Winter Wildlands Alliance is a national nonprofit organization working to inspire and empower people to protect America’s wild snowscapes. We are an alliance of over 100 grassroots environmental organizations and backcountry partners. Our SnowSchool program engages over 33,000 kids in science-based field trips and education across 60 sites nationwide. Our Backcountry Film Festival, premiering every winter in Boise, Idaho, tours more than 100 locations worldwide and raises more than $200,000 each tour season for local mountain communities.
A powerful and diverse Alliance of winter recreationists protecting and stewarding America’s wild snowscapes to ensure thriving ecosystems, natural soundscapes, climate resilience, and the long-range sustainability of public-access human-powered recreation.
Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
WWA advocates for environmental laws and public lands policies that explicitly incorporate Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion as critical components of environmental justice and of addressing the historic and ongoing impacts of systemic racism and inequality. We believe that all people, regardless of race, color, gender identity, cultural background or socioeconomic status, must have equitable access to the awe, solitude, wildness, clean air, natural soundscapes and other experiences and benefits of unmitigated winter in ways that do not compromise the opportunities for future generations to experience the same. Equity, diversity, inclusivity and social justice are priority considerations in our organizational structure, staffing and governance, and across all of our program areas. Working toward a future where everyone breathes clean air, drinks clean water, and feels welcome on public lands, we are committed to ongoing education; we work consistently to diversify stories and representation of snowsports and conservation in all of our communications channels; and we deliver experiential environmental education to more than 40,000 underserved students each winter. Our JEDI committee is composed of staff and board members who meet monthly and jointly lead our efforts.
Formed in 2000, Winter Wildlands Alliance grew out of the recognition that skiers, snowshoers, snowboarders, winter mountaineers and other backcountry adventurers needed a collective voice advocating on issues that impact the winter backcountry. Our work is equally focused on places as on the experiences these places provide; we pursue it in our local backcountry, at the offices and headquarters of our public land managers, and in the halls of Congress. The landscape of winter recreation has changed radically since we started—with more people than ever seeking the backcountry experience— and our work is more relevant now than ever.
We accomplish our work through a variety of means. We advocate on national issues and maintain a national presence by working regularly with Forest Service, National Park Service, and elected officials, commenting on land management plans and encouraging agencies to adopt policies that support quality human-powered recreation experiences. Winter Wildlands Alliance also supports a network of grassroots groups, helping local users to connect and to influence the issues affecting their favorite backcountry areas. With boots on the ground, we give back to the land through our stewardship programs, and get 33,000 kids outside each year to experience the joy of winter through SnowSchool.
Since 2004, the Winter Wildlands Alliance Backcountry Film Festival has celebrated the human-powered winter experience. The Festival now tours each winter to more than 100 locations across the world and raises funds and awareness for local groups working on advocacy, snow safety and outdoor education programs.
Successes and Leadership
- 2004 – WWA launches the Backcountry Film Festival, helps to found the Outdoor Alliance.
- 2013 – Yellowstone National Park publishes a long-term winter use plan, leading to a remarkable recovery for the unique winter ecosystem of our nation’s first national park.
- 2015 – The Forest Service finalizes the Over-Snow Vehicle (OSV) Rule, which requires relevant National Forests to designate routes and areas where over-snow vehicles are allowed and prohibits winter motorized travel in places that are not specifically designated and shown on a map as open.
- 2020 – The Great American Outdoors Act becomes law, marking the largest investment ever made in U.S. public lands and permanently (and fully) funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
- 2021 – We protect Idaho’s Centennial Mountains from an ill-conceived heli-skiing proposal that threatened wolverines, grizzly bears, and existing winter recreation uses.
- 2022 – WWA celebrates publication of the first winter travel plans written under the 2015 OSV Rule, on the Stanislaus and Lassen National Forests. More travel plans follow shortly thereafter.
- 2022 – Along with other members of the Gallatin Forest Partnership, we celebrate the inclusion of a 92,500-acre Gallatin Range Wilderness recommendation in the Custer Gallatin Forest Plan, the first time the Forest Service has recommended permanent protections for this landscape.
- 2023 – After a 7-year campaign to protect Moose Mountain, on the North Shore of Lake Superior, the Superior National Forest denies Lusten Mountains Ski and Summer Resort’s request
Throughout the years, WWA has created groundbreaking land management resources such as synthesizing the best available science related to winter recreation, our Winter Recreation on Western National Forest Lands Report and the Winter Trails and Backcountry Use Economic Impact Analysis for the Teton Region.
- Conservation: Together we have a collective responsibility—for the sake of climate resilience, biodiversity, and sustainable human-powered recreation, retreat and spiritual connection—to protect America’s remaining wild snowscapes from unfettered commercial development, privatization, extractive industry, unmanaged and unsustainable recreation, habitat fragmentation, light and noise pollution, and other significant human impacts.
- Stewardship: We who visit, travel through and/or recreate on public lands have a responsibility to minimize our impacts to wildlife, natural resources and other people, to welcome and mentor newcomers, to engage in public process, and to steward these places for future generations.
- Equity & Inclusivity: We believe that all people, regardless of race, color, gender identity, cultural background or socioeconomic status, must have equitable access to the awe, solitude, wildness, clean air, natural soundscapes and other experiences and benefits of unmitigated winter—in ways that do not compromise the opportunities for future generations to experience the same. Equity, diversity, inclusivity and social justice are priority considerations in our organizational structure, staffing and governance, and across all of our program areas.
- Balance: Just as we do our best work and are our best selves when we take care of our physical, emotional and mental well-being, so too must we seek balance in our uses of and impacts to public lands, ecosystems and the future of our planet.
- Kindness: We approach our work, our play, our relationship to others and to the natural environment in a spirit of respect, humility, generosity and gratitude.
Winter Wildlands Alliance is a national nonprofit organization working to
inspire and empower people to protect America’s wild snowscapes.