Ski Area Certification
“No one will protect what they don’t care about. And no one will care about what they have never experienced.” –David Attenborough
Chances are the first whitebark pine you experienced was at a ski area in western North America. Maybe you didn’t notice that gnarly, weathered tree was a whitebark pine? Or that those silver-gray tree “skeletons” on the horizon were dead whitebark pine? The normal person may not have noticed, but maybe you did and that is why you are exploring this page!
The Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation (WPEF) is committed to educating people about the importance of whitebark pine in high-elevation ecosystems and the numerous threats this threatened tree species currently faces. What better place to do this than where many people experience whitebark pine – on a ski hill. The WPEF has created a certification program to encourage ski areas to conserve and restore whitebark pine. The Whitebark Pine Friendly Ski Area (WPFSA) certification program was launched in 2016.
The intent of this certification program is to:
- Give Recognition: Acknowledge ski and snowboard areas that are actively participating in whitebark pine conservation efforts within the western North American mountain regions.
- Promote Education: Raise awareness about whitebark pine decline and conservation actions within ski and snowboard areas. Integrate whitebark pine education into relevant programs at resorts, including nature walks, snowshoe outings, workshops, and presentations. Provide ski area managers guidance and information on how to protect whitebark pine during resort expansion plans and ski run maintenance activities.
- Increase Involvement: Offer ski/snowboard organizations and winter recreators opportunities to engage in education, restoration, or monetary support for whitebark pine conservation.
- Enhance Conservation Efforts: Support whitebark pine conservation and restoration efforts in high-elevation areas to further support snowpack preservation and encourage mountain recreation.
Assistance provided by the WPEF to ski areas seeking certification includes:
- Support and Expertise: We serve as a whitebark pine resource for ski and snowboard areas, providing input on meeting ecological objectives and implementing management activities.
- Regional Contacts: We connect ski areas with whitebark pine experts, WPEF board members, or government representatives who can assist in meeting WPFSA certification requirements.
- Informational Materials: We supply ski areas with an informational poster about the WPFSA Certification Program, an official certification plaque, and the option to purchase an interpretive sign that can be installed near ski chair lifts.
- Web Presence: We maintain a WPFSA web page on WPEF’s website that explains the certification program and includes links to the participating ski area’s website.
Do you have a favorite ski area with whitebark pine? If your favorite ski/snowboard area is not aware of the WPFSA program, please encourage them to email the Ski Area Partnership Committee.
Please explore the links below for more information on this certification program: