Written by Denise Deby.

The reality is that when my kids are my age, the likelihood of skiing in the Gatineau Park and in the Ottawa area is going to be pretty minimal. That hits home.” – Dirk Van Wijk

It’s hard to imagine the Ottawa-Gatineau region without the glorious snow we’ve come to rely on for cross-country and downhill skiing, sledding, snowboarding, snow fort-building, Winterlude, community winter carnivals and other recreational and sport activities.

Scientists and others whose lives and work focus on ice and snow say our winters are changing. We haven’t really come to grips with what’s happening and what we can do about it.

To explore what the earth’s warming means for our local future, Ecology Ottawa is hosting a discussion on the future of snow and skiing in a warming world, The speakers, who all have first-hand knowledge of winter conditions and how they’re changing, are:

  • Sara Renner, four-time Olympian and 2006 silver medallist in cross-country skiing (participating by video link from Canmore, AB);
  • Patrick Biggs, alpine skier, 2004-05 Canadian Slalom Champion, Olympian, and Camp Fortune Ski Club president;
  • Dr. Stephan Gruber, associate professor in Geography and Environmental Studies at Carleton University, expert in mountain environments, permafrost and climate change impacts and contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change;
  • Dirk Van Wijk, chief of grooming at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Nakkertok Ski Club groomer;
  • Renée Bellehumeur, senior manager of Visitors Services and Operations for Gatineau Park with the NCC;
  • Bob Sudermann, owner of Mont Ste-Marie ski resort and co-owner of Camp Fortune and Mount Norquay.

The Future of Snow and Skiing in a Warming World is on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 from 7:30-9 p.m. at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum. It’s free, but register at www.ecoott.ca/futureski.

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