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Protect Our Winters Heads to DC: Athletes and Industry Leaders Hand Deliver Climate Support Letter to the White House, Visit Capitol Hill and Kick Off Collaboration with Ben and Jerry’s

November 2, 2015 | 0 Comments

On October 21 and 22, Protect Our Winters took DC by storm with a Ben and Jerry’s/New Belgium benefit concert Wednesday night followed by a full day of meetings on Capitol Hill. On Thursday, POW met with the White House environmental staff and hand delivered a letter of support for President Obama, urging him to stand strong for climate action at the COP 21 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris this December. This letter was signed by over 92 global brands, 53 resorts, 50 professional athletes and 13 snow sports trade groups and associations. It is intended to show President Obama that the snow sports community has got his back as he heads to Paris for these important negotiations with world leaders.

Read the Sign-On Letter here.

The 24-person group delivering the letter included SIA President David Ingemie, SIA Incoming President Nick Sargent, POW Executive Director Chris Steinkamp, POW Board Chairman Auden Schendler, and POW Riders Alliance members Gretchen Bleiler, Elena Hight, Brody Leven and Caroline Gleich.

Ingemie said, “It was both gratifying and impressive to see how well accepted and appreciated the efforts of Protect Our Winters were expressed by the senators and representatives, their staff, and also EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and the White House staff. All of the people we communicated with were very appreciative of the work the athletes and POW have done to communicate the climate issue beyond politics. It’s important for us to engage and encourage other countries to be as aggressive as the U.S. on the climate change issue.”

After hand delivering the sign-on letter to the White House staff, the group visited congresspeople from states that rely on snow sports and urged these representatives to support the Clean Power Plan. “The Clean Power Plan will show world leaders in Paris that our country is serious about the climate change issue, and will be a major factor in helping other countries get on board for a real agreement to reduce global emissions,” said Steinkamp. “So we need our congress people to support the Clean Power Plan and to help President Obama go in to the Paris meeting with a strong message.”

Gretchen Bleiler said she has noticed a big shift in the White House’s attention to POW in the past year, after the POW Riders alliance posted their #actonclimate photos. “EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy was so impressed with all of the photos we posted from all over the world, telling our individual stories,” Bleiler said. “After that campaign, the EPA thanked POW for their help in getting the word out about #actonclimate. Now this fall, for us to show up with this collab with Ben and Jerry’s and New Belgium, and to visit Capitol Hill to support the Clean Power Plan and deliver the letter of support to President Obama, they can see that we just keep coming back, our voices keep getting heard and our message is getting stronger every time.”

Steinkamp concluded, “We left DC with a renewed energy that our voice in this fight is important and we’re making a difference. We can’t thank this group of athletes and industry leaders enough for their commitment, energy and passion, and for traveling to DC to walk office-to-office to protect the season that means so much to all of us.”

Steinkamp also expressed gratitude for the support from all the people who attended the benfit concert at the Howard Theater on Wednesday night. “A huge thank you to Ben and Jerry’s and New Belgium Brewing for an amazing partnership and new product kick off event at the Howard Theater and for all those who came, bought tickets to support POW and took time to email your governor on-site to ask them to support the Clean Power Plan. It was a cool event and an example of how business can be such a force for good – who knew that advocacy could be so much fun?” he added.

See our full recap and photos from the Ben and Jerry’s and New Belgium benefit concert at the Howard Theater.

Join the thousands of voices from the snowsports community pushing for strong action in Paris: #‎UniteForPOW

Find out more about Protect Our Winters and learn how you can join in at

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