Written by Shannon Marie Quirk; Images by Martin Wainstein
Shredding during the summer is where its at. Nothing beats pow days in mid-August, open terrain at your disposal, and juicy steaks washed down by fine wine to cap off the evening. SASS Global Travel, a global action sports traveling company, has made it easier for the passionate enthusiast to rock Patagonia and cut-down their carbon emissions at the same time. Their featured trips to the Andes Mountain region in Argentina account for roughly 20 hours of flight time, then multiplied by every camper, coach, and pro athlete hungry for summer footage.
SGT decided to focus on their carbon impact by including their clients in the cause, partnering up with energy consultant experts, non-profit organizations, and most importantly — taking action. From greenhouses made from recycled plastic bottles donated to local schools, to biodiesel processors for a struggling recycling organization in much need of help, SGT continues to develop creative ideas in order to combat their carbon footprint. SGT’s first carbon offset project was completed this summer with funding from clients and coaches. They were able to raise enough money to install two simple solar kitchens and a heat-efficient stove in the rural Northwest desert region of Argentina, which will reduce 150 tons of CO2 over the lifetime of the installations.
Carbon offset strategies are being utilized on every SASS trip. The travel time from North America down into Los Andes region of Patagonia has come to the attention of SGT Sustainability Director and Director of Communications, Ryan Dunfee.
“We are not a “green” company – travel is one of the most carbon-intensive activities on Earth. That doesn’t mean we can’t do something about it, though.” With the help of local partners and international support, Dunfee has made a strong impact not only on the company’s carbon footprint, but also on the lives of coaches and campers that enjoy their services. By involving educational materials and activities to the camp schedule, SASS reminds skiers and snowboarders that being eco-conscious is truly a part of the sport, and our lifestyle.
Skiers and snowboarders work with snow; and without snow, we are unemployed. Not to mention the thousands of small ski towns that depend on snowfall for economic security. As Martin Wainstein, founder of Wulcon Energy, suggests, “anything we can do to slow climate change will help our winter sports to remain possible for years to come.”
Photo: Head Coach for SASS, Andrew Burns, in the Andes backcountry of Bariloche, Argentina.
In the video below, Dunfee and Wainstein talk about SGT’s first carbon offset project, which used funds raised from clients and coaches of the SGT Argentina trip in 2010 to fund two solar kitchens and a heat-efficient stove for two villages in la Puna and Jujuy, two high-desert regions in Argentina with abundant sun but little to no access to electricity or heating. The mostly indigenous inhabitants must scour the terrain for shrubs to burn for heating and cooking, contributing to climate change while increasing local desertification. SGT’s first project, done in collaboration with the Ecoandina Foundation, will offset 150 tons of CO2 over the next 20 years.