A column highlighting climate-related studies, innovations, books, cultural events and other developments from the global warming frontier.
For champion cross-country skier Jessie Diggins, becoming the first American woman to win the cross-country skiing world cup last month was the pinnacle of her career, even more than winning gold in the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. But the sport that has defined the 29-year-old’s life is changing with a warming planet. The European mountain towns that often host elite cross-country ski events are no longer guaranteed to have snow, meaning she regularly races on man-made snow. Since her rise to fame in the Olympics in 2018, Diggins has used her platform to advocate for climate action, including lobbying in Washington, D.C. with Protect Our Winters, the environmental nonprofit for which she is a board member.
Inside Climate News recently talked to Diggins about how climate change is affecting cross-country skiing. This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
How have you noticed winters changing while competing?
One place we often go is Rovaniemi, Finland, because it’s literally on the Arctic Circle, and they almost always have guaranteed snow in January because it’s so far up there, and the last time we went up there it was raining they had a small amount of snow and there were flowers blooming and green moss on the side of the trail. It was totally different than we’ve ever seen before. This is something you’d never expect to see; that was incredibly shocking.
I had a number of times where I raced on a ribbon of