Patagonia's current Snow catalogue

Patagonia’s current Snow catalogue

Having already sponsored the Jumbo Wild film, international apparel company Patagonia Inc. has notched up its campaign against the planned Jumbo Glacier Resort by dedicating its entire winter snow catalogue and significant portions of its alpine catalogue to the issue.

Patagonia director of environmental campaigns advocacy Hans Cole told the Pioneer the company’s Jumbo Wild campaign (including the catalogues and the film) are part of its New Localism program, and are a continuation of the support in the form of environmental grants Patagonia has given to local environment group (and longstanding Jumbo opponent) Wildsight in the past.

Patagonia has a 30 year history of getting involved in environmental issues. It’s part of the DNA of our company. We started as a company of climbers, surfers and skiers, and we still are. It’s hard not to fall in love with places where you do these activities, and with that comes a responsibility to try to protect them, said Mr. Cole. The New Localism program is just the latest evolution of this ethic.

Mr. Cole added the New Localism program involves Patagonia partnering with local organizations on specific issues (in the case of the Jumbo issue that local partner is Wildsight).

It’s (Jumbo) not a new issue for us. We’ve been aware of efforts to stop development in the Jumbo Valley for a while now, he said, pointing to the environmental grants Patagonia has given Wildsight. So we knew the issue, we knew the place, we knew some of the people. We were inspired by the story, by the environmental and cultural values of the Jumbo Valley, and we have a local athlete ambassador Leah Evans with a strong connection to the place. All those pieces came together and made us want to be even more involved (in the Jumbo issue) than we already were. We talked with Wildsight about what we could bring to the campaign, and came away feeling that we, as a company, could add a global audience. Using the tool of film and our international reach we felt we could bring a lot more attention to the issue.

And the snow catalogue and alpine catalogue certainly have brought the Jumbo valley to the attention of many new eyes exact distribution numbers for the two were unavailable, but the combined reach is potentially more than a million people.

What we try to do in our catalogue is break the mold of just using it as a place to sell products. We also try to showcase our whole brand, which for us includes a strong ethic to protect wild places around the world, said Mr. Cole, adding the company has had a good response so far to catalogues as well as to the Jumbo Wild film.

With the film we sold out all the initial screening, so in that respect it’s been well-received. It’s been similar with the catalogues, we have had people writing in to us, commenting on the complexity of this kind of story and how it forces them to think about what the future of a place should look like and how to balance that against economics and access to recreation. It’s been a positive response, he said.

Patagonia’s involvement in the Jumbo issue is far from over, according to Mr. Cole.

This the kind of issue that needs continued attention. We’re certainly not going to be dropping the issue here and we’ll definitely come back with more efforts around this. We’ll be flexible and looking for positive ways to go forward and our efforts (on Jumbo) could take all kinds of forms, he said, adding that could mean more grants, more communication efforts (such as the film and catalogues), more promotion of the Jumbo Wild petition, or something else.

In terms of an ultimate outcome, as in other New Localism campaigns, Patagonia’s aim is to help secure some kind of protection for Jumbo, according to Mr. Cole.

So far it’s been all about stopping development, and I should make clear that Patagonia is not against ski resorts, we’re just saying the environmental and cultural values are too high for one in the Jumbo Valley. From what we understand resort developer are going to come back with a smaller resort plan. So stopping development will have to continue to be a goal. But at the same time what we’d really like to see is permanent protection for that place, he said. We would look to local people, First Nations, Wildsight and other groups to decide what that protection should be. We don’t want to come in and say ‘this is what protection should look like’. However we do feel we should move past ‘let’s stop this development’ and instead starting looking at what a positive, protected future for the Jumbo Valley could look like.

Please see next week’s edition for more on Patagonia’s involvement in the Jumbo issue, including comments from snow catalogue writer Mike Berard, and Phedias Project Management Corp. president Oberto Oberti’s letter in response to the Jumbo Wild film and his comments on protection in the Jumbo area.