restoring our water cycle for basic needs like food and drinking water.

Carbon pollution is killing people. For example, the World Health Organization recently reported that in 2022 more than 15,000 people died from climate-caused heat waves. That doesn't count people who died in hurricanes, fires, and floods. We need to balance human health against the privilege of competitors from places like Norway and Alaska clocking air miles to come to Vermont for ski jumping.

All of us can feel awestruck by the steep slope of the Olympic ski jump structure. In the past, I climbed to the top and looked down that scary, steep slope. The breathtaking angle replicates how steep the decrease of carbon dioxide emissions curve looks for humanity to reach net zero by 2050 - that is, if we start today.

As a society, we need to make big changes very quickly in order to re-establish a livable environment for all life on the planet, including humans. One relatively easy place to start is by deciding that events like our beloved Harris Hill Ski Jump Competition are now things of the past. It was a good 101-year run.

We have to let it go.

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