Heard on the Hill

Winter athletes warn Senate Democrats: Climate change is ‘melting away’ our sports

Former New York Rangers goaltender Mike Richter among participants at Democratic panel’s hearing

Professional climber Tommy Caldwell greets Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet before a hearing of the Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis hearing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats heard Thursday from winter sports athletes and adventurers about the consequences of a warming climate on their careers and lives.

“I climb a great deal of glaciers and ice, and there is no doubt increased temperatures are melting away both my sport and my livelihood,” Caroline Gleich, a ski mountaineer and adventurer, told a hearing of the Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis.

Gleich was joined at the witness table by former New York Rangers goaltender Mike Richter, snowboarder Jeremy Jones and professional climber Tommy Caldwell.

“I hear it echoed so many times that this is a political issue. By definition, it is actually not a political issue, and it’s old, young, male, female, whatever,” Richter said of climate change concerns. “Everybody’s affected by this. It’s an equal opportunity tragedy.”

The three-time NHL All-Star is president of lighting company BrightCore Energy, and has long been an advocate for energy efficiency.

New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich was among the Democrats participating in the hearing. He talked about his own experience as a guide in Utah.

“This is a fantastic panel. My son should not be reading texts in class, but he’s very excited,” Heinrich said. “It’s not every day that he’s like, ‘I’m jealous of your job.’”

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