The view of rolling mountains reaching toward heaven takes my breath away in both awe and sadness every day at my job. As a ski instructor at Snowshoe Mountain and winter sports enthusiast, I’ve watched the winters get warmer and the ski industry suffer. Instead of smiling and jumping in piles of snow this season, the kids I taught to ski were more often crying in the rain.
Tourism is a major part of West Virginia’s economy, generating $4.6 billion for communities, and is continuing to grow at a rapid rate. Snowshoe Mountain has been ranked the best ski resort in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast region, and I’ve talked to people who travel from all over the world to ski here. However, when the snow looks more like puddles of brown mush multiple times during the winter season from the increasing frequency of rain events, the winter tourism industry in West Virginia will drown.
Joe Manchin is not doing enough to support the large group of people of West Virginia that rely on tourism jobs for their income; in fact, he is hurting it more. By continuing to rely on the coal and natural gas industry instead of alternative energy, he is contributing to the climate change that will cause the suffering of the tourism industry in West Virginia.
It is time for Senator Manchin to keep West Virginia the “almost heaven” that it is by committing to serious climate action. I’m calling on Senator Manchin to move forward in supporting the much-needed climate provisions from the bill formerly known as Build Back Better.