I am up at our off-grid cabin in the Adirondacks for a few weeks. Though the drive up here is pretty carbon intensive, even in the Prius (43 pounds CO2 per person), once we are up here we can live pretty much carbon free – the cabin is wood heated and solar powered.
Saturday we took advantage of a great new backcountry ski program run by the village of North Creek – they run the town shuttle van up to the top of an old mining road ten miles and a thousand feet up from town. A series of backcountry ski trails and glades connects back to the ski area next to town. We took the van shuttle twice and made telemark turns in the powder glades until our legs turned to jelly. The van is a great deal – just five bucks for the ride up, so ten bucks gets to a full day of mostly downhill skiing.
Figuring out the greenhouse carbs of the van is more of a challenge. The easy way out is to say – well the van is going anyway so my carbon impact is zero – but that is a cop out. The most conservative way to figure it is to take the fuel consumption for the round tip (after all, the cost of deadheading the van back to town is part of the climate cost of the trip up) and dividing by the number of riders. One 20 mile round trip works out to about two gallons of gas at ten mpg, which is about 40 lbs of CO2. There were 12 skiers on the morning shuttle, but only five of us in the afternoon. This works out to about 11 lbs of CO2 per person, plus another three pounds for the round trip to town in the Prius. We went to the movies in Indian Lake Saturday night – a 15 mile drive each way, but with five people in the Prius (3 lbs CO2 per person), it hardly added to the carbon budget.
We got back to our carbon diet with a zero carbon Super Bowl Sunday! We spent most of the day skiing on the Garnet Hill groomed cross country trails right from our doorstep. In the afternoon, I cut up some down and dry branches for zero carbon heat in our cabiin.
We haven’t been to a super bowl party in years, but it seemed like a good way to connect with the crowd here in North River. When I asked our friend Julie for directions to the party at Katie and Jakes, she just assumed I was looking for directions via the ski trails. After all, there was a nice moon! So we skied up to North Acres farm in the twilight and walked the last half mile up the road. I rooted for the Falcons out of contrariness, and they lost anyway. I am told it was an unusually interesting game and unusually interesting commercials. I would agree, not that I would buy anything being advertised at the super bowl.
A few snow squalls left enough of a velvety dusting of snow to ski down the hill on Harvey Road, and the moon came out to light our way down through the woods back to the cabin, which was still warm.
Final score: Pats 34 Falcons 28 CO2 60.