Science, Skiing & Dust On The Greatest Snow on Earth

Image: Riley Whitney

Author: Hilary Arens

Published Date: 03/08/2023

Read Time: 1 minute

The Great Salt Lake has been getting national attention from the New York Times and CBS News, and the environmental crises devastating the lake are affecting the snow in the Wasatch Mountains. Since 2019, Snowbird and The Nature Conservancy have partnered to invite science experts to present to our guests, employees and public on climate change and the impacts to the Greatest Snow on Earth.

This February, tempted by both science and free, fresh coffee, over 200 people gathered in Snowbird’s Cliff Ballroom to hear “Dust on Powder: Saving the Great Salt Lake and the Greatest Snow on Earth”, a co-presentation by Dr. Bonnie Baxter with the Great Salt Lake Institute and Dr. McKenzie Skiles from the University of Utah. Attendees learned that while the lake may provide a few more inches of snow during a storm, its exposed bottom (due to receding shorelines) is also causing dust events, impacting the snow and causing earlier runoff. 

Here at Snowbird, we know we are intrinsically and directly tied to what happens to the Great Salt Lake. We feel strongly that to meet our Play Forever goals, we must use our space, and our voice, to help deliver the science around these issues. Allison Palmintere, Director of Communications for Ski Utah, emphasizes the significance of “continuing to bring awareness and continuing to stress the importance” of the Great Salt Lake in a recent Deseret News article highlighting the event. In this spirit of bringing awareness, you can watch the recording of the presentation below.

About the Author

Hilary Arens is Snowbird’s Director of Sustainability and Water Resources. She has a Masters in Watershed Science from Colorado State University and worked at the Utah Division of Water Quality as the watershed coordinator for Utah Lake and Jordan River basins. Her focus at Snowbird is to help guide the resort towards reducing carbon emissions and waste, improve water and air quality in Little Cottonwood and American Fork Canyons, and provide education and advocacy opportunities to guests and employees. 

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