Sunday, November 6, 2011

Genetically Modified...Snow?

On cold morning rides up the Snowdon Triple, my teammates and I would create an imaginary scenario where snow would fall when it was 70 degrees and skiing could be a year round sport.
During my run this morning, a strange and new thought popped into my head. Is the snow we are skiing on now actually similar to the GMO foods that so populate our grocery stores? Could man-made and maintained snow actually be a genetically modified version of the same thing?
When snow is made, the supervisor in the control room determines the ratio of water to air. So I was wondering if this would somehow count as modifing the genetic makeup of the snow. Then, when the groomer rolls out the corduroy, it heats up the molucules and further alters them from their original form.
I mean, we all notice it. The difference between man-made and natural snow. We can feel minute - and morre drastic - changes underneath our skis. One run down spillway after a sour gun shoots sticky yellow "snow" all over it knows how different the product can be from the real thing.
And when I worked for the corporation, that is just what they called it. The Product. An unarticulated designation of manmade snow as something that was created, marketed, sold & owned. That's right, snow that is owned.
That's right. Snow that is owned.
This is what got me thinking about genetically modified snow (GMS).
It reminded me of the case in Canada where a Monsanto type company sued a neighboring farmer for stealing their GMO corn seed because the wind had blown it onto his land. I found this to be similar to when the corporation would work enthusiasticly to keep those of us earning our turns off of "The Product" during the early days of October but it was no holds barred when mother nature provided us with a big powder dump.
So what does this mean? Will we see amusement parks with summertime skiing sometime in the future? Snowmaking and maintenance have already raised ticket prices astronomically - but at the same time, we wouldn't be skiing today if it wasn't for our snowmakers. For those of us who try to be GMO Free, are we hypocrits for enjoying turns on the mad-made snow?
Whatever surface you choose to ski upon - natural or mad-made,
May You Find the Spirit of the Mountains Within You,



  1. Hmmm. Interesting concept. I ski in the west, where manmade isn't nearly as big of a deal. It only creates a base, if anything, that allows us to ski earlier. But in the east, where you all are connoisseurs of manmade snow, it really is the product being sold.