Protecting the Environment and Our Winters: Sustainable Strategies for Our Events

In our latest blog post “3 Tips to Optimize Winter Event Production,” we discussed the challenges associated with outdoor event production during the cold season. After a winter season filled with challenges brought by Mother Nature, it’s crucial to address the close link between event organization and climate change. This is a topic that warranted an article of its own.

The question we must ask ourselves, as an organization, is how to limit our footprint?

As an event production company specializing in outdoor sports across Canada and the United States, climate change has profoundly impacted our operations. We’ve had to deal with challenges stemming from unpredictable weather patterns, shorter winter seasons, extreme heat waves, and increased forest fire risks. This has made event planning and execution more challenging on multiple levels.

  • How do climate change affect the ability to plan, organize, or execute sports events?
  • How can sports be a catalyst for change in combating climate change?

Major sports events are celebratory occasions that bring together large crowds, often with a significant carbon footprint. Air travel, infrastructure construction, sports equipment manufacturing, and participant-generated waste all have environmental impacts.

The Climate Crisis and the Ski and Snowboard Industry

According to a study by POW Canada and the University of Waterloo, the economic impact of climate change on the ski industry in the United States reveals staggering financial losses of $55 billion. They emphasize that the future of this industry depends on policies and actions taken to reduce emissions, as ski seasons shorten and snowmaking costs rise, resulting in estimated national economic losses of $252 million per year.

This winter, numerous ski and snowboard events worldwide were canceled due to unreliable snowfall. Athletes train hard year-round for these competitions, but cancellations have become the norm. This is just one example, highlighting the consequences of ongoing snowpack decline that extend beyond winter sports, impacting people and global ecosystems.

According to a 2022 study, half of the former Winter Olympic host cities may be unable to host Winter Games by 2050 due to snow and ice shortages.

Preserving our playgrounds is a priority. That’s why implementing sustainable practices that promote resource reuse and responsible management is crucial.

Positive Influence in Climate Action Promotion

Athletes are influential role models who can use their platforms to advocate for environmental causes and inspire others to adopt sustainable practices.

Indeed, sports have an extremely wide social platform and geographical reach. They can play a key role in raising awareness, influencing behavior, changing attitudes toward climate action, and implementing solutions.

Protect Our Winters shared a video on Instagram featuring Jeremy Jones, a pro snowboarder, for a Strava challenge. Their “Every Day is Earth Day” initiative encourages 250 minutes of outdoor activity until April 22. As a reward, prizes worth $900 from brands like Arc’teryx are offered. This strategy showcases how POW utilizes influencers like Jones to mobilize the public in the fight against climate change with tangible actions and attractive rewards.

Ecological Practices in Winter Resource Management

Through initiatives such as carbon offsetting, renewable energy partnerships, and eco-responsible venue operations, sports organizations can lead by example and encourage sports communities to make environmentally friendly choices.

In our events, we strive to minimize snow usage as much as possible. For example, instead of creating start platforms using exclusively snow, consider investing in sustainable alternatives like scaffolding or containers. This practice not only reduces the ecological footprint but can also yield long-term savings.

Investing in technologies like ProSlope can also be a solution to minimize snow usage while providing a quality experience for participants. This can be seen, for example, at Adrénaline Urbaine in Trois-Rivières with their year-round snowpark.

Moreover, in some situations, it’s possible to produce the required snow for the event on-site. By producing locally, you significantly reduce carbon emissions associated with transporting large quantities of snow over long distances! Producing snow on-site allows you to control the quality and quantity of snow used, contributing to more efficient natural resource use and sustainable water management. Reduce-Reuse-Recycle!

“At our Glissades Gamelin event, a unique urban sliding station in the heart of the entertainment district from January to March, we produced snow on-site, allowing us to better control the quantity of snow produced, and in an effort to be as eco-friendly as possible, we avoided truck transportation.” – Sandrine Kerignard, Production Coordinator

Promoting snow recycling before and after the event is also feasible. You can consider donating the snow used during the event to initiatives where it can be reused. After our APIK event, we donated the used snow to TV filming sets. This extends the snow’s lifespan and reduces the amount of waste generated by the event!


Voir cette publication sur Instagram


Une publication partagée par APIK (@apikfest)

Integrating Good Production Practices

Here are some common practices that are always good to remember to promote more eco-friendly event production:

  • Opt for reusable and durable materials for temporary infrastructure construction, such as stands, tents, or stages. This reduces waste and the need for reconstruction each time.
  • Encourage the use of reusable dishes and glasses during catering and beverage services to reduce the amount of single-use plastic waste.
  • Incorporate selective sorting and composting stations during the event to encourage proper recycling and reduce waste sent to landfills.
  • Limit the use of printed documents by favoring digital communications for programs, invitations, and relevant event information.
  • Encourage sustainable travel by offering incentives to participants using public transportation, carpooling, or electric vehicles.
  • Collaborate with suppliers and sponsors committed to sustainable practices, from manufacturing environmentally friendly products to carbon offsetting their activities.
  • Carefully plan the energy management during the event by using renewable energy sources whenever possible and optimizing lighting, air conditioning, or heating to minimize electricity consumption.
  • Raise awareness and educate participants, volunteers, and staff about the importance of reducing the event’s ecological footprint and the actions they can take to contribute to this cause.

These simple yet effective practices can have a significant impact on the sustainability of your events while inspiring others to adopt environmentally friendly behaviors.


Voir cette publication sur Instagram


Une publication partagée par APIK (@apikfest)

In conclusion, the need to take action against climate change in winter event production is undeniable. The growing commitment of event organizers, athletes, sponsors, suppliers, media, governments, and other stakeholders involved in the sports and ecological initiatives domain shows that it’s possible to make a significant difference. By adopting sustainable practices and raising awareness among all these actors, we can transform the sports industry into a positive force for environmental change.

Do you have winter projects in 2025? Let’s talk about them.