Here’s how Nikolai Schirmer explains The Endless Winter project to people he meets on the bus:
“It’s an experiment to see whether it’s possible for me, a pro skier, to ski better and produce better ski films while lowering my emissions from 40 tonnes of CO2 per year to 12 (which is the Norwegian average). It’s like the film Super Size Me, just for carbon — not fast carbs.”
What Awayco loves most about this series — besides the great skiing, heartfelt friendships and smart editing — is it takes a potentially depressing topic and makes it inspiring. No guilt, just motivation. Chapter 3 just went live, but for the whole experience, we suggest you watch them in succession. It’s better than Succession.
To celebrate the completion of this project, we’re offering you 25% off your next Awayco snow booking when you use the code ECONIKO25 at checkout. Enjoy!
AWAYCO: What did you think you were going to learn when you started?
NIKOLAI: Where my emissions as a skier were coming from, and how necessary they were for my skiing.
What did you actually learn?
That most of my emissions came from traveling, and that I could easily slash them while still getting amazing skiing in by just hanging around Europe.
Is “staying local” a trend you think we’re going to see more of from professional athletes?
Staying local is great, but I want to point out the fact that it’s the emissions from traveling that’s a problem, not the traveling per se. You can still travel without emitting tons of carbon. Get an electric car next time you upgrade your vehicle. Buy green power for it. Get a biodiesel truck. Take the train. My friends just took the Trans-Siberian railway across Asia to ski powder in Japan. If you actually love traveling, not the wave or mountain that you get to at the end of your journey, one could argue that moving slower gives you more time to do what you love. Personally I’ve come to realize I’m not too fond of traveling, I’m in it for the mountain or wave, and I don’t need to fly intercontinentally to get those.
That said, the day I can get myself to Japan without melting all the snow there and submerging a few Polynesian island communities, I’ll be the first to board that hydrogen / electric / nuclear / futurepower jet. I’m an optimist. The future is bright!
Climate change — how do we fix it?
We have to completely stop emitting carbon to not be in big trouble. There is zero controversy here. Read as many of the 4,000+ peer reviewed articles that take a stand on whether humans cause global warming and you’ll find the same answer in 97-100 percent of them, depending on your method for analysis. We should’ve stopped emitting carbon yesterday. So the question you should ask yourself isn’t, “Should I stop traveling?” but rather, “How can I live the life that I love without ruining the one thing I depend on to live that life?” You can’t travel to a Pacific surf paradise that’s submerged. You can’t travel to ski snow that’s falling as rain.
What were your annual emissions when you started this project? What were they at the end?
My annual emissions when I started this project was 40 tonnes a year. Now they are 12, and I’m still working to reduce that further. Miikka Hast, who you’ll meet in Endless Winter Chapter Three, is down to 5 tonnes a year.
What do you think about this initiative by SeaTrees, where you pay to offset your travel by planting carbon-eating vegetation? Legit?
Carbon offsets are great, I buy tons, and SeaTrees is a good option! It’s impossible to do anything right now without having some emissions, and doing stuff is what makes life awesome (life’s meant to be awesome). Buying carbon offsets is a good way to leave a positive handprint on the world instead of a negative footprint, while we wait for that eco-jet. The first commercial electric flights in Norway are scheduled for 2025.