Pray for POW, hear live music and win prizes at Old Town Pub | SteamboatToday.com

Pray for POW, hear live music and win prizes at Old Town Pub

Steamboat Springs' Dan Gilchrist pulls a disappearing act in deep powder on Mount Werner.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Snow brings much more than epic powder days. It's a livelihood for this small ski town west of the Continental Divide.

"I am passionate about protecting our winters because it is our lifeline here," said Devin Doughty, event organizer for Pray for POW (Protect Our Winters). "As much as I love getting face shots in January, I love getting face shots in the Yampa River with the spring runoff."

The Pray for POW fundraising event will descend upon Ski Town USA at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Old Town Pub, featuring live music with DJ Don Viper and a variety of prizes and giveaways from local outdoor companies like Smartwool, Storm Peak Brewing Co., Ohana, Big Agnes, Honeystinger, Backdoor Sports and more.

"Bringing this event to Steamboat was to not only involve the community as a whole, but to show the community the local businesses and companies that support this cause," Doughty said.

According to membership coordinator Joe Bouchard, part of POW's mission is to engage and activate the outdoor sports community to lead the charge toward positive climate action by focusing on educational initiatives, political advocacy and community-based activism.

"This winter has started off with the least amount of snow since moving here in 2004," said Erin Kreis, Strawberry Park Elementary art teacher. “It may be climate change; it may not. But it's scary not seeing snow in December."

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Students in Kreis's art class watched a POW video, which featured messages from athletes, climate scientists and ski industry leaders and discussed the science behind the changes in winter snowpack along with what the second- through fifth-grade students could do to help.

In class, students discussed the tourism industry, kayaking, fishing, drinking water, forests and forest fires, Kreis said.

"It’s not just about snowboarding or skiing, it’s about our planet," Kreis said. "Education is key. We are educating the next generation, and I think it’s important to teach about this in school. As an art teacher, I have the freedom to incorporate science, math and environmental awareness through art. It starts at home and in school. It starts with one person wanting to make a difference."

The most recent Protect Our Winters event was held at Smartwool in 2016, which is where Doughty was introduced to the toolkits given to POW affiliates — whether that’s leaders in college clubs, at outdoor shops, at ski areas or simply passionate individuals — to help them host an event focused on teaching climate activism.

Founded by professional snowboarder Jeremy Jones, POW was created as a climate advocacy group for the winter sports community after he had seen significant changes in the climate.

"I thought, if we could incorporate an event with what we believe in already and work with a well-known nonprofit such as Protect Our Winter, we could spread the word in the community thoroughly," Doughty explained.

Doughty said the idea for the local advocacy group, Hydro-Logic, quickly emerged while planning for the POW event. The group is focused on working with athletes, outdoor enthusiasts and photographers to document what is important to them, specifically the environment and public lands.

Hydro-Logic is an advocacy group with the mission to spread awareness and raise money for nonprofits like Protect Our Winters and other local organizations they hope to partner with in 2018.

"With this event, I hope people will recognize the importance of the little things they can do in their everyday lives to help save our winters and our planet and see the advocacy behind it," Doughty said. "It's all interconnected, and once the initiative is taken by the person's wanting to make a change, it will make a difference in the world."

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@steamboattoday.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1.

If you go:

What: Praying for P.O.W. (Protect Our Winters) fundraiser

When: 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 23

Where: Old Town Pub, 600 Lincoln Ave.