Protect Our Winters is a nonprofit that was founded by professional snowboarder Jeremy Jones in 2007. Since its launch, POW has become the go-to outdoor industry climate action organization with over 130,000 members and notable brand partners, including Patagonia, REI, The North Face, Clif, and more. The organization recently rebranded to POW in order to include climbers, runners, fly fishers, and now—with the official launch of POW Bike—cyclists!
The POW Bike Alliance consists of world champion racers, Olympians, and legends, including Rebecca Rusch, Dillon Osleger, Serena Gordon, Peter Stetina, Ted King, Hannah Bergemann, and many more. But the Alliance doesn't stop there; major bike brands like Camelbak and Wild Rye are hopping on the Earth-saving bandwagon to promote POW and its heavy push on political advocacy.
"Immersion in nature is the single constant throughout my entire life," says Rebecca Rusch, "as a kid camping and hiking in national parks and now as a professional athlete and explorer. Warming temperatures and increased fire activity have unfortunately been a progressive gauge of climate change in my backyard and our impact worldwide. The place we call home and where I feel most at home is in danger of extinction."
It’s estimated that over 50 million people in the United States ride bikes, and until now there hasn't been an overarching organization within the cycling industry dedicated solely to climate activism, advocacy, and education. While it may be more obvious to skiers and snowboarders that their winters are getting shorter and warmer, cyclists are also losing days in the saddle due to extreme heat waves and devastating wildfires. According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, over 58,000 wildfires burned over 7.1 million acres of land across the United States in 2021.
Just after the final award ceremony of the tenth anniversary of Rebecca's Private Idaho, Rebecca and her husband, Greg, both professional firefighters in Ketchum and Sun Valley, had to rush out of the city to save their community in Smiley Creek from the Ross Fork fire. Started by lightning, this fire has burned over 28,000 acres, including many locally-loved trails for biking, hiking, and recreating.
"Without pause, Greg and I quickly exchanged our event support uniforms for firefighter gear. The blaze was bearing down on our neighborhood with very few resources in place for protection," Rusch wrote in a recent blog post about the fire.
While it may seem like there is nothing one individual can do to help this seemingly overwhelming climate crisis, POW makes it easy to join the fight. Through its Stoke the Vote initiative, POW invites all outdoor recreationalists to update their voter registration and turn up at the polls for this year's midterm elections. Not sure who or what to vote for? Subscribe to POW's newsletter for all the important information you need to help Mother Earth succeed.